Christina crowned the Search for a Star winner

A CROWD of more than 300 people packed into Theatre at The Mill on Friday night (April 19) for the grand final of the Mayor’s Search for a Star talent competition.

Twelve talented acts took to the stage for the spectacular finale, with each producing show-stopping performances as they battled it out for the top prize of £1,000.

Mayor Victor Robinson and compere Claire McCollum with Search for a Star winners, from left, Thady Graham, Christina McCabe and Sophie Giraudeau. INNT 17-521CON

Mayor Victor Robinson and compere Claire McCollum with Search for a Star winners, from left, Thady Graham, Christina McCabe and Sophie Giraudeau. INNT 17-521CON

The evening, which was compered by local TV presenter and broadcaster Claire McCollum, showcased a variety of amazing talent - singers, musicians and dancers who won through the auditions at the Abbey Centre on March 9 and Mossley Mill on March 26.

Mayor Victor Robinson and his fellow judges David Meade, Michelle Baird and Melanie Humphrey - who was drafted in at the last minute in place of former Miss Northern Ireland Gayle Williamson - had the unenviable task of deciding the winners of the three cash prizes. In the end it was Glengormley girl Christina McCabe and her acoustic rendition of Katy Perry’s The One That Got Away who shone the brightest and was crowned the overall winner. The stunned 14-year-old picked up a whopping £1,000 cash prize sponsored by G Force Amusements and United Bus Company.

Singer Sophie Giraudeau (14), from Upper Ballinderry, won the £500 second prize sponsored by CW Events Management and Blu Zebra, and 16-year-old singer/guitarist Thady Graham form Killyleagh took third place and a prize of £250 sponsored by Glen Houston Entertainment.

The judges were full of praise for all the performers, including crowd favourites Carnmoney Primary School Junior Choir and Jordan Academy of Irish Dancing. And they admitted that only the smallest of margins had separated the first five or six acts when the final scores were tallied up.

Despite disappointment for some when the results were announced, no-one left empty handed, as the nine runners up each received a £50 shopping voucher courtesy of Abbey Centre.

Speaking after the event, Alderman Robinson said: “Although I had seen the acts perform during the audition process, I was still amazed by the outstanding talent on display on Friday. Everyone performed to the best of their ability and blew the audience away with outstanding performances, giving them a great night’s entertainment.

“I would like to thank the judges who helped me make my decision and pick the three great and most deserving winners. The competition brought to light the great talent that is out there and I know for sure we witnessed some rising stars who are destined for great things. Big thanks also goes to Claire McCollum who did a fantastic job compering and holding the evening together.”

The event raised in the region of £3,500 for the Mayor’s charities - Alzheimer’s Society, Epilepsy Action NI and Reach Charity.

Alderman Robinson expressed his gratitude to sponsors Abbey Centre, Blu Zebra, CW Events Management, Dargan Press, Glen Houston Entertainment and United Bus Company. He also thanked the council staff who organised the event and everyone who came along on the night to support the acts and raise money three very worthy causes.