Meet the county's talented stars

Banbury Cake: Aweys Hirabe Aweys Hirabe

TWO dozen hopefuls will be battling it out later this year in the grand final of Talent Oxford.

The contest, now in its third year, is open to everyone in Oxfordshire and aims to find the stars of tomorrow.

Winners will receive £1,000, a professional website, photoshoot, video show reel and the chance to star in a countywide school tour.

The live grand final is due to take place at the Regal in Cowley Road on October 6.

Organisers have announced the 24 finalists, and the Oxford Mail has spoken to a number of them about their chance for glory.

Natasha Budd, 31, from Headington, (picture 16) may have an eight-week-old baby but she is not letting this stop her from trying to win.

She said: “I won Abingdon’s Got Talent in 2010 but thought I would enter something in Oxford. I used to sing in clubs in High Wycombe and Aylesbury with Leanne from Little Mix, and came second in a London competition against Ruth Brown from The Voice, so now I think it’s my time to shine.”

Nicole Clent (21) is an 18-year-old contemporary dancer from Greater Leys. She said: "I got involved in dance because I used to watch it on the TV and thought I would enjoy it. I went to watch the competition and thought it looked really good and it would bring out my confidence, which it has.”

Nanye Osae-Asare (13) is a 23-year-old singer studying at Oxford Brookes University . He is singing out of the comfort of his bedroom for the first time, as he has never actually performed in any competitions before. “I decided to just start and go with it. I was inspired from a lot of gigs and I listen to a lot of music.”

Today is Cowley Road resident Tray Lyon Sam’s 16th birthday (12). The Oxford Spires Academy’s talent is street dancing.

He said: “My piece is about five minutes long and I’m nervous because it’s going to be in front of so many people.”

And Sophie Heine, 32, and Mark Kelly, 37, (19) met at a salsa club in Oxford after moving here from Belgium.

Now the engaged couple are dancing the salsa to try to win the hearts of the judges.

Miss Heine said: “We have been dancing together since we met about three-and-a-half years ago. We would be really happy to win, but are just glad we are taking part.”

Judges for the grand final include TV actor Jonathan Partridge, former X Factor singer Kitty Brucknell, choreographer Farouk Bhimji, R’n’B singer J-SOL and SClub 8 singer Stacey McClean.

 For more on the competition, go to talentoxford.co.uk Pictures: Studio Blanco

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