A teenager from Farndon, one of five members of a new boy band, returned to his old school on Wednesday for a one-off show.
James McGuiness, 19, joined his bandmates to perform their new single, All Time Low, in front of about 200 pupils, teachers and ex-pupils at All Saints’ School, Mansfield.
The audience, who crowded into the gym, included several of James’s former classmates from the Newark area.
James said he hadn’t seen everyone for so long and so to come back and perform was just amazing,
“It’s great that we have been able to get here and it was great to see my friends in the audience supporting me,” he said.
One of his friends, Miss Catherine Kearney, 20, of Central Drive, Elston, said it was wonderful to see everyone again and that seeing James performing just didn’t seem real.
“He looked excited that we were all there to support him and you could just see that he was really touched that we were all there,” she said.
After performing, James and the band were taken to a quieter part of the school where he was able to catch up with his friends.
Miss Megan Smith, 20, of Holden Crescent, Newark, said: “Although he is known as Jay in the band, he was still James to us.”
James left school when he was 16 to train for three years at the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama, Nottingham, which involved musical theatre, tap, ballet, jazz, drama and singing.
After his course, he started attending dance auditions but said by this time his interest had turned to singing.
His breakthrough came when he was asked to travel to London for an audition in summer 2009, after responding to an advert on the internet.
After numerous auditions he was chosen from hundreds of hopefuls for one of five places in The Wanted, who are signed to Geffen records, which also has Shirley Bassey and Lee Ryan on its books.
Since then, the band has performed in Sweden and Denmark, and supported girl group, The Saturdays, at Wembley.
The Wanted have also visited schools and clubs across the UK to help build a fan base.
James’s cousins were among pupils to support him on his visit to All Saints.
Faye Riley, 14, of Dunholme Avenue, Newark, and Evelyn Munton, 16, of Portland Street, Newark, said the family had always thought that James was going to be a dancer, but now he was on television with girls screaming at him everywhere he went.
Faye said: “I don’t think it’s actually hit him yet as he’s too calm about it all.”
Both girls said they were proud of James and they would be encouraging everyone to buy the single.
Assistant head Mrs Chris Young said: “When he first came to the school James was really talented and it’s lovely to see them all be so successful.
“James deserves it all. He was an excellent pupil and I am so proud and I wish them all the success in the world.”
The single All Time Low, written by Steve Mac and Wayne Hector, is available from Monday.
The group has also been given the chance to write some of their own songs, with an album due for release in November.
James said he couldn’t wait to do their own tour.
“I am really looking forward to what the future has in store,” he said.
The rest of the line-up is Tom Parker, 21, of Bolton; Siva Kaneswaran, 21, of Dublin; Max George, 21, of Manchester and Nathan Sykes, 17, of Gloucester.