THE FIRST hopefuls have been picked for the Dorset’s Got Talent Final.

Dozens of people turned up to audition for the competition which is raising funds for Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

The auditorium at Weymouth College was hushed as hopefuls took to the stage to audition in front of a panel of judges.

Dorset’s Got Talent, backed by the Dorset Echo, aims to find a star. The winner will receive £500 cash, donated by the Hive Beach Café, and a family holiday at Freshwater Beach, where the final will take place on Saturday, March 15.

Following the first audition, hopefuls returned to Weymouth College in the evening to face the audience vote and the judging panel.

The top two acts with the biggest audience vote, instantly went through to the final and out of the next top two, the judges had to pick their favourite.

Weymouth’s hopefuls are all singers. The audience chose to put through Suzi Brown, who sang ‘Valerie’, a hit made famous by Amy Winehouse; Avonia Hovard, 17, and Mike Walsh, 19, performed an acoustic version of Rihanna’s hit ‘We Found love.’ Avonia sang and Mike played guitar and beat-boxed. The judges put through Noel Chilton after hearing his rendition of classical hit Nessun Dorma.

The Echo spoke to Avonia and Mike after their audition. Avonia said she was shaking after finding out they had got through to the semi final.

Mike said: “I’m really happy. I love playing and gigging.”

Watch the Weymouth audition video featuring Avonia and Mike below:

Three more hopefuls will go through from heats at Charlton Down and Bridport- but judges said there could be a wildcard entry for the final.

So far the judges said the standard had been very high. The contest is open to dancers, singers, musicians, acrobats and magicians – in fact anyone of any age doing anything.

Drew Baker, the entertainment's manager for Freshwater Beach holiday park said: “It’s been really good.

“The standard has been very high and it’s definitely set the bar for the rest of the competition.”

Mr Smith said that if the rest of the competition carried on as it had begun they could find the next big thing.

He said: “It was a really good day, we were really pleased.

“We were just astounded by the level of talent.”

The next auditions are at Charlton Down village hall this Saturday. Acts can register and get more information about the contest via talent