Singer Craig takes it up a notch to win prize

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Silver-tonsilled teenager Craig Saggers proved he was a notch above the rest as he trilled his way to the top in an X-Factor-style contest.

Silver-tonsilled teenager Craig Saggers proved he was a notch above the rest as he trilled his way to the top in an X-Factor-style contest.A nervous Craig Saggers steeled himself for the finale of the Top Notch Factor, belting out two soul classics in front of a cheering audience at Peterborough's Broadway Theatre.

The competition saw 12 solo singers take part in the sing-off in a bid to land 1,000 cash and a day at Jigsaw Recording Studios in Deeping St James, near Market Deeping.

And after the judging panel were blown away by his emotionally-charged renditions of Stevie Wonder and George Benson hits, he walked away with the title.

An overwhelmed Craig (18), who has sung at various public events, said the experience had made him more determined to pursue his dream of becoming the next big thing.

Craig, of Thorpe Road, Peterborough, said: "Singing is something I just enjoy doing.

"I would love to have a career in it, but I have to be realistic."

The pupil at Jack Hunt School, in Netherton, Peterborough, added: "I have just finished my A-levels in theatre studies, media and English. However, it is something I want to pursue.

"Everyone was really talented, so it was a big surprise when I won.

"I just stood there and couldn't spea,k but I had to sing afterwards."

Craig, who lives with mum Ruby (47), dad Martin (47) and older brother Dale (20), said music ran through his veins.

He said: "I was 13 when I realised I could really sing, just after my voice broke, but my mum and dad would probably say I started singing as a baby.

"I entered a competition at 16 and won, singing in front of thousands of people.

"Older songs are the ones I enjoy singing and listening to. My parents are not singers, so I don't know where it comes from.

"My dad likes to think he can sing, though, but only in the shower!

"The performers were a mixed bag with different ages and levels of experience."

With supporters such as city entertainments guru Steve Allen, who was one of the judges, and celebrity vocal coach Carrie Grant – who said Craig's voice was one of the most impressive she had heard – his shot at the big time doesn't seem far away.

The competition was dreamed up by pub landlady Therese Gallacher, who runs the Cross Keys pub, in Oundle Road, Peterborough.

She praised the standard of the pop hopefuls and said Craig's assured performance had wowed her.