There aren’t many winners of the X Factor who manage to achieve the desired springboard effect once the final credits roll on the ITV1 talent show.
But Little Mix are certainly one of this rare breed. Ever since the all-girl foursome, (who remain the only band to win the contest in its 10 year history), left the X Factor bubble in 2011, they have consistently worked off their knee-high socks in the hope of making Little Mix big.
And on Saturday night, Tyneside were left in no doubt that all their hard work is more than paying off.
The Metro Radio Arena was the second stop on the band’s debut arena tour - which boasts an industrially tribal (with beach buggy benefits) theme - and with half of the band hailing from South Shields, the Newcastle leg was always going to be a special one.
Both Jade Thirwall and Perrie Edwards - aka Little Mix’s sand-dancing contingent - seemed genuinely emotional at the response of their home crowd.
“It feels so amazing to be on this stage and to be home,” said Perrie amid the screams, while Jade added: “I really can’t believe we’re here, singing to you from this stage. Thank you to every person who has changed our lives.”
After emerging from behind a movie poster-style curtain, based on their latest gold-selling album, Salute, the girls - Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock complete the line up - kicked things off nicely with the long player’s title track.
A stream of hits followed - all given the same polished treatment and sporting the band’s signature sass-with-attitude stance.
True, there was probably more than a smidgen of backing track vocal support during the more energetic numbers.
But when you’re having to maintain that kind of high-octane choreography for track after track, a little bit of help while you get your breath back is surely allowed.
Slower songs like Little Me, Towers and a stripped back rendition of Boy allowed each of the stompy quartet to show off their distinctive vocal ability, with Perrie undoubtedly making biggest impression.
Meanwhile a covers medley featuring Katy Perry’s Dark Horse, Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty and Beyonce’s Run the World offered an unexpected treat too before they said goodbye with their number one single encoure, Wings.
Costume wise, there were three main changes, all of which could have been filed under a heading called: ‘no nonsense sparkles featuring shades of The Matrix’.
I’m not sure I would have gone for any leather, given the cardiovascular workout which each show undoubtedly offers, but all the girls wore their perspiration with pride. And why shouldn’t they? They earned every drop of it.