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Nerves, talent and tears on Born to Shine

As it got to 7pm, an hour before Born to Shine was due to air on ITV1 last night, I was actually feeling pretty nervy.

During the week, I’d seen Tracy-Ann Oberman on This Morning, talking about nervous she was about performing, (and getting tips from Ruth Langsford who had been on the week before playing the drums). It made me think just how terrified I would be if that was me.

I was also pretty nervous for my own reasons, as I was about to take on the livetweet, and was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with reading all the comments – it gets quite frantic while the show’s on, with tweeters having plenty to say about everything from Save the Children’s work, to the mentors’ performances, to Denise’s shoes and Natasha’s dress.

Denise van Outen, Jason Gardiner and Chipmunk on the Born to Shine judges' sofa
Denise van Outen, Jason Gardiner and Chipmunk (plus spectacles!) on the Born to Shine judges' sofa

But once the show started I just got swept up in the fun – one of my favourite moments of the show came early on, when 13-year-old Irish-dancer Eamon attacked Jason Byrne with the gaffer tape, sticking the comedian’s arms down to make sure he kept them by his sides as he danced. And it was interesting to read on twitter the polarised views of guest judge Chipmunk’s bespectacled new look!

Of course the most important bit of the show for me is always the film about our work, and although I’d already seen it, it was still pretty emotional watching Dervla’s reaction to meeting Korpo, whose son Elan had died of diarrhoea.

When you see stories like that on screen, it’s easy to feel that it isn’t real somehow, that there aren’t real children dying of things we would never dream could be fatal at home in the UK.

But I know it was all too real for my colleagues in Liberia, and the colleagues that went out to visit. And it was obviously very real and raw for Dervla – she was able to get across to people how different it feels when you’re right there with the parents and children going through needless hearbreak.

And she got across how important it is to do something to help.

Of course it’s fun to watch the celebrities and be wowed by the really talented mentors. But I hope Born to Shine goes on inspiring people to give, because these amazing young people are living proof that every child is born with all this potential, they just need the chance to fulfil it.

Missed the show? Watch it again on ITV Player

Donate and join our livetweet of the show next Sunday, 8pm (use the hashtag #borntoshine): http://twitter.com/#!/savechildrenuk

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