X Factor Fever at Desmond College newcastlewest

The Desmond Factor has become an annual event for Desmond College, Newcastle West, over the last seven years. Each year the event becomes more professional due to the dedication and hard work of the teachers and the students who are involved.

This year, Desmond College decided to run the show for two nights and also hold a matinee performance for the local primary schools. At each show the audience were treated to a huge variety of performances, encompassing many areas of the performing arts. Thursday night saw 30 acts perform including winners from the past; Edyta Soltys, Leanne Quilligan, Alicia Magner, Vincent Markham, Leon Bourke and Laura Fitzpatrick all graced the stage. The Desmond Factor diaspora, combined with our current talented pupils, performed to 400 people for the Variety Show Night. On Friday afternoon, local primary school children were treated to a sample of the acts. It was an exciting show as many little sisters and brothers grew in pride as they watched their siblings perform on stage.

The event came to a climax with Competition Night on Friday. In all 25 acts performed in front of a packed crowd of 530 people and 3 judges. It was a delight and honour that Denis Allen (writer of the famous song Limerick You’re A Lady) was able to join as one of our judges. The other judges were well known dance co-ordinator and producer Niamh Toomey along with Ola Goodman from Limerick School of Dance. The judges really had their work cut out for them as there were so many truly gifted performers.

The overall winner on the Desmond Factor was a wonderful and unique performance by James O’Connor on the bodhran playing Avicci Level combined with dance music. It was a truly stunning and popular performance.

Group winners included Niamh Nolan, TY Drama (The Witches), Anastasija Kostockina (gymnastics and ballet combined), Rachel O’Mahony, Robert Toomey and The Show Goes On (Jeff Kadima, Van Mambouana and Damian Frackowiak).

Runners up in each category were Gemma Lacey, Shauna Cronin and Sarah Enright, Adrenalin dance (choreographed by Suan Murphy and 3rd year girls), Rose Magner, and the Republic of Desmond (drama sketch). Particularly poignant was the dedication by dance group ‘Adrenalin’ and drama sketch group ‘Republic of Desmond’ of their win to their dear friend Darra O’Donovan who passed away in December. 

The show was made all the more special by the wonderful presenters on both nights. This difficult job was professionally done by the beautiful Nicola O’Brien and the charming Tom Flavin. Special recognition must go to the gifted Daniel Cremin for putting together the ‘X- Factor’ style introduction for each act. It was a master piece of technical ability.

Each performance would not have been out of place on any talent competition aired on any television station. It was a credit to the students, parents, teachers and the wider community, to have a production of such magnitude and a calibre of student that can perform the arts to such a wonderful level. We look forward to next year already.