Hundreds of applications, numerous auditions and countless power ballads culminated in one big night for finalists of the Wyndham Rising Stars competition.
There was a lot on the line for four of the area’s best songstresses who battled it out at Hotel 520, Hoppers Crossing, on Saturday night to win a scholarship valued at $25,000.
The Universal School of Music, in partnership with Wyndham council and Hotel 520, gave emerging young artists and singers the chance to showcase their talents and compete for prizes and kudos.
Benalla’s Amber King, the first contestant to take the stage, claimed top prize with her rendition of a Johnny Cash song followed by the Journey’s hit Open Arms.
Amber won a scholarship to attend the Point Cook-based Universal School of Music’s 12-month artist development program.
The competition’s youngest rising star Taylah Jade, 17, sang Rihanna’s Take a Bow and placed fourth.
Wildcard entry Monique Gheri placed third with a performance of a Beyonce song and Claudia Appaduray was second with an acoustic version of Emeli Sandé’s Read All About It.
All the contestants won prizes and the opportunity to hone their vocal skills with training at the music school.
Universal School of Music spokesman Steve Jaz said the event was a great success while providing opportunities for the young musicians.
“It was a great night; we had some amazing performances and great guest acts. This has been a great opportunity for Amber and it was good for all the contestants to see how other performers, who have actually gone through the school, have grown and developed.
“Our programs cover everything from business to musicianship training. .”
The Wyndham Rising Stars final night guests included singers Paige Spiers and Jaiid, band Direct Current, and 2012 The Voice Australia finalist and guest judge Jimmy Cupples.
– with Esther Lauaki