Stoke's Top Talent 2012: Life is sweet for Dolly Mix as they make final
THEY say the best is often saved until last – and there might well have been some truth in that at The Regent theatre last night.
Nine acts and almost two hours had passed before Stoke's Top Talent hopefuls Dolly Mix got the chance to stake their claim for a place in Saturday's grand final.
They brought the curtain down on the third heat with a high energy dance routine which had spins, jumps and kicks, all set to a thumping background of pop music.
And the youngsters, who all dance at Studio One in Longton, were rewarded not only with the biggest cheer of the night, but with a place in the final. Their routine might not have always been in perfect harmony, but the 15-year-olds left the four judges in awe.
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"Wow, wow, wow" enthused actor Eric Potts, while pantomime producer Kevin Wood spoke of signing the group up when they turn 16.
But they'll be hoping to go one better than finishing runners-up in this year's competition, after Sentinel columnist and judge Martin Tideswell compared them to the 'Manchester United' of the competition.
Joining Dolly Mix will be 17-year-old Sneyd Green singer Brad Hammond, who chose to perform Feeling Good by Michael Buble.
Compère Jonathan Wilkes told Brad, who donned a wig and a dress in the 2008 heats, that he had 'pulled it out of the bag' when it mattered most. And it seemed the judges all agreed, as they gave Brad a glowing review.
The night had started with singers and dancers Mini Mix, who are all students at the Angela Beardmore School of Dance. It's always difficult to sing and dance at the same time but there was no doubt they had given it their best shot. Up next was 38-year-old Longton singer Damon Simms, who sung All These Things That I've Done by American band The Killers.
Damon didn't quite hit the high standards set by Brandon Flowers, but he can be more than happy with the accolade he received from Martin Tideswell, who claimed there are two great things about Longton: "The Gladstone Pottery Museum and Simms."
The next act was introduced on stage as a 'mentalist' – and Jonathan Wilkes wasn't wrong. What followed was a five-minute magic trick which involved magician Ben Cardall, four staple guns and him seemingly stapling his face. At times the audience wasn't sure whether to watch or look away.
Now after watching Marie Black perform her own song called Remember Me, I may or may not have sent a text message to a colleague, informing them of my intention to streak through the office if she didn't make the final.
Her voice effortlessly filled the theatre and left the audience in silence, but it wasn't to be for the 31-year-old.
Following on from Marie was another singer, Nelena Paparisva, who sang Run by Snow Patrol, later covered by Leona Lewis. It was a strong performance, but not enough to win over the judges on the night.
Acrobats Hannah Mellor and Erica Bayliss kept the feel-good factor surrounding Team GB's gymnasts alive with a gravity defying performance.
Cleverly, they ended the act by walking off stage with a walking stick and zimmer frame.
Judge Suzanne Carly said she couldn't believe the body strength they demonstrated during the routine. Ten-year-old Madison Smith might be asked for ID next time she enters the competition.
The pocket-sized diva had the building shaking with her rendition of Beyonce's Best Thing I Never Had. Kevin Wood said her voice was 'remarkable' and Martin Tideswell hinted at a bright future for the singer.
Seventeen-year-old April Lancaster also chose to perform a Beyonce song – this time Halo and to great applause.
As the winners were announced, Jonathan Wilkes revealed it had been the toughest night so far for the judges, and that there had been a lot of arguing over who should go through to the final. But the night belonged to Dolly Mix and Brad Hammond.