Out of the way X Factor, there’s a new competition in town. Open Mic UK, which started in September, is giving artists of all genres a chance to win £5,000 to put towards the development of their art. Jay Betts, former business and music industry student and team member at the Yorkshire Grey in Doncaster, has made it to the finals, which will be held in Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday 18th January 2014.

Jay, an aspiring rap artist, wowed the judges at the regional finals held in Sheffield City Hall, with his rendition of Chris Brown and Busta Rhymes song – Look At Me Now. Jay said: “After finishing my bachelor’s degree I started making music and created an EP which I sell in my spare time. Anyone who is trying to make it in the music industry will tell you that it’s not easy getting started without funds, so this competition is a great way to showcase my music and hopefully, win the grand prize!”

At the final, competitors will be split in age categories and each act will get three and a half minutes to perform a song of their choice in front of a host of celebrity judges, music industry experts and a large crowd. To win their category, acts will need to be in the top three of the judge’s scores to go on to the last stage of the final where each winners scores will be combined with audience text votes.

The Open Mic UK 2013 winner, who will receive the coveted prize will be announced on Tuesday 21st January on the Open Mic UK Facebook page and website, once all the votes have been counted. Acts are encouraged to invite family and friends to the event and will be given 25 tickets at the price of £20 per ticket to sell. For an additional fee of £5 guests can also purchase a travel ticket to the event – this deal includes both travel and two bottles of Becks beer for each spectator.

General manager of the Yorkshire Grey, Jamie Carr said: “Jay has been working with us for years and we are a very tight knit team here at the Yorkshire Grey and his biggest and most supportive fans! We will all be going to the final in Birmingham and the team have been encouraging regular customers to vote via text to increase Jay’s chances of winning! The number will be displayed on Jay’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/JAYBETTSRECORDINGARTIST at the time of the event!”