1. ITV Report

Meat Loaf bounds onto the stage in support of Romney

Mitt Romney is joined by Randy Owen (L) and Meat Loaf (C) as they sing 'God Bless America' at a campaign rally in Defiance, Ohio. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

It was the end of a long day. The Republican challenger Mitt Romney had already shaken hands and made speeches near Cincinnati and Columbus, when he headed to the town of Defiance in northern Ohio.

Ahead of him was an expectant crowd of around 12,000, gathered in the stands and on the painted turf of a high school football pitch.

The stage was set for a vintage performance, the scoreboard set to the date on 6 November, and an amateur drone flying overhead filming the crowd for the big screen. Music blasted out from the giant speakers and the guests roared, waving banners and placards handed to them as they entered the arena.

Meat Loaf performs in Ohio ahead of Mitt Romney's speech. Credit: Reuters

The crowd was now at fever pitch, when onto the stage bounced a 65-year-old rocker: Meat Loaf was in the house, and he was Mitt Romney's warm up act. Supported by an amply endowed backing artist who must have distracted more than a few of the stomping crowd, Mr Loaf belted out hits but really got into his stride when he turned to politics.

He said he felt compelled to endorse a candidate for the first time in his life and had chosen Romney because of the problems he claimed the world was facing. "I have never been in any political agenda in my life, but I think that in 2012 this is the most important election in the history of the United States," he said. "Because there are storm clouds over the United States. There is thunder storms over Europe. There are hail storms - and I mean major hail storms! - in the Middle East. There are storms brewing through China, through Asia, through everywhere."

Mitt Romney speaks in the town of Defiance, Ohio. Credit: Reuters

He encouraged the crowd to work for the Republican candidate."I have been arguing for Mitt Romney for a year. I made three phone calls today to Democrats in California, and I got two of them to switch to Romney, so two out of three ain't bad," he said.The crowd was now ready for the main event, Mitt Romney's stump speech. But the problem with celebrities is that they tend to upstage you. Just ask Mitt about Clint Eastwood and his empty chair. And so it was in Defiance.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in Ohio. Credit: Reuters

Meat Loaf rejoined Romney on stage to sing a few bars from "America the Beautiful" at the end of the night as fireworks crackled overhead - but his message to the packed crowd in battleground Ohio, to "Keep rockin', and Mitt Romney" may have been more of a distraction from the main meal the organisers might have hoped for.