Updated: Tuesday, 26th March 2019 @ 10:03pm

Review: Will Young @ Manchester Apollo

Review: Will Young @ Manchester Apollo

| By Ellie Caddick

I experienced heartbreak for the first time aged nine.

Sitting in the Manchester Apollo I couldn't believe it was 13 years since I sat sobbing in my grandmother’s living room as Will Young was announced as the winner of Pop Idol.

Whereas my beloved Gareth Gates has had to diversify into musical theatre and joined 5th Story – a ridiculous collection of washed up singers including Dane Bowers – Will Young is still going strong proving to be one of Simon Cowell’s most successful discoveries.

But before being treated to Young’s distinctive voice the Apollo was entertained by Lemar.

And I mean really entertained.

A suave gent perched on a stool with an acoustic guitar in hand introduced the man who prospered out of Fame Academy despite coming third.

Lemar was the image of cool in a crisp white shirt, black trousers and matching waistcoat, looking and sounding like a Jools Holland discovery.

Putting his own soul twist on classics whilst dipping in and out of his own oldies he worked the mic stand like a dream and was Craig David-esque in his delivery – his performance of 50/50 was unbelievably slick.

His stand-out song was Van Morrison’s Crazy Love showing off a vocal range that would shame any current X-factor wannabe.

I could’ve sat through another two hours of him, and if I was looking for a chilled out evening then I should have.

But out came a man with his hair slicked back into a top-knot, wearing a sleeveless, floor-length jumpsuit. He looked fantastic.

But he didn’t look like Will Young.

The 36-year-old kicked off with Brave Man, a track from his new album 85% Proof. He stood sideways to the audience whilst men dressed like forensic scientists threw fake leaves and newspaper in front of a wind machine.

It was so bizarre it had me giggling in nervous laughter. At this point I realised I was in for a baffling evening.

The transition to another new track U Think I’m Sexy was seamless. It was sass personified and it was wonderful. I’ve never seen someone look more comfortable in their own skin.

Young leapt around the stage as if he was auditioning for a role as a contemporary dancer with hip gyrations that could win Strictly. Who knew Will Young was such a showman?

Backing him up were five musicians, undoubtedly a collection of the coolest looking dudes I’ve ever seen, and three back-up singers, one of whom in particular was incredible.

Michelle was to Young what Pippa Middleton was to Kate and Wills at their wedding: a showstopper in her own right.  She had an incredible voice, looked fantastic and nearly outshone the main man.

But when we returned to the cosy comfort of hits from the past, it was brilliant.

Young was an absolute hoot telling rambling but hilarious anecdotes and engaging endearingly with his fans.

There was a shameless promotion of merchandise with a generation game conveyor belt and when the forensic scientists came on stage Young remarked that ‘they don't want to catch the gay,’ sending the crowd into fits of laughter.

Just when I'd started to relax along came Like A River and the ritualistic dancing returned as a shower of golden confetti rained down upon the star.

The encore was beyond any encore I've seen before. A costume change into a tour t-shirt and high-waisted trousers and three banners the size of king-sized bed sheets dropped down to reveal three larger than life Wills.

As Joy rang around the Apollo confetti poured down into the stalls and the atmosphere was electric.

Humbly, Young gave his fans what they wanted and ended on Evergreen, the song that started it all.

I have lived a sheltered life where Will Young is concerned. He is an incredible singer, dancer and performer. This wasn't a gig, it was an exhibition.

It was vain. It was bizarre. But it was fabulous.