Could you be the next Leona Lewis? In an X Factor style event held at Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre in Church Village last week, wannabe artists showed off their singing abilities and amazed the crowds.
This event was the final of the Xtra Factor competition, which saw a high number of entrants competing to see if they could be the next star from the Valleys.
The evening was presented by last year’s national X Factor star, James Williams, from Pontypridd. James was able to represent Wales in the National X-Factor competition; reaching the final 6 competitors where he spent time rehearsing in San Tropez with Danni Minogue. Since then he has furthered his singing career, featuring in several musical theatre productions. James wowed the crowds throughout the evening with his renditions of ‘Lost’ by Michael Buble, ‘Shine’ by Take That and ‘Somewhere’ from the production, West Side Story.
Six lucky competitors made it through to the finals, four in the Junior category and two in the adult section.
In the Junior Category, Kasia-Jayne Wicks and Jade Williams both aged 13, performed their version of ‘Hallelujah’ written by Leonard Cohen. Paige Zabala aged 13 performed the Maria Carey classic ‘Hero’. Zoe Williams who was the youngest finalist at aged 12 performed her version of ‘Listen’ by Beyonce.
The adult category saw Emily Jones who is currently studying for her PGCE perform her own song ‘Together’ and Kieran Carter also studying for his PGCE perform ‘Stars’ from the successful hit musical - Les Miserables.
The evening of singing was judged by Bethan Morgan and Neil Lockwood. Bethan who is a member of the mixed choir 'Serendipity', winners of Cor Cymru 2005 whose male section just happen to be the boys from 'Only Men Aloud. As a performer with 'Serendipity'; she has had fantastic performance experience working regularly with Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins, Shan Cothi, Catrin Finch as well as Jose Carreras. Neil is the former lead singer of ELO Part 2 and The Alan Parsons Project, and is currently the lead singer/keyboard player with The Move.
The winner of the junior category and the overall competition, announced by James Williams was Paige Zabala. Paige scooped the top prize of £75 and the winner of the Senior Category was Emily Jones winning £50.
Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Eudine Hanagan, said: “It is excellent to see that we have so many talented people in the County Borough. Congratulations to all those who made it through to the final and well done to Paige and Emily.”