Rebecca Ferguson, Portsmouth Guildhall

Rebecca Ferguson
Rebecca Ferguson

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I’ve been treated to a night of gymnastics – of the vocal variety.

Every sinew of vocal cord has been stretched to produce some incredible – and often breath-taking notes – on stage.

Rebecca Ferguson, the X Factor runner-up two years ago, emerged in a shimmering white dress, ever the glamour puss.

But her music is far from some of the saccharine covers we heard on the talent contest.

It’s soulful, thoughtful, often uplifting, sometimes melancholy, but always engaging.

And it’s written by her – hurrah!

It’s hard to believe this was the Liverpudlian mum-of-two who was fraught with nerves two years ago and could barely look up from her feet when she sang.

This was clearly a performer growing in confidence and living her dream.

Some of the music was really heart-warming, such as Shoulder to Shoulder and Nothing’s Real But Love, while other songs have a euphoric dancy edge, such as Run Free.

Ferguson, who comes across as possibly the most down-to-earth ‘diva’ in showbusiness, even bopped along with a man – no younger than 50 – who ran towards the stage, arms flailing as she belted out a tune. Within seconds dozens had joined him.

The sentiment of one enthusiastic audience member summed it up – ‘Pompey loves you’.

Ferguson was supported by the soulful and powerful Jay James Picton.

Tuesday was his last official day in the Royal Navy, his chosen career path until he ‘accidentally’ discovered this amazing voice. I think he’s made the right career choice. Certainly one to watch.