George first in line as hopefuls face judgment day

By Kiri Gillespie

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They sang, they juggled, they danced and strummed. But only one hopeful had been at at Baycourt Theatre yesterday since 10am.

Tauranga Intermediate student George Hiku was so keen to ensure a spot in the local auditions for reality show New Zealand's Got Talent that he and his family braved the cold all day before auditions started at 4pm.

Hundreds lined the footpath and braved the cold for their chance at 15 minutes of fame, and at the head of the queue was George.

Dressed in shirt, vest and tie, the Tauranga Intermediate student planned to sing I'll Be There from the Jackson 5.

George said he chose the song because "it springs me up", and because Michael Jackson was cool.

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Flanked by his family who waited all day with him, George said he was both nervous and excited about performing in front of talent scouts.

"I hope they say something like 'I'm speechless'."

George's father Shane Hiku said he didn't mind waiting it out for his son, who was in the school choir and kapahaka groups.

"No, it's all good. It's all for him," Mr Hiku said.

Mr Hiku was joined by George's uncle and sister. They took turns guarding the placement, letting George wait inside when it got too cold, Mr Hiku said.

"We just hung out, practiced, went and got some BK and brought it back," Mr Hiku said.

George's mother Merle Hiku had been in Tauranga Hospital up until yesterday.

She said she was discharged especially so she could be with her boy for his big audition.

"So I thank the doctor at the hospital for allowing me out."

Tauranga City Council event delivery manager Penny Mitropoulos said she was surprised to see George and his family at 10am "because every other venue they haven't had a line-up like this so early".

"He'd just be waiting there. I wouldn't move.

"They'd go get him a drink and more clothes."

By about lunchtime others began to arrive.

Further down the line, Shannon Avery looked after chairs and a suitcase for her son Sonny Avery, who auditioned with a clown act titled The Amazing Tight-rope Walk.

"He's been pretty excited and practising for the last couple of weeks," Ms Avery said.

In one of the three audition rooms, Waihi's Caron Clay sang Nights in White Satin with her guitar and amp.

Ms Clay said she normally sang while tending to her 50 guinea pigs.

Talent scout Loretta Jacobs said there had been a huge turnout from Tauranga.

"It has been going really, really well with amazing diversity and a range of incredibly talented singers."

Ms Jacobs said they were looking for variety and it would be difficult picking who will eventually go through at the end of the auditions.

People who auditioned were expected to hear from organisers of the show by June 18 whether they made it through to the next level.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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