The Tories lined up celebrity backing yesterday in a bid to show that David Cameron has the X Factor.
Take That’s Gary Barlow joined the campaign tour to help launch proposals for a £1million-a-year X-Factor-style music competition for schools.
Backed by senior figures from the music industry, it is aimed at giving young people a chance to shine.
Mr Cameron hailed Take That’s music as a great medicine when feeling depressed as he joined the singer-songwriter on stage after an impromptu performance of hit Greatest Day backed by a band of pupils in Nantwich, Cheshire.
The Conservative leader found himself in a sea of screaming pupils when he arrived at Brine Leas High School with Take That singer Barlow – who will record a song with the winner of the proposed School Stars contest.
Barlow welcomed the initiative, which he said would help ensure the UK continued its great music tradition into the next generations.
He said: “The future of music is really in this room today, it is in every classroom and school all over Britain.
“When I say that, I don’t just say that because the next Elton John or the next Paul McCartney might be in this room – I mean it because the next audience for music is in this room.”
Mr Cameron said that he hoped the annual national competition would bring the “really magical” qualities of TV talent shows into schools and become “as much a part of school life as harvest festival or the nativity play or sports day”.
Taking to the stage where Barlow was still sitting at the piano, he joked that during the leaders’ debate he felt “a bit like I was in Britain’s worst boyband”.
“So it’s a pleasure to share the stage with the founding member of Britain’s best ever boyband,” hailing Greatest Day as “a fantastic song to lift you”.
Barlow confirmed that he would be supporting the Tories at the election.
“I would not be here if I was not,” the singer said.
But he stressed he did not want to go into detail as the event was about music, not politics.
Mr Barlow said that he missed the prime ministerial television debate on Thursday as he was at a Music Week dinner, but was “looking forward to watching it tonight”.
Mr Cameron later travelled on to a supermarket in Wolverhampton to meet voters.