Louis Walsh rolled into town last Friday night for the annual Portadown’s Got Talent show.
X Factor judge, Louis, took time out of his hectic showbiz schedule to meet each of the 12 finalists before the competition kicked off, giving them some tips and pointers for their performances.
The Irish celebrity, who has managed bands like Boyzone, Westlife and Girls Aloud, even had time to catch up with his old friend, Boyzone member Shane Lynch, who rejoined the panel of judges for a second year in a row.
“I’m excited to be here!” Louis exclaimed before the show began. “The talent was really good! I was totally surprised.”
The final 12 acts were an eclectic mix, featuring singers and dancers galore, and each had the opportunity to meet Louis in the town’s Millennium Court on Friday afternoon. Eager to catch a glimpse of Portadown’s talented folk for himself, Louis asked each act to show him a snippet of their performance, and gave them well wishes for the competition.
“He was really, really nice,” voiced some excited performers from Pamela Cassells’ School of Performance, after their mentoring session.
The talent was really good! I was totally surprised.Louis Walsh
“We sang a section of our song and he said he really enjoyed it! He’s a very friendly guy.”
Portadown rang out with music and applause as the Plaza stage lit up for the stars on Friday evening, with actress and model Rachel Kennedy, Microlip’s keyboardist Neil Guy and actor/director Gerard McCabe joining Shane Lynch on the panel of judges.
Local singer-songwriter and YouTube sensation Emma Horan also took to the stage after being congratulated by Louis on her hard work and commitment to her passion for music.
Claiming victory on Friday night was the young group from Pamela Cassells’ School of Performance (PCSP), who wowed judges and the audience alike, with their take on the timeless classic ‘Annie’.
The PCSP Junior Group were up against 11 other acts - including their Senior Group counterparts from Pamela Cassells’ School of Performance - but scooped up the winner’s title with ease. The group was made up of 16 of Pamela’s students, all aged between 6 and 11.
Before leaving the town to appear at an awards ceremony in Belfast, the X Factor judge just had one complaint to make. “There were no country singers!” Louis exclaimed.
“I think it’s good for the whole community - for the young people - that you’re encouraging them to do this.”
Louis hinted at his plans for the future.
“I’m excited to be back in Ireland - living in Dublin again - and might be doing a show in the south called ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’.
“I am back to my old job as a manager - I’m going to find some new acts!”
Judging by his reaction to the dazzling Portadown performers, Louis may be back in the town to do some head-hunting very soon!
To see our video interview with Louis Walsh, go to the Portadown Times website at www.portadowntimes.co.uk.