THE incredible Ruff Diamond boys have a huge future ahead of them - despite only just missing out on the Got To Dance crown last night.
That is the view of the judges on the Sky1 show, the proud families of the six Hartlepool lads and their hundreds of fans who packed into V Bar, on Hartlepool Marina, for the grand final.
The atmosphere was incredible. Every appearance of the lads on the big screens set up around the bar was met with adoring screams.
And just when you thought the volume couldn’t go any higher, it went up another notch when Hartlepool’s hip-hop kings made it through into the last three.
In the end it wasn’t meant to be and Zac Healey, Aaron Staunch, Ryan Llewellyn, Jason Lund, Lewis Cope and Ryan Wilson only just missed out as Lukas Macfarlane was announced as champion.
But the exposure, their incredible performances - especially when it mattered on final night - and the thousands of new fans for the boys stands them in good stead for an outstanding future.
Proud Peter Cope, the dad of dancer Lewis Cope, summed it up perfectly just moments after the winner was announced.
The 47-year-old said: “The bottom line is, we have six kids from Hartlepool who are living their dreams.
“It’s been a fantastic journey and it’s only the start for them.
“They have put Hartlepool on the map.”
Twitter went Ruff Diamond crazy as the lads absolutely nailed their first performance, and then managed to lift themselves to perform amazingly yet again when they made it to the last three.
TV’s Jeff Stelling, DJ Chris Moyles and pop stars Boy George and Little Mix all took to the social networking site to give their support.
And judge Aston Merrygold, a member of JLS, told the boys after their first performance: “That was the best in the series.”
Ruff Diamond’s hundreds of supporters in V Bar, who had sang and screamed their way through the night, were certain the lads were going to be winners.
Fan Georgia Corbett, 17, from Clavering, voted more than 80 times in the moments leading up to the winner being announced.
And Georgia, like everyone else who have followed the lads, were gutted when Davina McCall didn’t reveal Ruff Diamond to be the winners.
Demi White, 18, a student at Val Armstrong’s Performing Arts, who lives in the Brinkburn area of Hartlepool and a friend of the lads, said: “I’m gutted, I was sure they would win it. But they are going to go far, they are amazing and have everything lined up for them, they know they have a huge future.”