SOAPSTAR Sam Kane's mission to find 'the next big thing' has led him to Brierley Hill.

The actor, radio presenter and talent scout was "surprised" by the level of talent on display during Wednesday's Search for a Star auditions.

Standards were so high that Sam faced some tough decisions as out of the 27 auditionees who took to the stage at Brierley Hill Civic Hall, only 12 could progress to the grand final to be in with the chance of scooping a cash prize.

However the former Brookside star was blown away when Dudley teenager Courtney Hill began to sing.

The 15-year-old performed two songs - At Last by Etta James and Adele's One and Only - and Sam was so impressed that as soon as she finished he told her she had made the final 12.

Courtney, a pupil at St Michael's CE High School in Rowley Regis, is no stranger to the stage, she came second in last year's Shape Your Talent competition and performed at Blackheath and Cradley Heath's Christmas lights switch ons.

Her proud nan, Karen Carrington, told the News: "She's been singing since she was little and she's just got better and better.

"She'll be singing At Last again at the final and another, more modern song but she hasn't decided which one yet."

Second City Radio presenter Chris Philips, who sat in during the auditions and will be hosting the final at Brierley Hill Civic Hall on August 12, said that all of the contestants were "absolute smashers".

"We've got a few singers, a dance troupe and a guy playing the ukulele like George Formby. It's going to be a great night - one of those that if you miss it, you'll be really missing out."

Finalist will face a panel of celebrity judges - Sam, his wife Linda Lusardi and Britain’s Got Talent Star Paul Burling - but it will be up to the audience to decide who wins.

There will also be performances on the night from The Voice star Lucy Kane and tribute artist Michael Clews.

Tickets for the show, which starts at 8pm, cost £5 in advance or £7.50 on the door.

Click here to book.

Alternatively, call the box office on 01384 573 381.