Super singer Jaimie Smithson closes in on the final of national talent contest
A SCHOOLGIRL is taking on top singers from across the country in a talent competition – and could appear live at London's O2 arena.
Jaimie Smithson, 11, of Hedon, is through to the area finals of the Open Mic UK competition – and just one step away from the national final at the O2.
Her mum Claire, 30, said: "When she was three, we bought her a toy microphone and she used to stand there and sing.
"From about six or seven, she sang in the Inmans Primary School talent show – they always look forward to her and put her on at the end."
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Jaimie has battled through two rounds already, wowing judges with her performances.
Claire said: "The first one was in September and she auditioned. Then she had to go into Leeds on Saturday and she sang Stooshe's Black Heart."
Jaimie stood out in a crowd of 20 under-16s at the regional heats and has now been invited to perform in the area final at Dewsbury town hall on Saturday, November 24.
She will once again be competing against people up to five years older than she is.
Claire said: "She's only 11 but she's always wanted to be a singer.
"She plays the guitar and she learnt the violin.
"She's very unassuming – she's one of these kids whose not bothered until she comes to the time she has to perform, then she freaks out."
Jaimie's favourite artists are Stooshe, Jessie J and boy band One Direction.
But her mum said she has a wide-ranging taste in music.
"She's quite poppy but she likes old stuff like The Beatles," Claire said.
"She's got a very powerful voice for a little girl – she can do musical theatre and pop but she's quite rocky as well.
"I wouldn't say it was an alternative voice but I wouldn't say she was traditional either."
Although Jaimie does not get nervous until the last minute, her mum finds sitting in the audience a stressful experience.
"She criticises herself to death the night before and the day she goes on stage but she always pulls it out of the bag," Claire said.
"I've forgotten every performance she's done because the adrenaline was pumping through my body.
"I always try to record it so I remember what she's done."
Jaimie could have a big performance lined up in Hull soon, although her mum was not able to talk about it in detail.
"Everyone who listens to her says wow," Claire said.
"I don't know where she gets it from," she said.
"It's one of those freak of nature things.
"I can't wait to hear her on stage next.
"We have to decide on the song next – its a difficult choice because she's so young and the competition is so hard."
Her mum knows it will be tough for Jaimie to compete with people much older than she is.
But the little girl has a plan for the future.
Claire said: "She said to me, 'I will go to university and take my guitar and then go travelling'.
"She's got it all planned out."
A spokesman for Open Mic UK wished all contestants the best of luck.
He said: "We are searching for an act that not only has the live ability to impress an audience and industry judges but an act that has the potential to become a professional recording artist.
"Acts that have made it are just one step away from performing at the best live music venue in the country."