Through to UK Finals!

Gig Venue
OpenMicUK

On December 1st 2013 I drove my little lavender blue nissan micra (lovely Gladys) all the way across the Pennines to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Pulling up in front of the venue we screeched to a halt and chucked out the gear, dwarfed by the massive looming Victorian Town Hall. I sent Joe in to register for me and hand in the cash for the tickets, (we managed to sell out again). When we got in we had so much stuff so we stashed it in a back room which had a huge fridge full of choc ices which Joe resisted stealing (after a stern eyebrow from me)... He did avail himself of the fold away wheelchair for a few laps around the room....

As we were positioned just behind the main auditorium, we could hear the performances of the younger round (16-20 yr olds), each one followed by rapturous applause. There were some real belters. I felt sick at the thought of how stiff the competition would be.

A couple of hours later and I was in a dressing room with lots of other people, some rehearsing loudly, others looking like they were sitting out at a dance, shiny dresses and no instrument, awaiting their backing tracks. My brother was playing drums with me, which made it slightly less scary, although as the girl came in to pick us out one by one, it did feel like we were going out to be shot. I quietly hoped I wouldn't get through as it is a seriously scary thing being surrounded by show biz characters and confronted by a panel of judges and sea of unfamiliar and potentially hostile faces...

I had run out of Strepsils, it was 9.15pm and act no. 12 had been called... I was 14 so it was me soon.... Eventually I was called and I waited in a queue in a squished corridor, people pushing past after their song, looking traumatised and overly made up for strip lighting. I got called and a battery pack was thrust onto my guitar, Joe grabbed his djembe and cymbal and we were all set. I couldn't see a thing. I could tell by the number of silhouettes that there were more judges than last time. The hall was full to the brim, people hanging over the balcony above. I sang my song 'Boy Who Doesn't Care'. The entry resonated really well with the high ceiling. I felt very nervous but hoped my tartan tights and Joe's garish Christmas jumper would see us through. The song was over, it wasn't awful, I managed to adopt a confident stance and sing in key but nerves had me by the throat. Backstage everyone was more relaxed now in the dressing room and we all started jamming. Joe played his djembe, Jes Stretton sang, guitarists noodled and strummed, 'Double Trouble', two Manc rappers twins were rapping about their facial hair, it was all quite fun. I was glad I wasn't going through....

Dewsbury Town Hall - Open mic Area Final

26 acts performed, then guest acts from X Factor whilst the votes were counted. The performers were herded to the corridor again to listen for their name's being called out. I was near the back, presuming I hadn't got through. Low and behold, the first name to be called out 'Heidi Browne'! It took me ages to push through as artists were stood along both sides of the narrow hallway as it snaked round, then up the stairs and out. I stood, slightly bewildered and far from ecstatic, on the empty stage. I could hear my sister screaming. She has always been my best supporter! As she jumped up and down she pummelled the box of chocolates my Dad had brought to brown dust. Alright for chocolate sprinkles though! In total 6 acts went through to the UK Grand Final. The opera singer is through again, and a rapper, as well as some great pop/acoustic acts. The judges had been emphasising the importance of originality, so hopefully that's what saw me through! Anyway, support for the final would be great, as each ticket counts as a vote!

If you'd like to come, tickets are £20 from me and I can post them out. The final will be held at the NEC, Birmingham on January 18th, 2014. 8pm.

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