Singers take to the stage to prove their Bandeoke Factor

Choir appeal for new head

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ITS stage has hosted everyone from Oasis and Biffy Clyro to PJ Harvey and Paloma Faith.

But last night, the Wedgewood Rooms amped up the pub tradition of karaoke for an electrifying charity contest.

Winner Lewis Smith, 15, from Droxford, during his performance of Johnny B Goode Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-6520)

Winner Lewis Smith, 15, from Droxford, during his performance of Johnny B Goode Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-6520)

The inaugural Bandeoke Factor competition saw dozens of aspiring singers get their shot at stardom with backing from The Live Karaoke Band.

With around 250 songs spanning five decades to choose from, performers of all ages and abilities battled it out on the legendary Southsea stage in aid of The Rowans Hospice.

With the support Professional Music Technology Portsmouth, The Old Blacksmith’s Studios and Skylark Golf and Country Club, the band say that Bandeoke Factor is a ‘much more real’ opportunity for people to prove their abilities compared to X Factor-style talent shows.

Alistair Martin, who plays bass guitar in The Live Karaoke Band, said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to do this. We don’t often get the chance to do a public show so what better place to do it than a venue like the Wedgewood Rooms?’

The judges, Foxes drummer Ben Kennedy, left, and Cal Sanderson from Old Blacksmiths Studio

Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2685)

The judges, Foxes drummer Ben Kennedy, left, and Cal Sanderson from Old Blacksmiths Studio Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2685)

The audience sang their hearts out to the likes of Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and Amy Winehouse’s Valerie as they helped raise cash for The Rowans Hospice, which provides end-of-life care for people suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses.

Alistair said: ‘The hospice has done so many good things for many people. You never know when you’re going to be touched by an event which needs the support of such a fantastic charity which is so close to home.’

Ben Kennedy, drummer for pop sensation Foxes, and Old Blacksmith’s Studios engineer Cal Sanderson sat on the judging panel and deliberated who was worthy of securing themselves the grand prize of a professional recording session.

After a final sing-off against Julia Steele, 55, the judges eventually decided that 15-year-old Lewis Smith should lift the trophy, after a brilliant rendition of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode and Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger.

News reporter Danny Randon at Bandeoke Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2736)

News reporter Danny Randon at Bandeoke Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2736)

Lewis, from Droxford, said: ‘I’m buzzed, it was really enjoyable! I do play in a band but it was just a bit different getting to play with other musicians, so it was good fun.’

Judge Cal said: ‘Lewis is proper talented. He’s so young, and he’s so good.’

Fellow judge Ben agreed: ‘I reckon he’s got something, great stage presence, he can sing and he’s got the hunger to go out and play music.

‘To have that confidence as a 15-year-old is an incredible thing. I think he’s definitely one to watch.’

Julia Steele was in the sing-off with Lewis Smith

Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2764)

Julia Steele was in the sing-off with Lewis Smith Picture: Sarah Standing (161259-2764)