What a great night – and what a line-up of rising talent.
That was the Young Performer of the Year event, sponsored by Port of Tyne, and held at the Customs House in South Shields.
Nine wonderful acts were hoping to reach the finals of the competition, which is part of the Best of South Tyneside Awards.
And as compere and judge Ray Spencer said at the end of the night, in a message to the proud parents and supporters of the youngsters: “Be proud. Be very proud.”
Each act performed for a panel of experts consisting of Danny Rowe, the first dancer to win the competition; Hazel Pude, presenter of Made in Tyne and Wear’s The Lowdown; and last year’s winner Eve Simpson.
l First on stage was James Bassett, 12, from South Shields, performing The Lottery Millionaire on his ukulele. Hazel told him: “First up, and you were fantastic.” Danny praised him for drawing the audience in to his performance, while Eve told James: “Your singing is really strong.”
l Six-year-old Eleanor Kassae, from Jarrow, had never been on a theatre stage before and had only been dancing for under a year. But after her performance, Eve told her: “Your movement is beautiful and your facial expression lovely.”
Hazel said: “That was amazing,” while Danny added: “For six years old, that was incredible.”
l South Shields singer Rebekah Grace Summerhill, 14, performed We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off – with Danny telling her: “You could hear a pin drop. The audience was fixed on you.” Hazel praised her “distinctive voice”, while Eve said: “You have got such a strong, powerful voice.”
l Rose Theresa Blair, also six and from South Shields, has been performing as a ballerina since she was two. Danny told her: “It was a lovely performance throughout” while Hazel added: “You looked beautiful”.
Eve told Rose she was “stunning.”
l Brother and sister David and Sasha France, from Jarrow, gave a duet performance of their own song Best Kind Of Love. Eve told David, 11, and Sasha, 12, that she could really hear the reggae and Nashville influences in the song.
Danny praised Sasha for her “powerhouse voice” and David for his stage presence, while Hazel told them: “Stay together through your music because you are great.”
l Six-year-old freestyle dancer Jaycee Rose Tighe, from South Shields, got huge cheers from the audience and Hazel told her: “It was brilliant.”
Eve said: “That was full of energy” while Danny told her: “You powered through that from the beginning to the end.”
l Leonie Reay, 15, from South Shields, was described as having “such an easy voice to listen to,” by Danny after her rendition of Skyfall. Hazel praised her for a brave choice of song and for “hitting the nail on the head”, while Eve told Leonie: “You have got a mature tone.”
l Hope Swan, 16, also from South Shields, was “note perfect” with the Adele number When We Were Young, said Eve. Danny told her: “I just sat back and enjoyed it.” Hazel commented: “It was so easy listening. I would love to hear you sing again.”
l Ellie Stephenson, 12, from Jarrow, was praised for her vibrato by Danny after singing Hallelujah. Eve told her: “You have a big voice” while Hazel told her: “I loved how you were so confident. You really expressed the words.”
Susan Wear, Port of Tyne Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “We are always hugely impressed and amazed by the never ending stream of talent in South Tyneside.
“This year was no exception. Every performance was an inspiration. They are all young people who are really dedicated performers, totally committed to giving their best and they should be incredibly proud of themselves. ”
It’s now down to the judges to pick the best three acts to go through to the Best of South Tyneside finals, to be held at the Quality Hotel in Boldon on June 9.