FUTUREHEADS front man Barry Hyde has joined the judging panel for Sunderland’s answer to Britain’s Got Talent.
He will use his experience in the music industry to decide who should be the winner of the Genfactor, an annual talent contest run by Gentoo.
Each year the competition gives young performers a chance to showcase their talents on the big stage.
Now in its sixth year, it has gone from strength to strength, with more than 800 guests packing out the stalls at the Sunderland Empire last year, to cheer on friends and family.
Barry said: “I love seeing new talent emerging and encouraging people to perform.
“Sunderland is quite a special place when it comes to music and this initiative is a great way for young people to come together to learn new skills, improve confidence and show Sunderland what they’ve got.”
Tom Hawick, 14, made it to the final last year. He was a solo singer and played acoustic guitar.
Tom said: “I heard about the Genfactor through school and it made me want to perform.
“The experience was brilliant. We had the first audition and I got through to boot camp and then the finals.
More than 100 young people have applied for the Genfactor this year.
Boot camps will take place over the summer, where acts will battle it out to secure a place in the final at the Empire on Wednesday, November 19.