Jamie was our first Instant Star, but could you be the next one?

Jamie Riley was the first Instant Star winner in 2007
Jamie Riley was the first Instant Star winner in 2007
Victor Ariat

Smooth sailing for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

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JAMIE Riley was the winner of The News’ first ever Instant Star competition seven years ago, and the talented singer and actor is now on the cusp of the big time.

Back in 2007, as a talented 15-year-old Jamie, from Portsmouth, wowed the judges with his performance of old swing-era classics.

And there is still time to follow in his footsteps – the deadline to enter this year’s Instant Star contest is midnight tomorrow.

The winner will get the chance to perform at the Children in Need gala show at the Kings Theatre in Southsea on November 9, the switching on of the city centre Christmas lights and The Guide and We Can Do It awards shows.

The 22-year-old, who now lives in London where he has been studying at the East 15 Acting School, said: ‘It’s gone so fast.

‘I remember the Instant Star audition well. I walked into the hall and I was very, very nervous.

‘My dad took me because I knew I wanted to audition for drama school at some point in the future, so I wanted to go to this as practice.

‘I never expected to win – it was quite a shock. It was a good year for me, that one.’

Jamie is now starting his third year of studies and last year one of his fellow students was Oscar winner Colin Firth’s son.

‘Colin Firth would come along to our productions to see his son,’ said Jamie. ‘I must admit I didn’t get to speak to him much, but he was very down to earth and easy to talk to.’

Jamie has recently released an EP of dance-pop called Circus, and is working on an album. He gigs whenever he can. He added: ‘I don’t think I could choose between singing and acting.

‘I would like to have a singing career while I’m young, as pop and the music I want to do is more of a young person’s game’.

Entrants can be of any age and we’ll consider any kind of variety act – singing, dancing, magic, comedy or anything else – but it has to be suitable for a family audience.

To register for Instant Star, e-mail features@thenews.co.uk with your name, address, age and contact numbers plus a description of your act.

Put INSTANT STAR in the subject field.

Auditions take place at The Cellars in Eastney on Wednesday, October 8.

Please arrive from 6pm for soundchecks, with auditions from 7pm.

All entrants must register in advance.

The closing date for entries is midnight on Thursday, October 2.

HOW TO ENTER

To register for Instant Star, e-mail features@thenews.co.uk with your name, address, age and contact numbers plus a brief description of your act. Put INSTANT STAR in the subject field. We’ll then give you an entry number so you can perform on the audition night - Wednesday, October 8. If you have a video, upload it to YouTube and include the URL link in your e-mailed entry. We may then put it on our website.

At the audition children will be seen first. We’ll ask you to do two minutes, then judges will confer and pick a winner/winners. Please make sure you’re available on November 9 and in the days beforehand, as you may be called for rehearsals.

Entrants can be of any age and we’ll consider any kind of variety act, but it has to be suitable for a family audience.

Musicians should perform acoustic sets only and we’re restricting bands to a maximum of four people.

Dancers may bring a CD backing track to perform to. Closing date for entries is midnight on Thursday, October 2.