'I left with a suitcase and a dream' - Cheryl in tears at Girls Aloud gig in Newcastle

Cheryl broke down in tears on stage in Newcastle on Friday night as she remembered leaving the city behind some 22 years ago 'with a suitcase and a dream', not knowing that just months later she'd end up in one of the biggest pop groups in British music history.

It was back in 2002 that a then teenage Cheryl headed off to audition for Popstars: The Rivals, the ITV spin-off from Popstars, the show that had shot Hear'Say to massive chart success a year earlier. Having made it through to the live shows, Cheryl then earned herself a place in the band, with the votes of people back on Tyneside playing a huge part in her making it.

Brushing away competition from rival boyband One True Voice with ease to land a debut number 1 with Sound of the Underground, Girls Aloud went onto score a record breaking run of consecutive UK top 10 hits and now, 11 years after their Ten greatest hits tour they're back, with opening night in Newcastle a particularly emotional one for Cheryl.

READ MORE: Girls Aloud give Newcastle gift wrapped pop perfection as Cheryl shines on home turf

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You could see from the moment she stepped on stage at the Utilita Arena on Friday just how much being back meant to her and, stopping the show midway through, to pay tribute to Newcastle and its people, as well as recalling her own journey to stardom, Cheryl shed a few tears with her bandmates also all visibly moved.

Trying to keep composure, Cheryl told her captive audience: "I've been really trying to focus the best I could. I was doing well wasn't I? I don't think you could ever really know what it's like to be stood here, 22 years later, in a room full of Geordies. The place where I dreamed a dream.

She continued: "You know, when I left from Central 22 years ago, I could never have imagined being with you all tonight. So thank you from the bottom of my heart, for everything you've done. I left with a suitcase and a dream and I've come back with my best friends 22 years later."