January 30, 2013
The search for the best new corporate event act in the UK kicked off in earnest at Cafe de Paris last night as a selection of fantastic performers went head to head in the first round of the Next Big Thing. The acts needed the approval of both the judging panel – consisting of Haymarket Events' Jo Pilston, Cafe de Paris Sales Director Andrew Birnie and the positively villainous Adam Sternberg – and the audience who were each given an electronic voting device to allow them to have their say.
And-hey! Is that Rob Whitworth? Yes it is. But doesn’t he work for Sternberg-let me interrupt you there. Yes, Sternberg Clarke team member and aspiring Stand-Up comic Rob brought his velvet smooth delivery and all-round-decent-guy persona along to the event and it seemed a shame not to use it in some sort of hosting capacity. So with the show’s Dermott O’Leary in place along with its Louies Walsh (because who’d want to be any of the other ones?) all that was missing were the acts.
Alex McAleer kicked things off with an intriguing display of magic and mentalism that brought two members of the audience up on stage to help show off his mind reading prowess. Ploughing a similarly magic furrow was Oliver Meech whose show ‘Original Magic’ made use of Oliver’s ‘mad scientist’ persona and incorporated a few innovative stage tricks into proceedings.
The Bellinis gave some modern hits a vintage twist before cabaret pianist Katie Clarke performed a lively version of Bumblebee Boogie. Cello and piano duo Y2quared won plenty of admirers with a virtuosic performance of Kapustin Burlesque that’s sure to get them some interest from the events bookers in the room despite their failure to make it through the heat.
Sadly, only two acts could make it through to the next round and both the audience and the judges were in agreement as to who those two would be. Vocal Harmony quartet Penny Arcade endeared themselves to the crowd with their schoolboy-ish charms and their knowingly winky song choice; a playful mash-up of The Bee Gee’s Staying Alive and Destiny’s Child’s Survivor. Folk ensemble The Salts brought a raucous, ramshackle energy to their set that made them stand apart from the rest of the contestants and they were rewarded with a place in the next stage of the competition.
Take a look at a voideo from the event below
PowerVote (who supplied the voting technology), Confex organisers UBM, Event Magazine, the team at Cafe de Paris and everyone who attended for making the event a success. The final of the competition will take place at ExCel London during International Confex (19th-21st of March) so keep an eye on the Confex websitefor all the latest on the competition.
See more pictures from the evening on The Next Big Thing Facebook Page