March 13, 2012
Day 2 of Confex saw us edge closer to finding out who was going to be this year's Next Big Thing. Following the drama, the passion and the natty waistcoat combos from Day 1, we had another group of acts all hoping to make it through to the final on the third day of Confex.
After cruising through the heats at Alphabet City a few weeks ago, Poppy Jones and her band brought her strident brand of muscular folk-rock to Confex with a stirring performance. But though she's earned herself a number of fans on the way to Confex (our own Sophie McCarthy is particularly smitten) Poppy and the boys failed to convince the crowd that she's going to set the Corporate Events world on fire.
Immediately showcasing the variety of acts that The Next Big Thing has attracted, The IT Girls shimmied and sauntered onto the stage wearing considerably less than Poppy to perform their routine based on that most contentious of Corporate Event Entertainment genres - Burlesque. Though they turned plenty of heads, the predominantly female judging panel were unimpressed and a slightly flustered Mr Sternberg was too polite to really say much of anything.
Martial Arts/Stunt Magic hybrid The Black Shadow certainly made a strong entrance, appearing on stage in full Ninja robes with a sword and his act - in which a board of nails is hammered into his chest by another Ninja - was certainly impressive, but thanks to slightly muddled execution and the puzzling inclusion of an attractive female host/commentator, the sun went down on the Shadow at Confex.
Contemporary Dancer Simone showed a great deal of nerve coming on stage directly after The Black Shadow - and now just because of the sword. Simone's act was refreshingly gimmick free and displayed honest to goodness talent in a pleasantly un-fussy manner. Her free-style dance display combined a plethora of influences and was impressive enough to earn her a place in the final.
Harpist, Singer and guitarist Iona Thomas made another strong showing in the Semi Final following a break-out performance at Event Magazine's Christmas Party last year. Her curious mix of singer song-writer sensibilities with her multi-tasking musicianship on the electric harp had both judges and audience eager to see more from her in the final which allowed Iona to ease her way through to the last day of Confex.
Check back for the results from the Final of the Next Big Thing at International Confex 2012.