Alex has the Genfactor in Sunderland

The Gen Factor 2011 held at Academy 360 in Sunderland.  The finale of the show with winner Alex Forth in the centre with compere Jonny Chambers

The Gen Factor 2011 held at Academy 360 in Sunderland. The finale of the show with winner Alex Forth in the centre with compere Jonny Chambers

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STEP aside Leona. Singing sensation Alex Forth already has stars in her eyes after taking the crown at Wearside’s version on the X Factor.

The 15-year-old Venerable Bede School pupil was the judges’ unanimous choice in the annual Genfactor competition, beating 11 other acts with her rendition of Home, from the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast.

The Gen Factor 2011 held at Academy 360 in Sunderland. Winner Alex Forth

The Gen Factor 2011 held at Academy 360 in Sunderland. Winner Alex Forth

She says that she would like to go on and forge a career in the performing arts after her win at the Gentoo event, which took place at Academy 360, in Pennywell, last night.

A delighted Alex, who goes to Durham Gala Theatre Stage School and wants to go to Newcastle College of Performing Arts, said: “I was very nervous before I went on, but I’ve loved doing it and I’ve made loads of new friends.

“I heard about the competition through school and just decided to enter.”

The Year 11 pupil added: “I would like to be on at the West End or Broadway, but one thing I’d really like to be in is the Disney Parade.”

Alex’s ecstatic mum Paula, 43, said: “We didn’t know which way it was going to go. It must have been very hard for them to choose the winner.”

Alex’s performance earned her the title from judges Liam Jones, who won last year’s title, choreographer Jennifer Oswald, Gentoo deputy chief executive John Craggs, Echo editor Rob Lawson and even a Simon Cowell lookalike.

Emma Mhlanga and Stembie Muchegwa, who formed duo New Girls, were runners-up after they sang I Want to Be a Millionaire.

Jazz guitarist Bradley Johnson and 12-year-old singer Kate Hilton came joint third.

Break dancer Andrew Hill was also given special recognition for continuing with his routine despite a slight technical hitch.

John hailed the standard of entrants in this year’s contest.

“I’ve heard there were 116 applicants and I just think it’s a pleasure to come and see the final 12 perform,” he said.

“You can see that people are going home buzzing from what they’ve seen on the stage.”

Twitter: @davidallison88