Rotherham singers aim for the top

AN ASPIRING singer could have taken his first steps to a showcase performance at London’s O2 Arena by making it through the regional heats of a UK-wide singing contest.

At just 15, Alex Williams has already cut his teeth in amateur dramatic performances at Rotherham’s Civic Theatre, but he wowed a panel of celebrity judges at the regional heats of Open Mic UK, at Sheffield City Hall.

The Dinnington Comprehensive student sang the song Solo, usually performed by R&B act Lyaz, in front of the panel including former Another Level star, Dane Bowers, and blew away the competition.

More than 100 hopefuls attended the audition but just ten were selected to go through to the next round, also at Sheffield City Hall, next month.

The winners will go on to perform in front of a 3,000-strong crowd in a showcase final at London’s O2 Arena later this year and could scoop a recording contract and up to £55,000 in prizes.

Alex, of Limelands Road, Dinnington, said: “It’s my ambition to become a professional singer and however this goes for me it will be a great experience for me.“

Kirsty beats her nerves

Kirsty Slack (27) also qualified for the regional Open Mic UK regional finals in Sheffield .

She said: “I have wanted to be in a competition like this from being young but never had the confidence to audition."

Judges saw past Kirsty’s nerves to put her through to the next stage when she performed for a panel of six on Sunday evening.

She said: “My audition was at 7pm and there was a lot of waiting around like you see on X-Factor.

“I sang Perfect by Fairground Attraction and afterwards, one of the judges came out and asked if I would go back in, just for them to make sure they had made the right decision.

“I auditioned again and then they said: ‘We’ve got some bad’ve got to come back again because you’re through.’”

Kirsty, who lives in Sheffield with husband Darren, counts Celine Dion among the singers who she most admires.

She said that artists who had done well from talent competitions, like Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis, were also an inspiration.

Kirsty will now perform at the live show at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, September 26. Tickets are £7.50.

The overall prize in the national competition is to record an album, release a single and tour the UK.