And the Next Big Thing is - the final

Music fans are a step closer to finding out who will be this year's Next Big Thing following a blistering set of performances in the competition's semi-finals.

Music fans are a step closer to finding out who will be this year's Next Big Thing following a blistering set of performances in the competition's semi-finals.

Twelve acts sang and played their hearts out over the two semi-finals at the Norwich Arts Centre, making the judges' decision on which eight would go on to the final extremely difficult.

All nine judges cast their votes for their favourite bands and the results were collated to find the four acts from each night who will compete at UEA in the final on Sunday, November 18.

At Saturday night's semi-finals, the bands chosen to go through were young Norwich six-piece Ten Ten-Tackles, 16-year-old Norwich singer/songwriter Rory Hill, folk rock five-piece Graffiti Sun and singer/songwriter Alex Carson. Sadly Kunk and Canine Feline missed out.

The Sunday semi-finals saw modern rock band Fortune Rookie, energetic punk Indie band Icenis, four-piece Indie pop band The Kabeedies and 16-year-old performer Tom Cox impress the judging panel to go through.

However, Big John and Edendale Tyson did not get through.

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David Powles, one of the event's judges, said: “We were really pleased with the quality over both nights and it was a really hard decision who should go through.

“We think we have picked eight fresh, innovative and entertaining acts for the final. I just can't wait to see them on stage at the UEA. It should be a great night.”

The eight acts are all in with a chance of winning a superb package of prizes on the night of the final, including a single release by Norwich label NR One records, £1,000 of advice and guidance from Steeles specialist music solicitors and two days' recording time will be given by Purple Studios.

There will also be a guaranteed support slot for a big name band at the UEA or Waterfront and free hair cuts from salon Kinki.

One of the youngest performers, Rory Hill, will be playing as a solo artist in the finals as well as with his band The Kabeedies.

The 16-year-old said: “I was quite impressed with the bands; they were much better this year. I was also really pleased that Ten Ten-Tackles got through.”

t ?Tickets for final, which cost £5, are on sale from the EDP offices at Prospect House in Rouen Road and in Millennium Plain, opposite the Forum. They are also available online from the EDP website at www.edp24.co.uk, or by calling 01603 772175. A credit card booking fee may apply.

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