Best of luck to all our Instant Star competitors

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FOR reasons that have more to do with luck than judgment, the only two public appearances by me as a guitar-playing singer were in Nashville, Tennessee and some years later in Clarksdale, Mississippi, home of the blues.

Both stage appearances were short lived and lacking in any tonal quality, with an edge of sympathy resonating through the polite applause from the audience.

So I take my hat off to the far more talented amateurs who will take to the stage in Portsmouth tonight.

They are competing in Instant Star, the annual talent contest organised by The News to find an act to appear in a special variety show at the Kings Theatre in Southsea in September.

As ever, the standard is very high this year.

Contestants will be aiming to emulate last year’s winner, 17-year-old Amy Tiller (pictured), who wowed judges with her acrobatic dance routine.

Tonight’s winner will take to the stage in the Song and Dance 2012 show that will open the Kings’ autumn season on Sunday, September 2. The fundraising event features professional and local talent and is being held in aid of the Kings Theatre Restoration Fund, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and cancer charity Kick It Into Touch.

Those performing include West End star Jack Edwards, the Kings Youth Theatre, Portsmouth Philharmonic, the Portsmouth Players - and our Instant Star or Stars.

All places at the auditions tonight -– kindly hosted again by the Salvation Army in Southsea – are booked and there is no admission at the door.

So rest assured, I won’t be turning up with my guitar!

Good luck to all those who are putting real talent on show. Full coverage in The News on Wednesday.