As wannabes emerged through a smoky, sliding door dressed as idols, a series of star talents offered the ultimate show-stopper In Their Eyes.
Little did Beverley Knight know that she was appearing in a reboot of the ITV program that eventually took her career off the air and into the mainstream.
After 25 years in the business and turning 50 last month, Beverley revealed her recent role as a judge at Starstruck, a booking agent on her doorstep.
The soul singer and actress said: “Starstruck opened the door, a lot of casting directors are now asking for interviews with me so it’s really exciting time.
“It feels really comfortable and it feels like the right time. Even though I’m 50 and in business for 25 years I feel like I’m just getting started. I want people to smile and be happy.
“And I want to conquer the world.”
Beverlake sits on a star-studded panel alongside music legend Shania Twain, theater star Adam Lambert and comedian Jason Manford.
Watch a string of tribute acts compete to be crowned the best in their field.
This weekend’s flagship final will see Sam Cooke, Adele, Frank Sinatra, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Meat Loaf compete for the prize.
And Beverlake also plays the scene itself in a huge encomma. He said: “I don’t know if I would have been able to handle or benefit from the job if it had come earlier in my life.
“They gave me the tools”
“I think that a few years ago I doubted that now I know that I am good enough to take on something. I am ready to make the most of the time.
It is surprising to hear that an artist as skilled as Beverlac ever doubted his talent.
Born Beverley Anne Smith in Wolverhampton, she began writing her own songs at 13 and sang in church before signing many records at 21.
His second album, The Prodigal Sista, was released in August 1998, peaking at number 42, but producing five top-40 hits, including Big Day and It Got Back.
In addition, he has produced albums of songs that he is best known for including Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Come as You Are and he bagged the string selections MOBO.
In 2006, she toured Beverley as support on the Take That reunion tour. And this year she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her contribution to British music.
She also hosted Prince during his 2007 residency at the O2 Arena in London. But despite a blazing CV, Beverley never felt like hitting the big time.
The Sun said: “I dig deep sometimes and things have not always been easy. I had it for my career. I look at people like me but younger, like Lizzo, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim and they kill it.
“If my success cuts a little way for them in the woods, they will now open that motor road for me.
“It’s amazing how things come full circle. The doors have been joined over the years and slowly but surely they are open to help others now from the younger generations, which in turn also benefits me.
“It’s nice that the fruits of all our years of hard work are opening doors for us now.”
When Beverley’s magic was scattered in Starstruck, her career in the theater was also finally recognized.
In 2013, Rachel Marron took on the role in the musical adaptation of Satellite – the part played by Whitney Houston in the blockbuster film – and set it to breaking records for a decade.
The time that Grizabella followed in Cats, then lead Memphis.
Then this year Emmeline Pankhurst sang in the Old Vic’s hip-hop inspired musical, Sylvia, which was based on the Suffragette movement.
This week she was awarded Best Supporting Actress at the Olivier Awards.
Ecstatic as she collected the disc, Beverley said: “This award is for the good, caring people who have put in the work and money to bring 11-year-old Beverley on stage at Wolverhampton Grand Theater to live out her absolute dream.
“If it wasn’t for Wolverhampton Youth Theater I would be standing here. They gave me the tools.”
He hailed the great swings in the theater for diversity, adding: “You cannot stop the way the theater is going, and I am here to say that this is the case. I love that I look forward and see the diversity of age, in general.
Is that the change that Beverlake has seen reflected in the showbiz industry?
The Sun said: “It’s great to see so much diversity on TV and the beautiful opportunities we have now.
“But this is only the tip of the iceberg, we have a long way to go.
“Yes, women, people of color, the LGBT community and the older generation are represented much more but it’s still not enough.”
It is elegantly serendipitous that Beverley’s award came from playing a woman in prison who campaigned for change.
He added: “I have always tried to be a voice. Not just a singing voice, but a voice for what I believe in and am passionate about. You don’t have to have a political opinion or call it politics, it’s just life.
Beverlaco is no stranger to the ups and downs that come with life.
Since the meeting on the set of the TV staff in 2010, it was with the husband of the production technician James O’Keefe.
After this experience, couples could not have a muscular tumor in the womb.
She was persuaded to undergo a hysterectomy and described the moment as “thunderous”, up to 44.
But Beverley endured a series of health struggles and worked on her career until she found herself on the set of the ITV reboot.
In contrast to the Matthew Kelly-fronted Star in the Eyes in the Nineties, each episode of the show takes three professional actors who are all specialized in the same act fighting to name the best Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift or Tom Jones.
The final six series will see them compete to be the best champion.
Beverlake said: “We have a record of every show to rival extraordinary folk icons on a grand scale.
“And at the same time you will look at us all. It’s so nice when you have a group of dogs because the sharing of joy and the mix of different voices and songs coming together is great.
“Every singer in that situation stands in his own right.”
It’s something that has struck a chord with viewers, with around five million regulars.
He added: “Starstruck is perfect Saturday night entertainment. It’s good telly for the whole family.
“It promotes great artists, talent and diversity. It’s a different board, different contestants.
“I think the public will see, ‘I’d love to be him.’ I think that’s just what was reported.
“Members of the public compose their extreme fantasy by living and then sing and assume the persona of their idol’s accepted song.
“This is ordinary people who are doing something completely outside their limits that they normally do. It is a celebration. “
Speaking of celebration, Beverley recently enjoyed its festivities, having passed fifty-two weeks ago.
He said: “Let’s celebrate my reaching half a century!”
To mark the milestone, he made big plans for his music. “I’m 50, and I want it to be a celebration more than I’m afraid to drop a new album of new material.
“The album will be a celebration. It’s joyful and positive.
“Even the slower songs will be positive or inspirational.”
And she laughed: “It will be nice to remind people of my day job, I’ve been an artist for almost 30 years after all!”
- Watch the Starstruck grand final tonight at 8.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
1973 Born Beverley Anne Smith in Wolverhampton.
1994 First record lot at 21
1995 The B-Funk’s first album, peaks at No 145 in the UK album charts.
1997 Signs new deal with Touch Parlophone.
1998 2nd album Prodigal Sista peaks at No. 42. Five top-40 hits (inc. The Biggest Day and It’s Back). The decisions of the MOBO tribe.
2002 First Top 10 single, Shoulda Woulda Coulda. 3rd album Who I am at No 7
2004 4th album chart gets to No 11. Biggest hit Come Like You is No 9.
2006 BBC1 music show Just Two Of Us, supporting What We Take On The Road. Some of the most important of the players, the story of the life of the dui.
2006 MBE for services to music.
2007 Prince supports his residency at the O2 Arena in London. Released 5th album, Music City Soul.
2009 Leaves Parlophone, sets up its own label, Hurricane Records. 6th album 100%, peaked at No-17.
2011 Covers album of soul classics at No. 13.
2012 leads James O’Keefe.
2013 Musical debut in The Bodyguard.
2014 to lead the Memphite role.
2015 Grizabella returns to the Cats Palladium in London. Soulsville’s 8th album at No 10
2017 She has a hysterectomy.
Nov 2017 Joins Amber Leo and Cassidy Janson with ‘Leading Ladies’ to release songs from the theater album.
2019 Faye Treadwell in The Drifters Girl. Live album, BK25.
2022 Judge of Starstruck.
Jan 2023 Emmeline Pankhurst in Sylvia hip-hop music.
Mar 2023 Actress Olivier awarded the best support.