TWO talented guitarists and a five-piece country band were the latest to book their places in the semi-finals of the Austin Sports and Social Club’s Search for a Star 2018.
In a closely-contested heat Sean Duggan from Weoley Castle, The Emma Swindells’ Band from Wolverhampton and Craig Ansbury from Dudley made it through.
Sean performed some of his self-penned works, along with an impressive mash-up which included Stevie Wonder’s Superstition and Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man.
The Emma Swindells’ Band also performed material they had written, such as Lost for Words, and covers including Shut Up and Dance With Me and Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
And Craig, 21, delighted the crowd with his set which featured Paul Simon’s Schoolyard and Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell.
He said afterwards: “I was in bands and then a duo but I’ve been by myself for the last year.
“I’ve appeared on Black Country Radio and won open mic competitions before.
“But I was called in here because someone dropped out so it was all a bit last minute.
“I didn’t expect to get through because everyone who performed tonight was really good.”
Emma Swindells, 26, was joined in her band by twin sister Laura, younger sister Clare, 23, Richard Hockney, 39, and Daniel Salter, 26.
She said: “This was our first competition as a band so it was fantastic to get through.
“Because we haven’t performed here before we didn’t know what to expect.
“The crowd were really great and I think they appreciated what we did, mixing our own material with some cover versions.”
Richard added: “We had a lot of fun on stage and I think that came across to the audience.”
They said they would now go away and prepare for the semi-finals, having a look at the set and deciding what to bring in and what to leave out.
Eight more acts will be vying to join these in the semi-finals next Saturday, February 10.
The finalists will win their share of £5,000.
Those wanting to perform in this year’s Search for a Star should email Tony Maslen at email@example.com or call him on 07505 174044 or 0121 457 9308 for more.