Final countdown for Has Reading Got Talent?By Sally Bryant
August 19, 2011
Auditions for Reading’s answer to X Factor have now come to end.
In eight days, hundreds of people, young and old, have got up on stage at Broad Street Mall and tried to provide the answer to the question Has Reading Got Talent?
Sally Bryant went along to watch on Wednesday, the final day of auditions.
“It encourages everyone. Because the music business is so hard, it encourages people that there are chances and you should reach for what you want.”
Those are the words of Elaura Richardson as she left the stage on the final day of auditions for Has Reading Got Talent?
Ella Cairns-Glover said after her performance: “It’s a good idea. It helps to boost your self-esteem, even if you don’t do so well.”
Holly Humphreys declared it “very challenging”, whereas musical theatre man Martin Jakeman found it “good fun”.
And Peter Colton, who lifted the roof with a big, big version of ‘Cry Me A River’, applauded it for getting everyone together and enjoying themselves.
Wednesday was the eighth full day of auditions, which have seen hundreds tread the boards in the hopes of a taste of fame.
The stage at the Broad Street Mall has been lit for eight hours a day.
This is the fourth annual opportunity for hidden stars to shine – and so many have caught the judges’ eye, there will now be an extra session of semi-finals today.
Judges Sir John Madejski, X Factor finalist and local man Danyl Johnson, rapper TJ ‘4fingaz’ Shiyanbola and getreading reporter and guitarist Mike Pyle have already started whittling down the 124 hopefuls in the semi-finals, which started yesterday.
They will produce 40 acts for tomorow’s final. They will then be reduced to 10 and then just three, before a winner is announced.
But on Wednesday, everything was still possible and those auditioning were putting their hearts and souls into their performances.
Emmbrook School pupil Abbie Ward, 16 and from Wokingham, made shoppers stop and take notice when she sang ‘All That Jazz’.
It’s usually a dance number, but she filled the mall with her voice and said afterwards: “I prefer big music that has got passion.
“It was amazing to be performing in public.”
One 14-year-old was facing the judges for the second time and she conquered her nerves and won through to the semis.
Ella Cairns-Glover, from Alpine Street in Katesgrove, wowed them with her take on Martina McBride’s ‘Concrete Angel’.
Elaura Richardson, 19 and from Cressingham Way in Whitley, also won through when she sang Christina Aguilera’s ‘Hurt’.
She had only decided to enter the night before but was cheered on by her biggest fan, her two-year-old daughter Ella.
Holly Humphreys may only be 14, but she gave what rapper TJ described as “a fantastic performance” of Christina Perri’s ‘Jar of Hearts’.
The Newbury girl raised a huge cheer from the crowd.
Hollie Beckett didn’t quite make it through to the semis, but there was much promise for the future. The 12-year-old Prospect pupil, from Wilson Road in West Reading, performed Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’.
And the audience was transported to the West End stage when 16-year-old Martin Jakeman stepped forward.
The Forest schoolboy, who lives in Lower Earley’s Rushey Way, is a seasoned performer at the Shinfield Players Theatre and he hit the heights with the challenging ‘Music of the Night’ from ‘Phantom of the Opera’.
He wasn’t put through, but he enjoyed the experience.
Holiday park entertainer Peter Colton spends his days hosting game shows and bingo – but on Wednesday he was the big presence with the big voice, singing ‘Cry Me A River’ a la Buble.
The 24-year-old, who lives in Bowling Green Lane in Purley on Thames, has only been singing for a year.
But after earning a place in the semi-finals he said: “It’s just a hobby, but if it goes somewhere else I don’t mind.”