by Kimberley Cummins
The finalists for the 36th Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest have been named but not before there was an all out, no holds bar showdown.
The final semi-final came off last night at the Plantation Garden Theatre. The talent was endless, the standard was high and the bar was continually raised.
Performance after performance the audience went wild and one recognised that the judges would have their most difficult task to date.
At the end of it all though, Rebekah Carter, Shareece Chandler, Anita Charles, Kibibi Greenidge, Chantal Griffith, David Howard, Jabarrie Hurdle, Jonathan Jeffrey, Chantal Jemmott, Sade Lampitt, Shakir Maynard, Tasha Mathurin and Jamal Springer as well as Reneice Bonnett, Meesha Brathwaite and Rashida Codrington from the first semi-final made it through to the October 28 final. Kristina Carter is the reserve.
Everyone brought their “A” game last night and Shareece Chandler was hot. At first she seemed more reserved than her usual self but as the crowd got more into her, one knew that her coolness would not hold for much longer. There was no longer the shouting but she sang and hit every note of the Whitney Houston number, I Will Always Love You — she was good.
In Saving All My Love, also by Houston, her passion while performing was reminiscent of a woman with experience, her enunciation was crystal clear, the crowd was awaken and they rose to their feet to applaud.
Jabarrie Hurdle was probably the contestant who the others feared the most and he knew it. If that was the case they had all right to because he was one of the best of the best in the competition during his performances of Solitaire and You’ll Never Walk Alone. He was good, at the level of a professional, and he had an unbelievable microphone technique and style which would probably make calypsonian Colin Spencer envious.
Everything about his performances were on point; his voice cannot be compared and his confidence was infectious. However, it must be noted that while confidence is a great thing, his sometimes came over as borderline arrogance. He must remember that it is often said that the best entertainers are those who remain humble and approachable.
Chantal Jemmott performed as though it was here last and she gave her all in her rendition of One Night Only. The place went quiet as the audience members were glued to her performance. Though she sounded a bit nasal, her voice was incredible and her diction was good. She looked especially stunning in a shimmering mini gown.
Singing Blown Away, she came across as a woman with a purpose and if that purpose was to give an incredible performance, one which would “mash up” the St. Lawrence Christ Church building, it was achieved.
It seems that the profundity of David Howard’s ability was underestimated. Many may understand he was a treasure but might not have recognised how precious. He is a performer and one who challenges himself in each performance, to the extent that it sometimes appeared as if he was not necessarily competing with the others as much as with himself.
His renditions of The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore and It’s Not That Easy were the sweetest of the night. With a constant smile imprinted on his face his were effortless performances.
The Teen Talent stage cannot hold his talent and it could be safe to say that neither could the shores of Barbados. Some producer should hold onto this young man while he is still available and invest in his talent because if he continues in the entertainment arena he could possibly the next big Bajan superstar. He has an “X Factor” about him. Whenever he opens his mouth he is a winner. He has a wonderful voice, a nice personality, charm and a sincerity that’s priceless — it is very easy to love him.
Chantal Griffith received the first standing ovation of the night for I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston. If Houston was still alive she would have been proud of Griffith’s performance. She was good in voice and diction and electrifying in stage presence; also while singing All The Man I Need.
Kibibi Greenidge too was very good performing Out On A Limb and You Bring Me Joy.
Other contestants were: Erica Best, Nickyl Blades, Mikaila Collymore, Jamar Connell, Moesha Daniel, Kadesha Lovell, Rodeesia Singh and Jamina Smith.