Bliss for Idol finalist a stage and audience

By Dawn Cohen

A stage and an expectant crowd of 800 is Julie Allen's ecstasy.

"I am more comfortable with a crowd of 800 than a room full of five," said the Ballina Idol finalist.

"It feels like I have landed where I am meant to be. It feels like a complete sense of self.

"Some people never experience that in their whole lives."

The single mother from Lennox Head will be in bliss at the Ballina Idol grand final on Friday night, because standing room only crowds are expected.

After eight heats and three semi-finals, more than 100 hopefuls have been whittled down to just 13 competitors, who hail from Grafton to Mullumbimby.

"The talent has been absolutely fantastic," said Ballina businessman Gary Fox, who will judge the final along with music teacher and performer Susie Teys, singer Karen priest and Windsong Records chief Mal Stekhoven-Smith.

While $10,000 in cash and prizes will be dished out, Ms Allen is not focused on winning.

"Entertaining is what I love," the 30-year-old youth worker said. "I just want people to have a great time, whether they are laughing or moved to tears.

"If I won, I would just laugh, because there are so many amazing singers competing."

The winner's prize of an eight-hour recording session with Heaven Studios has the potential to fulfill Ms Allen's deepest hope ? a career on the stage.

Mr Stekhoven-Smith will be also scouting for local talent.

The show starts at 7.30pm at the Ballina RSL Club. Entry is by donation of $2 or more.



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