The four man panel (remember women had been banned from the panel for this series) providing the expert opinions and scores for this heat were Ted Ray, George Elrick, John Robins and Alan A. Freeman.
The seven new acts hoping to impress were;
- Airport (four-piece country & western group)
- The Lyntones (husband and wife vocal / instrumental duo)
- Denis Maguire (solo guitarist)
- Imperial Bond (vocal / instrumental trio)
- Luie Caballero (comedian /impressionist)
- Group X (four-piece group)
- Samantha Sinclair (vocalist)
The impressionist Luie Caballero performed some credible impressions of Columbo, Muhammad Ali and Al Jolson and the judges generous scoring handed him the heat win with 119 points out of a maximum 120 which was, at the time, the highest score on New Faces.
Twenty-seven year-old Luie, was born in London of Spanish parents and when he left school he become an apprentice jockey, but gave up because he couldn’t keep his weight down, so turned to singing. Amazingly this was Luie’s first appearance anywhere as an impressionist, let alone his television debut, although he had already gained a wealth of experience in London’s West End in such hit musicals Flower Drum Song, Hair and The Gingerbread Lady.’
While the score seemed very impressive it was most likely artificially inflated by the lack of star quality in the preceding acts, and it left the judges with nowhere to go with their remaining scores for the acts that followed.
The first two acts, country and western group Airport and The Lyntones, the husband and wife singing duo singing in the style of Teddy Johnson and Pearl Carr, both gave solid performances that scored an equal 91 points each.
They were followed by Denis Maguire, playing acoustic guitar in a classical style, who scored much lower due to his lack of ‘star potential’ and country hoedown group Imperial Bond who also scored low because of their obvious ‘lack of experience.’
So when Luie Caballero presented his expertly polished and prepared act, the panel had to go high with the scores as he was clearly far superior to those that had gone before him. The judges claimed ‘it couldn’t be better’ and ignored any imperfections and awarded him a mark just one short of a possible 120 point maximum.
Group X couldn’t compete with a score so high and it was left to the final performer, 22 year-old Samantha Sinclair, with her combination of voice, personality and costume to aim for perfection and beat the current high score. Singing the song Ninety Nine Ways (To Love You A Little Bit), a song that was a candidate for a Eurovision entry had The Shadows not been chosen to represent the United Kingdom, which she later released on the Pye label, she didn’t quite impress enough.
With her 103 points, at the time the highest points ever awarded to a female singer on New Faces, Samantha would have been a worthy winner of any other heat but she just couldn’t match the near maximum score given earlier in the show and Luie Caballero was judged the act which would progress to the next All Winners Final.
Despite missing out it wasn’t the last we heard of Samantha. She released a second single, Oh Boy (The Mood I’m In) which unfortunately failed to chart. She would, however, get a second chance on the show two years later when a rule change in series six allowed any previous act scoring more than 100 points a reappearance on the show. This revision meant we got to see Samantha perform on New Faces again in series six (12).