THE usually quiet village of Pomeroy was transfomed into party central on Tuesday morning when BBC The Voice finalist Andrea Begley returned home to be greeted by hundreds of screaming fans.
Andrea arrived into the Parish Hall to be greeted by hundreds of wellwishers and supporters who had turned out to show their support and catch a glimpse of the singing sensation before she takes part in the show’s final on Saturday night.
Andrea is one of just four contestants who have made it all the way to the final, beating some 30,000 other entrants along the way.
Representing Team Danny, Andrea will battle it out against fellow Northern Ireland contestant Leah McFall from Belfast, who is on Will.i.am’s team, Matt Henry, who is representing Team Jessie J, and Mike Ward, who is on Team Tom Jones.
Andrea even treated the cheering crowds in her local parish hall to a rendition of The Lumineers song ‘Hey Ho!’ which she performed on The Voice a few weeks ago.
Speaking to the Mail, Andrea joked that she was actually scared by the crowds that had turned out to welcome her home.
She said: “It’s just unbelievable. I mean it’s the middle of the day and it’s not always the easiest time for people to come out to something like this, so to have this phenomenal crowd and everyone is just so happy and supportive, it’s brilliant.”
Talking about her relationship with her coach on the show, The Script frontman Danny O’Donaghue, Andrea told the Mail that she looks at him like an older brother.
She said: “I feel like he is my big brother. He’s really nice, he’s so easy to get along with, so easy to chat to. I can have a good joke with him, he knows he can take the hand out of me and my sight and all that and I’m so comfortable with him.
“The two of us get on so well, we can have a good joke and a bit of a laugh and still get the work done as well, so that is the main thing.”
Andrea’s famous auntie – country music legend Philomena – was also present in Pomeroy on Tuesday to support her niece. Andrea told us that she has always looked to her aunt for inspiration.
“I think that’s what has influenced me so much in terms of music, it has just been in the blood from the get go, and there has always been music at family parties and weddings, so certainly Philly was always someone I looked up to.
“She’s had a fantastic career and her voice has remained so strong over the years, it is just absolutely amazing, full credit to her. If I can be in the business anywhere near as long as she has and be as sucessful as she has been then I’d be very happy.”
Philomena who treated the crowds to a few songs at the homecoming herself, told the Mail that she had been overwhelmed by the support in the village and right across the country for her niece.
She said: “I’m so proud of her I can’t even express it. I came up the street today in Pomeroy, and to tell you the truth, I cried when I saw all the bunting and the banners, and then to come over here to the hall to see such a crowd, it was absolutely fabulous.
“They organised all of this in such a short space of time – it was only organised yesterday. It’s great to see everyone get behind her. We’re all really proud and we hope she does well on Saturday night.
“People talk about following their dream, but she definitely has followed her dream and she has worked very hard at it. She never gave up, and it goes to prove the point that if you keep trying, you will get there.”
Andrea’s proud parents Kieran and Ann Begley also spoke of their pride at their daughter doing so well, and representing her local community so well.
Kieran said: It’s absolutely fabulous. There has been a brilliant response from the community, and they have been fantastic in supporting her all the way. The bunting and posters around the area is brilliant, they really have pulled out all the stops. We really are so proud of her.”
Ann added: “I know amazing is an overused word today, but it really is amazing. Andrea has surpassed any dreams that she ever thought she had ,and we always felt that Andrea had a voice if it could have just been got out there and heard.
“We always thought there was something special about her voice and we would be her best critics.”
Andrea was keeping under wraps what songs she would be perfoming at the final on Saturday night, but she did tell the Mail that she had three songs to learn which would be keeping her busy in the coming days.
She said: “We have almost decided on the songs, we’re almost there. We have a couple to do at the weekend there are a couple of solos and a duet as well so it’s a work in progress at the minute.
“I have a lot of lyrics to learn, so I have a bit of homework to do over the next couple of days but I’m very excited, really looking forward to it. Unfortunately at the minute it’s top secret yes, maybe Bohemian Rhapsody or something along those lines,” she joked.
You can watch and vote for Andrea when she takes to the stage live this coming Saturday, 22nd June on BBC1 from 7.15pm.