Toploader star needs your votes in contest

TOPLOADER’S frontman is calling on the people of Eastbourne to get behind him in Sunday’s Pop Star to Opera Star semi-finals.

Joseph Washbourn, from Eastbourne, was in the sing-off on the popular ITV1 reality show last weekend but impressed the judges with his version of Torna A Surriento and is now through to compete against remaining contestants Cheryl Baker, former X-Factor winner Joe McElderry and Steps singer Claire Richards. Joseph spoke to the Herald this week, ahead of the live semi-finals which start at 8pm on Sunday.

“If you had told me, when I first started the process, I would be in the semi-finals I would have laughed at you,” he said.

“It has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience though.

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for it and although I am classically trained at piano and enjoy classical music I wouldn’t have said I was a massive opera fan - I think I am now though.”

Joseph has been trained by some of the best singers in the industry including Katherine Jenkins.

He said, “They have been brilliant. I think they all wanted to bring opera to the masses and I think they have done that really well.”

Joseph has been commuting from London to Eastbourne each day for singing coaching and has had only a week to learn the words and perfect his performance for each live show. He is now looking forward to Sunday’s semi-final and is hoping the people from his home town will get behind him in the public vote.

He said, “I need your votes to stay in the competition, so get on the phone and vote for me on Sunday night.”

Once Pop Star to Opera Star is over, Joseph will return to his day job in Toploader. The Eastbourne band has just released a new album and single.

He added, “We would also like to do another hometown gig later this year because the bandstand gig was such a great success.

“We are currently looking for venues and would appreciate any ideas people may have.”

Joseph asked anyone with Eastbourne venue suggestions to contact the band through its website at