ENTERTAINMENT — 16 June 2014

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By Shelley Marsden

A Liverpool lad with dreams of stardom has got a resounding ‘yes’ from judges to make it to the final of the Teenstar competition.

Shea Michael Doolin, 16, who attends Hillside School in Bootle and is an active member of the Liverpool-Irish community, has beaten some 10,000 young hopefuls to reach the grand final of the Teenstar competition, specifically for teens and pre-teens.

Having got through an initial audition, a first regional round, then the North of England and Scotland final, he will perform at the grand final in Birmingham’s huge NEC stadium on July 19, with the hope of becoming the next big recording star.

Shea’s proud mum Leann told the Irish World that, bar a few performances at St Michael’s Irish Centre, she had no idea Shea could even sing before he got up with his guitar and performed at a school concert last Christmas.

“He was just brilliant!” she said. “When we got home, I typed ‘singing competitions’ into Google and up popped Teenstars, so we decided to put him forward for it.”

Though nerves nearly got the better of Shea in his first audition (he got up on stage initially and said, ‘I can’t do this’), he gave a great performance.

Said Leann: “I had knots in my stomach…I was actually preparing the speech in my head, that we were proud of him and he’d done his best when he came out and said ‘Mum, I’ve got through!’”

From there, he performed Demons by Imagined Dragons at the first regional round, at which his parents and some of Shea’s Dublin dad’s friends were out in force, waving their Irish flags.

At the next heat in Manchester, Shea was better prepared, his parents having got him a vocal coach, and revealed much more confidence on stage.

“He sang James Blunt’s Bonfire Heart, and at that point he commanded the stage and the judges were blown away, really”, said Leann. “He got a standing ovation and people outside asking for his autograph, which he was pretty chuffed about.”

Now he’s preparing for the grand final, which his grandparents, aunties and uncles will all be making the trip over for from Dublin.

In between practising for the big day – and revising for his GCSEs – the young singer has been on local radio, done a couple of gigs in Irish bars in Liverpool and is quietly beginning to get a name for himself.

Shea, who describes his style as along the lines of his favourite indie bands Oasis and Arctic Monkeys, didn’t expect to get to the final but always knew that he would get something from the experience.

“I’ve already been offered gigs and met lots of people in the music industry, which is great. Whether I win it or not, I’ve already benefited loads from it and I know I’ll have tried my best”, he said.

It’s been a lot of hard work too: “I’ll not lie – it’s tough, because I’ve got my exams at the same time so I’ve constantly been doing something – either practising songs or revising.”

The promising singer confessed he isn’t sure yet what he’ll be performing on the day, but has a few ideas in mind – including the possibility of showcasing some original material.

He said: “I might sing one of my own songs, which you’re allowed to do and I’ve been playing about, writing my own stuff for the past month or so. I’ll work on them and see how they come along.”

For more and to buy tickets to the final in Birmingham, see www.teenstarcompetition.co.uk.

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