The city’s annual talent competition just keeps on giving and its eighth year was no exception. Enthusiastic contestants from across Leicester and Leicestershire arrived at the Y Theatre on Saturday 30th November ready and raring to perform.
The talent was high at this year’s family event, which included powerful singing acts and upbeat dance performances.
Thirteen confident hopefuls between the ages of 10-23 performed their hearts out in front of a panel of judges and cheering crowd. But it was the last performance of the day by 15-year-old Lena Bettles who stole the show with her version of ‘Quiet’ composed by Jonathan Reid Gealt.
Lena, who is currently studying for her GCSE’s at Lutterworth High School, spoke about her win: “It feels amazing. I did it two years ago, and I didn’t place anywhere, but it was still an amazing experience.
“Last time I was very shy and didn’t move anywhere, but this time I thought I had to be broader, and connect with the audience a bit more.”
The student is no stranger to the stage and is part of the Leicester Theatre Group. She’s performed in the likes of The Wizard of Oz, Our House and Cats, and this year she bagged a leading role in Sweeny Todd at the Haymarket Theatre which played from 20-23 November. She hopes to perform on the West End someday.
Lena received her certificate and winning prize which was an iPad from the Lord Mayor of Leicester Councillor Annette Byrne.
Hosting this year’s show was BBC Radio Leicester’s Deputy Editor Kamlesh Purohit and the judging panel included Councillor Ted Cassidy, wedding and events planner Priti Raichura, BBC East Midlands Today presenter and reporter Simon Ward and BBC Radio Leicester presenter Aminata Kamara.
Head judge Simon Ward said: “It was a really difficult decision, and I guess all talent show judges say this, but it genuinely was. Lena who we chose as the overall winner of Leicester’s Got Talent 2019 really stood out. She was really tuneful and sold it to the audience, and we were so happy to choose her.”
The event is thankful to the Y Theatre and its supporters; SANS Catering Supplies, Royal Airforce, Leicestershire Police, Bond Adams Solicitors and Crimestoppers. Official media partners include Leicester Mercury, BBC Radio Leicester and Pukaar News.
Balbir Singh Flora MBE form the Royal Airforce said: “It’s so good to see so many youngsters and young adults who have got so much talent want to show it off. The Royal Airforce is really pleased to support Leicester’s Got Talent and the young people in our city and county.”
A special mention to the winner of the singing category, 14-year-old Eva Rose, who wowed the judges with her effortless vocals, and 11-year-old Aashvi Thakkar bagged the ‘other category’ prize after dazzling the judges and audience with her vibrant Bollywood dance performance.
Pukaar Magazine Editor and Leicester’s Got Talent organiser, Jessica Challoner-Sterland said: “The competition just gets better each year. The confidence and level of talent of all of the performers was inspiring. It was a fantastic day, and all the contestants should be incredibly proud of themselves.”
The competition has seen some of its previous winners go on to achieve more success. Singer-songwriter Eva Rose, who won in 2017 and won in this year’s singing category made it to the finals of CBBC’s talent series ‘Got What It Takes’ and Messiah Unsudimi, who also won in 2017 in the dance category, went on to make his West End debut as the young Michael Jackson in ‘Thriller’.