Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound...
Hubert Murphy reports on a magical School Stars finale at the TLT concert hall
A little lady with a big voice stole the show at the 2019 School Stars final at the TLT.
Grace Looney (10), a 4th class student in Termonfeckin NS, saw off 23 other talented acts to become this year's champion.
'I love the stage!,' Grace remarked afterwards.
Her performance of 'Popular' saw her become queen of the musicals for the night, with guest judge Jake Carter describing her as 'unbelievable' and that she showed great confidence and he wondered was she actually born on a stage!
Grace pipped the sensational Orla McDermott to the title.
Orla, from Scoil Aonghusa, was simply perfect in her rendition of 'Wings' by Birdy. Jake described it as 'beautiful' and the fact that it was a hard song to sing, she didn't get a note wrong.
Third place went to the equally stunning Kate Shelton from Bohermeen. captivating with 'Fields of Gold'. Jake remarked, 'you could hear people breathing. It was great, you sold it to us.'
There were also individual awards with Aaron O'Shaughnessy from Cartown voted best dancer. Aaron - self taught - has developed a unique style of free style dance, Jake stating, ' you are a natural born performer'.
Best entertainer was Alex Bradley from Kentstown who delivered a tribute to Freddie Mercury. 'You blew me away - can you come on tour with me!,' Jake stated.
Best dressed were the Colmcille Comedians from Tullydonnell NS and they were amazing on the night. 'You had me laughing from start to finish,' Jake exclaimed.
The Best musicians were the Slane band, COPE. A class act throughout the event, they didn't disappoint in the final. They gave a shout out to Mr Fagan for all his support with Jake raving about their whole performance.
There were two very special awards for the Tullyallen senior and junior choir who both reached the finals. Organiser Patrick Leddy paid tribute to their efforts in making the finals again.
Jake praised the juniors vocal performance while he said the seniors 'were a great blend'.
Monty and the Moose from Ballapousta opened the night and were awesome, Jake remarking 'at your age I couldn't do that. Brian May would be pleased. You are unreal, blew me away.'
Aoibhe Moore from Gaelscoil Balbriggan astounded Jake with her confidence, adding, 'We'll see your name in lights.'
Sarah Woulfe from St Patrick's in Slane was 'Rolling in the Deep' and Jake was happy, 'you've got the whole package'.
Caitlin and Aoife from Bellewstown went 'Shotgun' and Jake said the harmong was 'great' .
The stunning Marley Peig from St Paul's NS was 'defying gravity' and Jake remarked that it was a superb effort.
Saoirse, Aoibhe and Moya from Cartown were 'super co-ordinated'.
The captivating Hannah Murphy from Cartown nailed 'Shallow' and Jake added, 'I love that song and love it even more now.'
The Unpredictables from Dillonstown was something Jake had never seen before, 'an entertaining mix of Irish and contemporary'.
Joy Chucks played piano and sang with Jake saying her timing was impeccable.
Leviosa from Slane - made up of Ava and Darcy - won over Jake with True Colours. 'You both have great voices,' he remarked.
Nikita Stanley from Tullyallen inspired Jake to enthuse - 'you owned the stage, very entertaining.'
Saoirse Rae Branigan from Termonfeckin brought the house down with 'Bring Him Home' , Jake applauding her 'tone and control'.
The Lightning Vibe from Tullyallen were 'full of energy' according to a delighted Jake.
Ava Murphy from Gaelscoil Balbriggan was a powerhouse singer with 'loads of attitude' in her voice.
Charlie McCullen from Bellewstown - a supreme entertainer - dressed in a red suit - delivered 'Uptown Funk' said Jake felt he had the time of his life performing the song.
Shay Carrie was the MC on the night and for the entire show and once again delivered in true professional style.
Theresa McKenna and Conor Whearty with head coach Derek Ekins were also judges throughout and certainly helped the young performers at every opportunity.
With Aoife McGroggan pulling the strings off stage, the event certainly lived up to its billing as the premier junior talent show in the region.
The secondary school stars are planned for later in the year.
But this will be a hard act to follow...