KIRKBY girl band Bella did Ashfield proud on Saturday by putting on a storming performance at the grand final of the Open Mic UK 2011 competition at London’s O2 Arena.
The talented trio of Jessica Heap (17), Lucy Allen (22) and Lizzie Parsons (17) sang their version of the Oasis classic ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ and were met with thunderous applause and cheering from the packed-out crowd.
But both the first prize of a recording contract worth up to £30,000 and the runner-up position went to rap artists from London, with the judges on the night seeming to prefer the hip-hop and rap genres to pop and other singing styles.
However the girls said that they had an ‘amazing’ experience and really enjoyed performing at such a prestigious venue.
Said Lucy: “We were quite nervous at the beginning but as soon as we got into the second half of the song we really got into it and it was just fantastic.”
Bella impressed judges during their regional final with their performance of the Oasis song and at the O2 they were again praised for their original take on the track.
The trio had been rehearsing hard, practising both the singing and the performance, for which they adopted a more edgy image than usual.
And though they did not win the contest, their hard work was rewarded with a tremendous reaction from the audience - including a bus-load of fans from Mansfield and Ashfield.
“We had a good fan base there and had the biggest cheer, which was really something,” said Lucy.
“The atmosphere was just fantastic - it was amazing.”
Elaine Guy, Bella’s vocal coach, said: “The whole place was talking about them and said what a strong presence they had.
“They were real ambassadors for Ashfield and what an achievement to get to sing at the O2.”
The group said they were really thankful for the support they have had from local people and the experience has left them wanting to perform more and make Bella more successful.
“We are not going to give up just because we didn’t win,” said Lucy.
“We are going to do some more tracks, enter more competitions and put on our own concerts as well.”
They are also hoping that they will have caught the eye of one of the record producers in the O2 crowd and plan to send off demos to record companies themselves.