Shining Lights live up to the names

SIMON Cowell is that judge with high-waisted trousers on TV's X Factor talent show who makes the audience boo a lot because he tells cute little clone singers that they're actually 10-a-penny.

SIMON Cowell is that judge with high-waisted trousers on TV's X Factor talent show who makes the audience boo a lot because he tells cute little clone singers that they're actually 10-a-penny.

I've gathered that much about him from other sources, because the programme is always on at a time when I'm busy elsewhere.

His name came up in conversation with Katie Maidment and Jo Chandler, from the Aylsham-based Shining Lights young performers' group.

They've noticed a reluctance among some parents, and others in authority over young people, to tell it like it is when it comes to a child's abilities.


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But they believe children can take constructive criticism - and benefit from it, too.

Boys and girls have to get through an audition to join Shining Lights, and it includes proving that they've got that elusive X factor.

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And, even when they're in, Katie will tell them when their performance isn't good enough - sometimes three or four times during a rehearsal.

But, when they do well, she claps with delight and it's smiles all round. Jo reckons that's what makes Shining Lights kids reach the performance heights they achieve.

Contestants on The X Factor may simper and blush, and the audience may clap enthusiastically when the other judges come out with their encouraging blandishments.

But Jo says it's Cowell's words they want to hear because they know he's being completely honest, and so they value his opinion more than that of the other judges.

I've seen a couple of Shining Lights performances and can verify that the technique works. The children are obviously having a ball and put on a first-rate show.

But I note that the group wisely only takes children up to age 11.

I've yet to find my 15-year-old

rising to the challenge when I tell him he isn't trying and could do better.

There's a poster around that always makes me smile in pained recognition.

It reads: “Teenagers. Are you tired of being harassed by your stupid parents? Act now. Move out, get a job, and pay your own bills - while you still know everything.”

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