Tonight 5 talented young acts will battle it out for the series title of Young Talent Time and a $100,000 prize.
They include solo vocalists, dance troupes and aerialists, with ages ranging from 8 – 17.
As host Rob Mills explains, the Grand Final represents a high for everyone involved.
“The team are very emotional, but they’re still as excited as they were (when they started). It’s the end of the series. They’ve all worked so hard and gone through everything together and it’s culminating in this first series finale,” he says.
“There are some incredible performances throughout the evening. There’s Ricki-Lee, Jack Vidgen.
“Lyndall and Adrien dance with Chucky and it’s phenomenal.
“You get to see how far they’ve come from when we first met them in October last year.”
“The best thing about the show was that it continued to grow across the series. It’s not a bought UK or US format.
“I suppose it’s a bit of a luxury owning the format. I’m hoping we get the opportunity to come back even stronger.”
In the brutal world of television it isn’t yet clear if the talent show will return. The network is yet to make any decisions and sources indicate it is considering other business models to address the show’s costs.
“There’s uncertainty about whether the show is coming back and the kids don’t know that either. Nobody knows,” Mills admits.
Despite a flashy network launch and generous reviews for Mills, the resident team and the contestants, the audience drifted from the show. It was moved to Friday nights where it attracted only 342,000 last week.
“I think it was a good fit for Sunday nights, but it was good on Fridays and I think it would be good on a Saturday. Anywhere in that family friendly time,” he says.
“We put in 110% and had such a good time. You can see it in the faces of everyone involved.
“I see no reason why there can’t be a show that bridges the gap between Hi-5 and The X Factor. There’s a huge gap and a big market for it. Maybe I’m too close to it, but the people I meet tell me how wonderful the show is and it’s the only show they can sit around and watch as a family.”
By contrast other talent shows such as The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent have performed well for Nine and Seven. Was YTT‘s biggest challenge a lack of drama that is now so embedded in the genre?
“Those shows are trying to sell records at the end, with record companies and publishers involved. But these are great kids who enjoy showing off their singing and dancing talents. We’re not trying to sell anything, we’re just saying ‘hey check this out’ and doing it with a smile instead of trying to do it with drama.
“Maybe audiences have changed over the years, but I still think there’s a massive market for positivity.”
Regardless of the outcome Mills is grateful for the opportunity and speaks warmly of the 10 performers he has come to befriend.
“I said to them ‘Always call me if you ever have any questions about the industry or you just need to chat.’
“We’ve created a bit of a bond, they’re like my little brothers and sisters.”
Tash, 17, NSW.
PERFORMANCE GENRE: Singer/Pianist
GRAND FINAL SONG: Crazy Dreams (original track)
Mark, 17, NSW.
PERFORMANCE GENRE: Aerialist
GRAND FINAL SONG: I’m Kissing You – Romeo & Juliet Soundtrack
Georgia, 15, NSW.
PERFORMANCE GENRE: Vocal
GRAND FINAL SONG: Starships – Nicki Minaj
Lil’ Banditz Krew, 8-15, NSW.
PERFORMANCE GENRE: Dance
GRAND FINAL SONG: Performing to Medley – Battlewalk (Wade Robson), Imma Be (Black Eyed Peas), Baby (Justin Bieber), What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction), Yeah (Chris Brown)
Amanuael, 11, Vic.
PERFORMANCE GENRE: Vocal
GRAND FINAL SONG: You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me – Cher
Young Talent Time: Grand Final airs 7pm Friday on TEN.