TWO teenagers and a singer who came up from East London went through in the first heat of the Austin Sport an Social Club’s Search For A Star 2017.
The show, which took place on Saturday (January 14), saw eight acts battle it out in front of a crowded concert room.
And by the end Joe James Thomas, a 16-year-old ukelele-playing George Formby tribute act, powerful vocalist Emily Badger, also 16, and James Tasherio booked their places in the semi-final.
Joe, who sang numbers including ‘With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock’, ‘Leaning on a Lamp Post’ and ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ was performing in his first competition.
He said: “I didn’t expect to get through – it was a great experience with a brilliant audience.”
The crowd were clapping along to his set and singing along with the words they knew.
He added he would be keeping up the rehearsals in preparation for the next round.
Emily, whose songs included Whitney Houston’s How Will I know and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, was in her second contest after reaching the semi-finals last year.
She said: “I’m just getting over a bad cold and didn’t think I’d be able to perform tonight but I’m glad I did.
“I’ll hopefully be mixing it up a bit for the next round and will probably include some more upbeat numbers.”
James, 29, from East London, heard about the competition from his cousin who lives in Perry Barr and journeyed up on the train.
Although he has just come back from playing venues in Europe, in the UK the majority of his performances take place inside the M25.
“I’m used to the London scene so it was nice to get outside the capital and experience something different – there was a really nice vibe here tonight and a great crowd – I’ve had some really good feedback.”
Other acts on Saturday included Chloe Rose Fisher, Redditch singer Charlie, Vanessa Lee, Dave and the Forever Spice Guys.
Those who make the final, due to be held in April, will get a share of £5,000, with the winner receiving £2,000, the runner-up £1,000, third place £500, fourth £250 and £100 for the rest of the finalists.
The next heat will take place this Saturday (January 21) at the Austin Sports and Social.
The doors open at 7pm, the show starts at 8pm and admission for the three-hour show is £4.
For more information or tickets, call Tony Maslen on 0121 457 9308.