Young Daniel Louis hit all the right notes to be named The Falkirk Herald’s Voice of 2012.
The St Mungo’s High School pupil gave a spellbinding performance to take the title at City Nightclub on Sunday evening.
An enthusiastic audience was treated to 10 high-calibre acts, ranging in age from 11 to 32 years, all with very different musical interpretations, but all incredibly talented.
However, Daniel’s version of ‘Hallelujah’, taken into the charts by both Alexandra Burke and Leonard Cohen, was enough to convince the judges that he should be the eventual winner.
Handed the difficult task of selecting the top three were opera star Cheryl Forbes, who is originally from Laurieston and a former member of Falkirk Youth Theatre; acclaimed musical director Gordon Cree; and Kevin Reid, business manager at McDonald’s restaurant in Grangemouth, who kindly sponsor the Voice.
Vocal coach Chris Judge of VoiceJam, who worked with all the finalists prior to their performance, said: “This is a great competition which has uncovered some real talent over the years.”
James King (27), a budding entrepreneur from Falkirk had the unenviable task of being first on stage, but proved to be a great scene-setter with his version of Take That’s ‘The Flood’.
Morgan Lennox, a Tulliallan Primary School pupil from Kincardine, may be small in stature but she definitely packed a punch with her big voice. The 11-year-old wowed the judges with ‘Someone Like You’ and was praised for performing her own version of the Adele classic.
Next up it was eventual winner Daniel, followed by Emma Murray, a 17-year-old from Falkirk. She chose to emulate Sandy Shaw by kicking off her shoes and going barefoot to sing the Duffy track ‘Warwick Avenue’, which again the judges raved about.
The first half was brought to a rocking conclusion by Larbert High pupil Evan Lake with his brilliant performance of Queen’s ‘Hammer to Fall’. His audience interaction showed a maturity beyond his 17 years and was praised by all the judges.
Smoothest performance of the night came from eventual runner-up Kyle McLachlan of Grangemouth. It was difficult to remember this cool crooner was only 15 years, as he confidently strode about the stage for his version of Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Hero’.
Making a welcome return to the Voice final was primary teacher Lana Dewar. The 28-year-old from Grangemouth sang the Belinda Carlisle number one hit ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’.
It was watch out Miley Cyrus when Ashleigh Hannah strode on the City stage to belt out her version of ‘When I Look at You’. The 13-year-old from Stenhousemuir gave a strong performance to eventually take the third spot.
Diminutive Shannon McLeod (15) from Grangemouth performed a powerful version of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ which the judges loved.
Then it was over to the oldest contestant, David Wilson (32), of Bonnybridge to round off the event. The Duran Duran tribute artiste chose to put his own mark on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ making it a fitting end to what had been an exceptionally high calibre final.
Chris Judge summed up the event when he said: “I’m so glad that I’m not in the judges’ shoes and have to decide on a winner. That’s going to be a really tough choice.”
While the trio deliberated, TJ Bilham, an up-and-coming star in the making performed his new single ‘Summertime’.
Currently coached by Chris, the 6ft 4in blond has swapped life in Monaco for his mum’s hometown of Glasgow as he makes his attempt on the UK charts.
Providing musical backing throughout the evening was the ever-popular Dignan Dowell and White.
Then it was time for compere for the evening Jennifer Marjoribanks to read out the result in reverse order with a shocked Daniel taking the top spot.
Afterwards he admitted: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard my name called out. But it was a brilliant feeling.”
Now the youngster will have the chance to record a three-track CD with Chris Judge, as well as receiving a £250 cash prize.
Runner-up Kyle wins £100, Ashleigh £50 and both will also have the chance to record with VoiceJam.