Castle Dene’s Talent Competition Crowns a Winner!

1st September 2015

For the fourth year running Castle Dene Shopping Centre hosted its Next Big Thing talent competition for under 18s in August.

We invited sensational singers, dynamic dancers and exciting entertainers to submit videos of themselves performing their talent in order to be selected for the live heats at Castle Dene on 1st August. The heats displayed an array of talented performers, making it incredibly hard for the judges to decide the 8 acts for the final!

After much deliberation, however, the below finalists were selected:

  • Arunima Batra
  • Aisha Harriett
  • Tye Jobareth
  • Morgan Elizabeth Robinson
  • Abigail Sabrah
  • Leah Sanderson
  • Erin Gallagher Smith
  • Connor Thomas

The Next Big Thing final took place in front of excited crowds at Castle Dene on Saturday 8th August, hosted by Simon Grundy from Sunderland’s SUN FM. The judges for the day were Barry Parnell (Castle Dene’s Centre Manager), Danielle Moore (from SUN FM) and Barry Hyde (from Sunderland band The Futureheads).

Castle Dene's Talent Competition

The judges wait to see the show!

The Result

As well as showcasing a phenomenal amount of talent, the final also saw a series of songs performed by Barry Hyde himself! After much discussion between the judges, 8 year old singer Aisha Harriett was crowned the winner after her stunning performance of ‘River Deep Mountain High’.

Castle Dene's Talent Competition

Top: Barry Hyde of The Futureheads performs. Bottom Images: Aisha Harriett celebrates!

Aisha won £300 of vouchers to spend at Castle Dene Shopping Centre and was presented with these by Barry Parnell the same day.

Castle Dene's Talent Competition

Aisha Harriett is presented with her prize by Centre Manager, Barry Parnell.

“It was an amazing show and all the performers wowed the crowds… and the judges! Aisha was brilliant. Her rendition of songs showed star quality and she was a worthy winner of our talent competition this year.”

Barry Parnell, Castle Dene’s Centre Manager

Second place was awarded to singer Leah Sanderson who won £200 and third place was awarded jointly to dancer Morgan Elizabeth Robinson and guitarist Connor Thomas who both won £50.

Castle Dene's Talent Competition

Top Image: Leah Sanderson Bottom Left: Connor Thomas Bottom Right: Morgan Elizabeth Robinson

“It was an amazing event. The youngsters were so talented and for the judges to have to choose between them must have been a difficult task! However, they chose a very deserving winner. What a little star Aisha she is!”

Simon Grundy, SUN FM