2012 Drive Factor gets hotter - audition voting begins tonight

Drive Factor judges, from left, Ronnie Brolly, Rikki T and Michael Doherty. (2911PG51)

Drive Factor judges, from left, Ronnie Brolly, Rikki T and Michael Doherty. (2911PG51)

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The award-winning Drive 105.3fm radio, ‘your voice, your community, your station’, will broadcast ‘The Drive Factor Auditions’ this Friday evening starting at 7.30pm, so tune in or listen online at www.drivefm.com - and cast your vote.

This event is brought to you in association with main donors and sponsors of the £3,000 cash prize, the ‘Taxi Co’, and media partners, the Derry Journal, and to give you a flavour of this evening’s show who better to chat to than the host and judges.

Host and compere for ‘The Auditions’ at the live recording in the Tower Hotel before Christmas was once again well-known multi-talented local man Mickey Wilson, certainly no stranger to the entertainment circuit both in the city and further afield.

Speaking after the auditions, Mickey said: “I have always been of the opinion that there is a wealth of talent in the north west and ‘The Drive Factor’ auditions proved just that. We had a great mix of people, an excellent selection of songs, a lovely audience and an entertaining day. I would applaud all those who entered, it is not an easy task for the most experienced performer to go on to a stage and sing a verse and chorus with no backing, yet that’s exactly what each person did and they all performed brilliantly.”

Ronnie Brolly is one of the competition’s judges, representing main donors of the radio station ‘The Taxi Co’, who are also the sponsors of the cash prize of £3,000.

Speaking on why The Taxi Co continue to be involved with Drive 105.3fm, Ronnie said: “’The Taxi Co. wants to continue to give something back to the community which continues to support them and they still feel that the best way to do this is to continue to be a donor of the local community radio station. That way we are putting something back into the community we serve. ‘The Taxi Co’ are delighted to be putting up the £3,000 cash prize. In these times everyone is feeling the pinch so we believed a cash prize would be much more beneficial and the winner can choose exactly how they wish to spend the cash.”

Representing Drive 105.3fm local lady Eileen Warren (Alias Rikki T) said: “I am thrilled to be back in the judging seat once again this year, I enjoyed the experience so much last year it was very hard work but also very rewarding. ‘The Drive Factor’ has opened up a whole new world for me, those auditioning for the competition were wonderful. At this stage I would just like to congratulate all those who entered the competition. You are all brilliant in my mind, but unfortunately there can only be one winner, so do tune in on Friday evenings, select your winner and give them your vote.”

Entertainer Mickey Doherty said he was delighted and excited to be once again on the judging panel. “Last year at times it was the most exhilarating experience of my life, whilst at other times the sparks were flying amongst the judges! 2011 was a tough competition, but I see this year as even tougher if the auditions are anything to go on. The talent in the city is second to none. The auditions were awesome once again, it was just one brilliant day with people from the city just taking the stage and giving it their all. Congratulations to one and all.”

And now to the all important public vote. For this the first week of the competition ‘the Auditions Broadcast’ voting lines will open at 10pm tonight Friday evening and remain open until noon on Monday, January 16, 2012. All you have to do is listen in tonight to the auditions and select the person you want to vote for. Each finalist will have their own number which will remain the same throughout the competition. Then simply text the word DRIVE followed by a space and that number to 70099. Votes cast before these times will not be counted but may be charged. Twenty-five finalists will start out in the competition.

Thanks to our media partners, the Derry Journal, who have kindly agreed once again to support the ‘2012 Drive Factor’ so the finalists and their all important voting numbers will appear in both Tuesday and Friday’s Journals. The Journal will also feature photographs from the four heats plus a special feature in the lead up to the Grand Final at the Millennium Forum.

Do remember to tell your friends, family and extended family from the city to tune into Drive 105.3fm and for those living outside the city also remind them that they can listen online at: www.drivefm.com

Book your seat now for the final - tickets are on sale from the Millennium Forum Box Office. Telephone: 71. 264455.