Tuesday 30th March 2010 by C. Freeman
Singer-songwriter Jen Dobson has been crowned this year's winner of the BW Factor after students put on an amazing two-hour talent show featuring a diverse array of acts.
The excitement was palpable as the 14 performers who had made it through audition stages entertained the four judges and an audience of hundreds. Teacher Mr Mark Bidwell compered the evening in his inimitable style, interviewing the acts before asking the judges for their comments.
The judging panel comprised Mr Sean Dalton, who has appeared at the West End and toured the country playing the male lead in 'Beauty and the Beast', Mr Chris Jervis who runs the Kettering Gang Show, former music teacher Mr Matt Sammy, and the Chair of Parents in Partnership, Shivon De Freitas. They all scored the acts on their stage presence, technical ability and that indefinable X-Factor. As the rest of the judges deliberated backstage Mr Dalton put on a stunning performance of his own, singing one of the songs from the Disney show.
The show started with a performance to 'Fame' by the girls' dance group, then it was time for the first act; Year 9 student Jay Davison. He made a dramatic entrance in a monkey mask (in tribute to the Cadbury's advert) to perform his drum routine. It was a confident presentation made more impressive by his glowing drumsticks and the fact that he has only been playing for a year.
Then came 'Hyped Up' comprising Year 7 students Alistair Auld and Caleb President with their energetic dance performance. This was followed by another duo, Emma Haxton and Faye Patterson, who sang a delicate version of 'The Climb' by Miley Cyrus.
Jordan Byrne from Year 10 moon-walked around the stage during his dance to Michael Jackson's 'Black or White'. His act included a spot of audience invasion when he danced up in the tiered seating. His spirited performance won praise from the judges and was followed by Grace Olajide from Year 8 with her distinctive and powerful vocal take on 'A Moment Like This' made famous by Leona Lewis.
Then it was the turn of Year 7 student, Conor Judge to wow the audience with his version of 'Where Is Love?' from 'Oliver!' His rendition impressed all the judges with Mr Sammy saying it rivalled a version that he had just seen in the West End. The first half was rounded off by 'Wire to the Brain'. Josh Brown, Tom Bickle, Blane Chalmers and Josh Phillip made sure the audience spent the interval with their ears still ringing with their version of 'Do You Want To Be My Girl?'
Rebecca Savage from Year 7 started the second half with an amazing operatic performance which drew comments on the maturity and depth of her voice. Sixth Former Lois Crossan was commended on the 'immaculate timing' of her Irish dancing to 'Lord of the Dance'. It was time for more vocal talent as Sultan Chaudhury sang 'Heartbeat' by Scouting for Girls followed by Savanna Jones and Ellie Patrick who joined forces for a harmonious duet of 'Realise'.
A trio of divas, Lauren Butler, Lauren Chapman and Kayleigh O' Connor then took to the floor for a homage to the Dreamgirls' 'Move Out of My Life'. Their sassy and sparkling performance was praised for its attitude with the playful kick adding a final flourish.
The tempo changed as Jen Dobson sang her self-penned anthem 'Are You Ready?' before the second band of the night, The Unnameables, alias Jay Brown, Rohan Mantas, Mairaid McKinney, Hannah Sneddon and Lee Griffiths, wowed the crowd with 'Pick Up the Pieces' by The Average White Band, which brought the show to a funky finale.
After Mr Dalton's amazing performance it was time to announce the winners with Jordan Byrne gaining third place while the runner-up was Rebecca Savage. Jen Dobson then reprised her winning song before it was time to turn off the spotlight and put away the glitter until the next BW Factor.
Many thanks go to everyone whose hard work made the show a success, especially those from Parents in Partnership who organised the event and provided refreshments. Mr and Miss Duguid, Mr Bidwell, Mrs Navarro-Marin and Mr Wilson gave their invaluable input along with Mr Jackson and Mr Taylor from the AV department. Mr Barrett photographed the proceedings while students William Downey and Edward Lockwood helped the show run smoothly. Gratitude also goes to the judges, especially Mr Dalton, and last, but not least, to all the students who took part, both in the audition stages and the final, for their unforgettable performances.