Teenage singing sensation wins Sunderland’s Genfactor contest

Winner Tahnee Kelly
Winner Tahnee Kelly
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A teenage singing star has taken the crown at this year’s Genfactor finals.

Farringdon School pupil Tahnee Kelly, 14, wowed judges at the annual talent show with her rendition of I’ll Rise Up by Andra Day.

All of the finalists with Gentoo's Keith Lorraine

All of the finalists with Gentoo's Keith Lorraine

Organised by Sunderland-based housing association Gentoo, this year’s final took place at Rainton Meadows Arena with judges Lake Poets frontman Martin Longstaff, West End star Brandon Lee Sears, Sun FM’s Simon and Danni, as well as previous Genfactor winner Liam-Rhys Jones, choosing who would take the top spot.

Tahnee, who also recently won a highly commended award for performing arts at the Sunderland Young Achievers Awards, said: “I can’t put into words what it means to win the Genfactor, as the competition was really tough. It has been an amazing experience.”

The talent competition, which is in its ninth year, is designed to give young people aged between 11 and 18 the opportunity to showcase their talents. By taking part in the competition they learn new skills, meet new people and gain confidence by performing in front of a live audience.

As well as the winner, 12 other dancers and singers impressed the judges with their professionalism and confidence.

All of the finalists with Gentoo staff

All of the finalists with Gentoo staff

Joint third place was awarded to 16 year-old India Mason who wowed judges with her heartfelt version of With You from Ghost the musical and 15 year-old Anne-Marie Gray for her passionate performance of Spotlight by Jennifer Hudson.

Second place was awarded to 11 year-old Sophie Bulmer, who impressed judges with her energetic musical theatre performance.

Other acts included Jorja Horner, Niamh Henderson, Jane Usher, Alessia Fortunato, Daisy Pringle, Katie Chambers, Denton Robinson, Jessica Dale and Lucy

Bulmer.

The crowd was entertained by compere Steve Walls, Houghton Area Youth Band and last year’s winners Saturn Highway.

Michelle Meldrum, executive director, Gentoo said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the businesses who sponsored the event this year. It really would not have been possible without their support. It is amazing to see this event go from strength to strength each year. The talent this year was exceptional and we are so proud of all of our finalists. Next year will be our tenth anniversary and we can’t wait.”