STREET dance act Nu JAM Cru have made the coveted top spot in Sunderland’s very own X Factor spin-off ‘Genfactor’.
An 850-strong audience at the Sunderland Empire watched as a panel of judges put the 12 acts of singers and dancers through their paces.
Contestants were made to feel as much like their X Factor counterparts as possible, having been through a summer holiday ‘boot camp’ and having their very own dressing rooms at the theatre.
But it was the eight street dancers, aged between 11 and 16, from Sunderland’s Dance JAM dance school who impressed the panel the most.
Member Courtney Peel, 12, said: “It’s amazing to win such a big competition, we are overwhelmed. We thought the performance went well because the judges’ comments were amazing afterwards.
“It was the best we’ve performed the dance, the atmosphere in the Empire really helped.”
Fourteen-year-old singer Chloe-Ann Robson was voted the winner of the singers’ category with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.
The sixth-former from Southmoor Community School, in Ryhope, also took part in last year’s final.
“I’m really happy to have been named the best singer on the night because there were some strong vocalists in the competition,” she said. “It was probably my best performance of the song. I have entered school competitions before, but this has made me want to enter more.
“It has been a great experience from start to finish and it is special to have performed at the Empire.”
Runner-up in the dance category was sports acrobatics dance group Northern Hope, consisting of six girls aged between 13 and 16.
Singing category runner-up was 15-year-old Bethany Gillan from Houghton, who has been performing since the age of seven.
The judges were Gentoo deputy chief executive John Craggs, Sapien Records managing director David Smith, dance teacher and performer Keeran-Rose Greener and 2010 Genfactor winner Liam Jones.
The show, organised by housing group, Gentoo, was compered by local comedian Steve Walls and radio personality Jonny Chambers.