Sunderland schoolgirl wins Genfactor

Mia Carney winning her award
Mia Carney winning her award
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Today the Genfactor: tomorrow the X Factor?

Schoolgirl Mia Carney, 12, has taken the next step to stardom after winning the city’s annual Genfactor competition.

The finalists

The finalists

After a hotly-fought contest, she was crowned the winner at the finals held at Rainton Meadows Arena last night.

Judges, which included Martin Longstaff aka The Lake Poets and former Futureheads frontman Barry Hyde, say they were impressed with the Farringdon Academy pupil’s stage presence and confidence during her rendition of Black Heart by Stooshe.

Mia, from Farringdon, said: “I am really happy and excited. I thought everyone had a good chance and didn’t expect to win. It didn’t sound real when they said my name. I’ve loved every minute, met some lovely people and made new friends. It’s been really amazing.”

Second place in the contest was awarded to Dance Jam. The dance troupe, aged 11 to 16, had the arena bouncing with their dance mash-up.

Mia on stage

Mia on stage

Meanwhile, five-piece indie rockers Supersonic came in third place. The group, all aged 14 and pupils at Houghton Kepier School, impressed judges with Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl.

Around 1,000 people attended the final to see the 16 hopefuls compete in Gentoo’s annual talent show.

The housing company launched the contest for Sunderland youngsters in a bid to give them the chance to showcase their musical abilities.

John Craggs, acting chief executive of Gentoo, who was also a judge, said: “The Genfactor not only opens up new opportunities for young people, but they also get the chance to perform in front of an audience, learn new skills and meet new people.

“We’re delighted that Genfactor was yet another big success and we’re grateful to each of the competitors, volunteers, sponsors, judges and performers for making this such a memorable evening.”