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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 15:08 GMT
Singer Silva wins Next Big Thing
Silva performs I Like during the final of The Next Big Thing

Armenian singer Silva has won the BBC World Service's Next Big Thing competition with her song I Like.

The 17-year-old was chosen ahead of six other acts from around the world at the final, held in the BBC's Maida Vale studios in London.

The judges praised I Like, which was composed by the singer's sister Mane, as "fresh and new" and described her performance as "second to none."

"It's terrific, it's unbelievable to be in first place," she said.

She added the comments from the judges - producer William Orbit described her as "fabulous" - meant she felt confident she could "make the step up to international level."

Second place in the competition was split between Malawian rapper NiC and London duo Stefan and Mya.

'Great tradition'

Stefan and Mya's song My Dunks - a rock-rap track about a trainer-obsessed fashion victim and his bitter rows with his girlfriend - was described by Jeff Travis - founder of UK indie label Rough Trade - as part of "a great tradition in rock 'n' roll."

Skagz (left) and Nic await the result of The Next Big Thing

NiC's Take A Look Into My Eyes - an anti-materialistic rap song about the difficulties of getting into the music industry in Africa - was lauded by the judges for its lyrical content and use of a Greek sample.

Meanwhile, third place went to Brazilian collective Sweet Cherry Fury for their song Cold Blonde Body.

Generation Next

The other finalists included British rock group Skagz, American outfit MLK and the Dreamers, and Ghanaian singer Mishkini, who performed his song in three different languages.

The competition, part of the BBC's Generation Next season, was aimed exclusively at acts aged under 18.

The final seven had been selected by a panel of music journalists and experts from a group of 20 acts - who themselves had been pooled from all the entries submitted via the BBC's website.

The judges for the final included legendary producer William Orbit, Rough Trade founder Jeff Travis, African star Angelique Kidjo and Dirty Pretty Things drummer Gary Powell.

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