Talent search reveals young stars

2010-07-02 00:00

CHILDREN of all ages had the audience calling for more by the end of the toughly contested Gateway To Fame talent-search competition at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway in Umhlanga on Monday.

Twenty-one singing finalists performed one song each to backing tracks, during which their efforts were judged by local performers, Evan Roberts, Marion Loudon, Pume Zondi, Londiwe Dhlomo and Vicky Goddard.

The junior (Grades 1 to 6) winner was nine-year-old Andrew Sutton from Virginia Preparatory, who got a standing ovation after performing Justin Bieber’s hit, Baby. The young singer owned the stage, even jumping on one of the tables to do the rap section of the popular song.

The junior runner-up was 11- year-old Senzo Ngubane from Umhlali Preparatory, who performed Miley Cyrus’s The Climb.

In the senior (Grades 7 to 12) category, it was 16-year-old Amanda Kunene from Danville Park Girls’ High who wowed the judges and audience with her rendition of American soul singer, Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit Natural Woman. It’s a tough song to sing, but the teenager really nailed it. The runner-up was 15-year-old Thobeka Mkwanazi from Ridge Park College, who performed a belting version of Welsh singer Duffy’s Mercy.

Competition in the senior section was tough with singers tackling numbers ranging from Johnny Clegg’s My African Dream to Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings and the swing classic, Sway.

In addition to a host of prizes ranging from a keyboard to cellphones and watches, both winners will be performing two songs each in Gateway’s Palm Court on July 18 at 2 pm and they will make a cameo performance in The Big Five show at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway between August 31 and October 10, with a live band.

Pre-show entertainment was provided by children selected in the Anything Goes category. The young actors stood as still as statues, only performing their skits once donations had been made to the Bobbi Bear charity.

The Gateway to Fame dancing finalists also got to showcase their talents on stage in the numbers Good Night (danced to the Black Eyed Peas hit I’ve Got A Feeling) and Evacuate the Dance F loor, danced to Cascada’s hit of the same name, and four budding comperes held the show together. The finale, featuring the singers and dancers, was performed to Shakira’s World Cup anthem, Waka Waka.

The inaugural Gateway To Fame competition has proved to be a huge success, with entrants from schools throughout KwaZulu-Natal. While the competition was primarily to find singing talent, the search also covered dance and other performance art, and the 58 finalists were provided with a week of invaluable workshops with local performers.

Gateway To Fame was organised by local singer, actress and teacher, Shelley McLean, who was assisted by Shelley Haggard and Sean de Klerk, who oversaw the dancers and Anything Goes participants, respectively.

Proceeds from the event went to the Bobbi Bear charity.

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