Hallelujah moment for Sheffield singer with contest win

Pub Idol winner 2014 Jessica Armstrong, 22 from Darnall
Pub Idol winner 2014 Jessica Armstrong, 22 from Darnall

Sheffield support worker Jessica Armstrong is feeling Over the Rainbow – after winning a top singing competition

The 22-year-old proved she had a voice to be reckoned with after singing her way through three heats and a grand final to be crowned South Yorkshire Pub Idol.

Jessica, a mum-of-one, said: “I couldn’t believe it. I thought another girl was going to get it – I was absolutely convinced.

“I’ve always been into singing. I won a competition when I was 14.

“I didn’t know I could sing and neither did anyone else.

“Before I got on stage my mum said: ‘If you are going to embarrass me don’t go’.”

Launched by Enterprise Inns in February, the Pub Idol contest featured more than 1,200 people competing in heats in 20 pubs across the region before converging on The Viper Rooms, Carver Street, in Sheffield city centre, for the final.

Beating off all challengers, Jessica passed through three heats to represent the Noah’s Ark pub, Intake, at the final in front of more than 200 people.

And she was singing Hallelujah after securing victory – despite having being denied the chance to sing the Alexandra Burke number in the final when someone else chose it.

However, performances of Eva Cassidy’s Over the Rainbow and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind were good enough to earn Jessica the £1,000 prize money and the chance to visit a recording studio for a day to create her own CD.

Duncan Marsden, Enterprise divisional director, said: “Pubs have always been the cornerstone of community life in Yorkshire, but with so many communities across the UK facing pub closures, we launched Pub Idol to remind local people just how much fun your local can be.

“We are delighted to say the contest has done that and our pubs have been buzzing with excitement.

“We congratulate Jessica who is truly a star in the making, and all of the runners up who did fantastically well under pressure to perform brilliantly.

“The level of talent in the area is incredible and we will be keeping a close eye on these budding singers.”