THERE was so much talent at this year's Riverside Plaza Star Search that the judges had to introduce wildcards for the first time ever.
A total of 24 junior and senior entries and two wildcards progressed to the grand final held on Saturday, October 5.
About 300 spectators gathered for the grand final which began with a performance by judge and former The Voice contestant Anthony Dellamarta.
Carwoola locals and former Australia's Got Talent contestants PhuZion also entertained the crowd with the first performance of their new single "Can't Nobody".
Riverside Plaza marketing manager Heidi Flaherty said she was amazed by the amount of talent in this year's competition.
"Myself and the judges were so impressed with the level of talent out there, their abilities and performance techniques were outstanding," she said.
"It's the first year we've introduced the wildcard. It became clear on the first day of heats that it was going to be really hard to choose the finalists so that's when we decided to have the wildcards."
The judges Mr Dellamarta, The Q's Stephen Pike and Impressions Dance and Fitness's Nikki Knieriem scored contestants on stage presence, appearance, technical ability and audience appeal.
Ms Flaherty said more than $2000 in gifts and vouchers were awarded to the place getters.
"This competition really allows kids to the chance to perform especially in front of a local audience, they receive feedback and see what other talent is out there," she said.
"It's something we really enjoy hosting.
"Congratulations to all the performers, keep working and keep practising because you never know what can happen in the future.
Our senior division winner was part of the class of 2009. She progressed and matured since then and has won."
It's won't be the last you see of the 2012 Riverside Plaza Star Search winners, they will return later in the year to be part of the "Santa's Arrival Concert" on Saturday, November 24.
2012 Riverside Plaza Star Search winners
Winner: Mikayla Brady, dancer
Runner-up: For Your Entertainment (Heidi Birkby and Jessica Potter), dancers
Judges' Encouragement Award: Llachlan Leake, singer, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz
Crowd Favourite: Nicholas Colquhoun, dancer, "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
Winner: Claudia Tetrault, singer, "At Last" by Etta James
Runner-up: Joshua Hackwill, saxophonist
Judges' Encouragement Award: Angus Murphy, singer/guitarist, "Come with Me" original song
Crowd Favourite: Samuel Broomby, singer/guitarist, "Titanium" by David Guetta featuring Sia