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X Factor star backs North West talent show
Friday 3rd March, 2006

A Wigan Borough youth talent contest has received the backing of someone who nearly went all the way in the biggest TV singing competition of them all! Trevor 'Tabby' Callaghan reached the semi-final stages of the X Factor in 2004 and he has thrown his weight behind a contest to unearth our future stars.

Junior Showtime 2006 gets underway at the Monaco Ballroom in Hindley on March 15th and Tabby, who plays Club Nirvana later this month with his band The Tsars, is encouraging all young people with a talent to give it a go. Tabby said: "Talent shows like Junior Showtime are great in the sense that they give you a platform. If there is an opportunity to be gained, young performers need to take it. In the big world, critics count for nothing. Grab your opportunities with both hands."

Junior Showtime is being held for the twelfth consecutive year and is organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust. The competition has been a starting point for many performers who have gone on to be stars, including Heidi Range from the Sugababes, Danny Jones from McFly and Pete Waterman prodigy Lauren Waterworth.

The competition is open to all young people aged between 9 and 15, regardless of how talented you are, as contestants are not selected on ability. Entrants in previous years have included musicians, jugglers, dancers, vocalists and bands.

"Junior Showtime is very much about giving young people the opportunity to show what they can do," said Nancy Winders, Manager of the Monaco Ballroom. It has been tremendously successful to date. A lot of talent scouts come along to the event to see what's out there. It's a fabulous opportunity for young people. We regular attract applications from across the North West including Bolton, St Helens, Chorley and Ormskirk."

"It takes a lot of guts to appear on a stage in front of an audience. This isn't all about winning. It's about building confidence in young people. The competition is a lot of fun and all the young people are very supportive of each other. However, this isn't karaoke. All singers must perform to a backing track without vocals, or very minimal vocals," continued Nancy.

Young people who enter the competition are invited to one of three heats. The top three performers in each heat will go through to the grand final, to be held on April 20th at the Monaco Ballroom.

Heats will take place on March 15th, March 29th and April 12th. Each heat begins at 7.30pm and each contestant is invited to perform one song or act lasting no more than five minutes.

The contest is open to all young people, not just those living in Wigan Borough. In previous years the competition has attracted entrants from across the Northwest.

"My advice to the young people entering Junior Showtime is to be yourself - don't try to be Celine Dion!" continued Tabby. "Go up there, reach deep down into your gut and try to show who you really are. Don't put on an act, be yourself."

The closing date for entries for Junior Showtime 2006 is March 11th. It costs 4 to enter and entry forms are available from Nancy Winders on (01942) 255138. Application forms can be downloaded from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust's website www.wlct.org/venues.

Members of the public can pay on the door to watch all Junior Showtime heats. Admission is 1 and soft drinks and a snack bar will be available.

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