A SIXTEEN-year-old ukulele-playing George Formby tribute act has scooped £2,000 after winning the annual Search for a Star at the Austin Sports and Social Club.
Joe James Thomas was clearly both the judges’ and audience’s favourite as the packed concert room at the venue erupted when the decision was announced last night (Saturday).
His set, which included such classics as When I’m Cleaning Windows, Leaning on a Lamp Post and Bless em All, was greeted with people clapping and singing along.
In second place was Jasmine Rawlins who delighted the crowd with her versions of Skyfall, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody and Time to Say Goodbye.
Third place went to Demi Leigh who performed One Night Only, Rolling on a River, Guns n Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine and Run to You.
And in fourth place was Hayley Louise whose set included a Spanish version of You Lift Me Up and Don’t Rain on My Parade.
Among the other finalists were Northfield comedian Lindsey Santoro, singing brothers DNA and vocalists Sophie Thompson, Emily Badger, Hayley Jones and Alesi Summer.
Joe, who has been playing the ukulele and banjo for two to three years, told The Standard he was speechless when his name was read out.
“I couldn’t believe it – this is the biggest thing I’ve been involved in.
“It’s been a tough competition – I was happy to make it through to the final but to win it was amazing.”
Jasmine, who was runner-up for the second time, was full of praise for the winner.
“Joe was absolutely brilliant – he was completely different to the other acts and the audience loved him.
“I was fairly confident of getting through to the final as I’ve been there before but you don’t know who’s out there.
“It’s been a great competition again.”
Demi said: “I’ve been in competitions before but never anything as big as this.
“It’s a really hard contest and Joe fully deserved to win.
“Another great thing about Search for a Star is you get to meet a lot of people and the atmosphere back stage is phenomenal – all the artists really support each other.
“I’m definitely coming back to give it another go next year.”
And Hayley said: “I loved every minute – the audience is incredible here.
“It’s been a real pleasure to be in the competition everyone who performed tonight was amazing.”