Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Your chance to be a star

If you’ve got what it takes, sign up for our talent search

Gabriella Cilmi (middle) launches this year’s Citybeat Young Star Search. Pictured with Gabriella Cilimi are Rosellen and Eimear O ‘Kane who hope they'll be able to impress the judges at the auditions later this month.

Do you think you have star potential and could dazzle a panel of judges with a voice like Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle or Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody?

The Belfast Telegraph and Citybeat have teamed up to launch this year’s search for Northern Ireland’s next singing sensation.

Citybeat’s Young Star Search is in its fourth year and will be scouting the country for the best homegrown talent this summer.

Star Search founder, Citybeat’s Stuart Robinson, who announced a new 17-25 age category, said the competition was more important than ever for Northern Ireland as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent no longer audition in Belfast.

“This year we would really like to find someone from the 17-25 age category we can make a really good record with. The thing many of the young artists and bands I have interviewed have highlighted is the first time they ever heard their song on the radio.

“That’s a special thing and we can give the winnners that. The whole idea is to give young people the chance to audition,” he said.

Those who want to showcase their singing skills can audition this weekend at the Movie House Cinema at Cityside (Yorkgate).

Competition is expected to be fiercer than in previous years and audition spaces — allocated first-come, first-served by booking online — are filling up fast.

Demand is already so high for the first round of auditions this weekend that organisers were forced to put on a second full day of auditions this Sunday. Those who impress the judges will be put through to one of 16 local heats all over the country this summer.

The Citybeat Young Star Search will visit a selection of Northern Ireland’s shopping centres this summer and will feature a new judging panel. Record producer Mickey Modelle, Citybeat and MTV presenter John Kearns and Afternoon Drive presenter Glen Pavis are the new line-up to be joined each week by a guest judge.

Aussie pop star Gabriella Cilmi, who has made her mark on the charts with hits like On A Mission and Sweet About Me, has voiced her support for the competition.

“Any route to get a foot in the music business is great. It can sometimes be challenging but it’s the taking part that counts — keep at it and above all enjoy the experience of performing and competing. I can’t wait to hear the eventual winners,” she said.

Citybeat listeners will have the casting vote to determine which hopeful will represent their local area in the contest’s finals after the local heats during the summer.

Last year more than half-a-million people logged on to YouTube to watch the performances of winners Anna Guest (8) from Newtownards and Rachel Campbell (16) from Lagmore, who polled the majority of about 30,000 listener votes.

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