Thirteen talented young men and women from the UAE will vie for the title of Best of the Best in the solo vocal and dance categories in the grand finale of The Best of the Best — Season 3, to be held at The Modern High School on December 6.

The winners in each category will receive a cash prize of Dh10,000 and the Best Solo Vocalist will get the opportunity to record a song with well-known UAE based producer Barry Kirsh.

The competition, organised by Gems World Academy, attracted over 3,000 participants of all nationalities.

"This is the biggest contest of its kind in the UAE and in the previous two seasons we have uncovered some wonderful talents. But this year is absolutely amazing. Most of the contestants had great potential and unlike American Idol and other reality TV shows, we hardly had any bad singers or dancers," says event director Kevin Oliver.

The finalists, selected after three rounds of auditions, belong to different nationalities and schools, but they all share a love for music and dance. "My ambition is to perform in musicals in the West End or Broadway and after my A-levels next year I want to study in a performing arts college in the UK," says Emily Burns.

"But getting admission requires me to fly to the UK for numerous auditions. Winning the Dh10,000 prize will make that easier and help me achieve my dream," says the 16-year-old Briton.

For Jill Clariz del Rosario, from the Philippines, the contest was an opportunity to improve her talent for singing and to make new friends. "I have learnt to be disciplined about my diet and singing practice. I am happy to be in the finals and want to make my parents proud of me," she says.

Challenge

Sonia Gathmann Gonzales admits that the whole experience is exciting but scary. "I have always performed along with my sisters. Taking part in this solo singing competition has been a challenge and has helped to build my confidence," says the Japan-born youngster of Spanish, German and Venezuelan origin.

Dance enthusiast Imran Ullah is looking forward to performing at the final gala evening. "I love break dancing and this contest has given me a chance to show my dancing skills and stunts to everyone," says the 13-year-old from Afghanistan.

Brazilian Eider Carlos welcomed the opportunity to interact with other dancers. "I have always enjoyed dancing and have learned all my moves by watching television. It was great to meet so many different people and watch different styles of dance and get valuable feedback from the judges," says Eider.

Guidance

The young men and women are working hard to polish their performances and their look for the big day with the guidance of professional dance and vocal teachers and stylists.

"For me, song selection is the most difficult part of the competition, because the right song can make all the difference," says Kamala Ram, who was also a finalist in season two.

"The contest helps you to find the best in yourself and stretch yourself to the limit. I love the adrenaline rush when you are on stage with the spotlight on you and I hope it will be second time lucky for me," says the 17-year-old Indian.

Besides the 13 contestants, the entertainment of the evening will include performances by Dubai-based music group El Ninos, season-one winner Jeremy Johnson and DJ Rohan.

Did you know?

The Best of the Best, Season 3, presented by GEMS World Academy, is a GEMS Arts production directed by Kevin Oliver.

The competition was first staged in 2003 with 15-year-old Jeremy Johnson outshining 11 talented finalists to become The Best of the Best solo vocalist.

Josephine Kiernan, 16, the winner in 2005, is currently studying theatre and music in the US.

A solo dance category has been introduced in season three of the competition this year.

The event

What: Grand Finale of the Best of the Best — Season Three solo vocal and dance competition.
When: Thursday, December 6, from 7.30pm
Where: The Modern High School, Dubai
Entry is by invitation only. Call 04-3477770 for invitations.