Gemma edged out by Claire’s shimmy

WAS it the sexy shimmy that gave Callan sultry, Claire Henriques the edge in the final of the Stars Of The Night contest in Langton’s Set on Sunday night? She had the crowd in the aisles gyrating with her sizzling rendition of Gloria by Laura Brannigan,

WAS it the sexy shimmy that gave Callan sultry, Claire Henriques the edge in the final of the Stars Of The Night contest in Langton’s Set on Sunday night? She had the crowd in the aisles gyrating with her sizzling rendition of Gloria by Laura Brannigan,

Even the younger members of the audience who were there to cheer on Jedward (Alan Hayes and Fionn Gardiner) were caught up in her whirlwind and were doing their best to impersonate her shimmy but couldn’t.

It was all in good fun and the real winners on the night were the three charities which benefited b from the event: The Susie Long Hospice Fund, The Hope Foundation and the Kilkenny Kats Special Olympics Club.

It also marked the first time on stage of a new, emerging talent who might even manage to overshadow the brilliant Claire Henriques in time to come. Gemma Brennan was breathtaking as Amy Winehouse doing her take on the hit Valerie. Blessed with a fantastic, raunchy, bluesy voice, she almost, literally, stole the show and was judged runner-up much to her own surprise. If this opening salvo into the world of entertainment is anything to go by, Gemma will be a headline act shortly. Another newcomer to the stage, Michelle Power, at just 18 years g of age was excellent and received a rave review form judge and former Engine Alley front man, Canice Kenealy.

Fionn Gardner from Thomastown and Alan Hayes from the city wowed judges as ‘Jedward’ – but unlike the pop sensations – the Kilkenny youngsters were as one of the judges said, actually able to sing. The duo donned matching bright pink and green costumes and the trademark Jedward hairdos for an energetic performance of Lipstick.

Green councillor Malcolm Noonan swapped the Corporation robes for the stage with his rendition of a Bob Dylan classic, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright for the Susie Long Hospice Fun . Also representing the hospice fund were Arthur Drohan and Tom Kennedy. Arthur, who is best known for keeping the pints flowing in Ryan’s Bar, Friary Street lit up the stage with Everybody Needs somebody to Love from the film, The Blues Brothers. Jake and Elroy would have been proud of him and he really had fun with the blues number.. Tom, Kennedy who admits to being a Spice Girl fan, sang Billy Bragg’s Between the Wars and drew a great response from the crowd.

Tony Power, Michelle’s father, got into the swing of things with the Gareth Brooks hit, Friends in Low Places and even had the cowboy hat on to hide his curls.

Culture Club, made up of Boy George look alike Gerry Gardiner and Steve Van Roon were a great laugh and proved they could sing with great harmonies on Karma Chameleon.

There was no sign of Simon Cowell or Louis Walsh but former Kilkenny Rose Orla O’Shea, Kilkenny People deputy editor Sean Keane and music man Canice Kenealy were judges.

The Susie Long Hospice Fund (SLHF) was set up in October 2007 to provide the highest possible quality of end-of-life care for patients and their families through the establishment of a 12-bed hospice in Kilkenny, for the people of Kilkenny and Carlow.

The Fund is meeting this challenge through fundraising, increasing awareness of the need and benefits of local hospice care and by lobbying Government for support. Donations can be made directly to the fund at AIB, High St, Kilkenny, Account No: 3462705, Sort code: 93-31-98. The Susie Long Hospice Fund is a registered charity, number CHY17950.