BBC Young Musician: A music prize like no other
There's often this moment backstage at BBC Young Musician when a competitor is about to walk on stage and I wish them luck and my voice cracks and suddenly we both realise, in that same instant, that I'm probably more nervous than they are.
As the presenter I try and play it cool, obviously, but inevitably I'm a gibbering wreck by this point because the tension and excitement levels are so unbelievably high.
It's substantially more nerve-wracking than being backstage at something like The X Factor - I know, I've been there - because these young people have worked for most of their lives to get here.
On BBC Young Musician there's no such thing as overnight success.
These teenagers are like our top athletes, dedicating themselves with a staggering degree of commitment to the thing they love most: classical music.
I'm so proud to be a part of it and thrilled that our growing audience numbers, which are up by around 150,000 from the previous competition, seem to reflect what I believe: that this is a uniquely enthralling show!
The way the competition is structured means I get to know the competitors quite well over the course of a few months.
It's a huge privilege and pleasure to see them at school, meet their families and friends and teachers, find out who they really are off-camera and away from the stage.
But this also means I become very emotionally invested in each and every one of them and I often experience this wave of panic when the jury are about to announce the winner when I suddenly think 'Nooo! Can't they all win?!'
After the verdict I always seek to reassure the ones who don't make it through that they are all winners. Sounds corny but it's true.
Watch highlights from BBC Young Musician 2012
It's a huge achievement in itself to get to the category final stage (when there are just five left in each of five instrumental groups, down from hundreds at the start) let alone for the five who then win their category final and make it through to the semi-final.
In their disappointment, which is understandably crushing, I can sometimes see them thinking 'yeah right'. But I really mean it.
They are all outstanding young musicians and on a different night, with a different jury, a different twist of fate, any of them might take the title.
When I was younger I used to play the violin very seriously and once entered Young Musician myself.
I got through the first two rounds but didn't make it to the final. I don't think I had anything like the dedication these kids have! So I am bursting with admiration and respect.
I know all too well how much is at stake here and how terrifying - as well as exciting - it can be to face a jury of this calibre.
They are looking not only for musical and technical brilliance (that much is a given) but for that extra special something.
Who's got it? Who knows? On the night, anything might happen...
One thing's certain: for a young classical artist BBC Young Musician is simply the prize to win - there is no other international platform like it.
So the pressure is on.
And yet, amazingly, if you put the high stakes aside our finalists are basically just lovely, normal, hard-working, passionate teenagers. 'Ordinary', if you like.
They just happen to have a talent that is anything but.
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Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.