SHE’S used to busking in Portsmouth city centre, with shoppers offering a few spare pennies for her performances.
But this weekend thousands of eyes will be on Millie Hopkins as she takes centre stage at the O2 in London.
The 19-year-old folk singer will be taking on the cream of up-and-coming talent from across the country in the UK’s biggest music competition, Open Mic.
Her incredible run in the contest started after her dad Martin spotted an online advert for auditionees.
More than 10,000 musicians auditioned nationwide, with Millie working her way through the rounds to reach the south coast final and now the competition’s grand final, which was won four years ago by chart-topping teenager Birdie.
Millie will now have the opportunity to win a recording contract, a publicity package and 100-date tour.
‘I am petrified!’ said Millie, who lives in Hulbert Road, Bedhampton, and whose musical inspirations include Fleetwood Mac. ‘I never thought I would get this far.
‘I only entered because my dad suggested it and I thought it would be a laugh.’
Nervous she may be, but Millie knows her nerves will melt away when she gets on stage and performs a cover of Halo, by Beyonce, and a song she wrote called Take My Hand.
‘You get up there and forget the crowd are there,’ she said. ‘You have to enjoy yourself.’
There are two other finalists from this area – Warblington School student Mollie Scott, 13, from Havant, and four-part vocal group MELO from Park Gate. MELO is made up of a group of 17-year-old former students at Brookfield Community School in Sarisbury Green, Molly Scott, Emily Stewart, Olivia Tambini and Kelly Childs.
The final takes place on Saturday in front of a capacity crowd and a judging panel, including legendary Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale and singer Shola Ama.
As well as trying to impress the judges, the winner will be decided by a public text vote throughout this week.
Visit openmicuk.co.uk/national_vote for details.