March 13, 2012
It's been a long road to ExCel for this year’s Next Big Thing Competition at Confex, especially long for those who have actually made it to the final having faced the judges multiple times on the way. Plenty of perfectly good (and perfectly bookable) acts have fallen by the wayside having failed to convince the Judging Panel that they're the going to shake things up in the Corporate Events Industry. (In the interest of balance, there've been a few stinkers too - but it'd be crude to name names)
Throughout the competition, Liz Lockard, Lynden Bulger and Adam "Mr Entertainment" Sternberg have been looking for an act that's not just good enough to be booked at events, but something genuinely new and exciting, something that will make the whole events industry sit up and take notice.
The difficulty is, people in the events industry tend to have been to an event or two, and in doing so, have seen their fair share of event entertainment. Singer-Guitarist Adam Duffield, Basketball Juggler Andrew Wilding, Dancer Simone and Singer Harpist/Guitarist Iona Thomas all managed to prove that they've got enough talent and individuality to make it through to the final of the competition but sadly only one could win. For the final time, Event Magazine Editor and host Jeremy King bounded onto the stage to introduce the finalists in front of a packed house at International Confex 2012.
Adam Duffield's warmth and charm had served him well to this point and his final performance provided more of the same in spades but he didn't do quite enough to stand out from the pack in spite of his obvious talent and boundless confidence. B-Ball manipulator Andrew Wilding certainly had novelty on his side, but his show lacked impact after repeated viewings. In spite of his defeat, Andrew can almost certainly expect a call from the Sternberg Clarke team as the Olympics get closer this summer... so, every cloud...
Freestyle contemporary dancer Simone has impressed the judges repeatedly throughout the competition but was ultimately unable to persuade the panel that she was the finished article.
In the end it was singer songwriter, harpist and guitarist Iona Thomas who emerged victorious, winning over audience and judges alike with her imaginative, heartfelt reworkings of popular songs and original material. (Incidentally, Singer, Songwriter, Harpist, Guitarist is next year's sequel to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) Iona has pocketed herself £1,000 in cash as well as a stall at Next Year's Confex and a yearlong contract with Sternberg Clarke.
Congratulations to Iona and commiserations to the runners up - Adam, Andrew and Simone as well as all the brilliant acts that have made The Next Big Thing such a success this year. We look forward to seeing all of these acts at events again in the future and if they take the Judges comments to heart, that could be sooner rather than later.
We'll have more from Iona in the next few days so check back soon.