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Hurdle’s happy!

No hurdle too high: Young Jabarrie Hurdle may be small in stature but last night it was a case of David taking on Goliath as he overcame all obstacles to be crowned king of the 36th Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest.

by Kimberley Cummins


This was the one word which a beaming Jabarrie Hurdle described his feelings of being crowned the 2012 Richard Stoute Teen Talent monarch.

Before hundreds at the Plantation Garden Theatre last night the 19 year old was named the 36th winner of the contest. What made the occasion even more special, he told Barbados TODAY, was that it came as an early birthday present since he will celebrate his 20th birthday tomorrow.

Following two dynamic performances which impressed both the esteemed judging panel and the packed Christ Church venue, the little man from St. Michael dominated to earn the designation, many prizes, 845 points and of course … bragging rights.

“I’ve come so far,” he said, “from the first time I entered the show being just a recommendation to go to the semi-finals; to winning my prelim that following year and onward was an achievement for me. The feeling is unexplainable, I just so happy, I worked really hard. The goal was to focus and execute and I had a feeling that would have brought me home.”

Last night Hurdle did in fact demonstrate his growth; he knew he had a great voice and he was not afraid to use it. His rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone from the 1945 musical Carousel and which was made famous by a host of top singers like: Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Patti Labelle, Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan, was definitely the performance which helped him to pull away from closest rival.

His version of Neil Sedaka’s Solitaire was equally good but his desire to win resonated even more vocally in the former as he pulled out all the stops to accomplish this. Dapperly dressed, he walked onto the stage, back upright, as if with a point to prove, and accompanied by a confidence that was infectious.

Tune, voice, diction, and stage presence — every aspect of the performances was on point.

Hurdle’s stiffest competition came from Sherece Chandler who gained a mere 11 points less for her second place position. She was a clear-cut crowd favourite and as she performed an audience member grabbed her chest and shouted “my heart burning me”.

She received standing ovations with patrons running through the aisles shouting “that is my girl, that is my girl” continually.

Her first song was I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and in this number she started flat but when she got going one could not rein her back.

Chandler had a great stage presence but it could be assumed that because of the enormous reaction from the crowd she over did the performance somewhat and at times sounded brawling.

In Houston’s Saving All My Love she also had a tendency of shouting but she had a good, incredibly strong voice. The performance was passionate and heartfelt, as if personal, and the crowd went wild for this. The best part of her performance, in my opinion, was coming on to the end of the song when she showed her softer and more vulnerable side by not being as aggressive as she was throughout the rendition.

Rebekah Carter was just, wow! She had a beautiful talent; very deserving of her 768 points and third place. Her performance of That Name saved her; it reaffirmed that her ability as a songstress was endless. She hit every note and her voice pierced the soul in this gospel number. Carter was also great singing Homeless, her voice was really good but she had no stage presence. While she may have had one of the best voices in the competition her presence was almost forgettable, there seemed to be no fire in her eyes as she performed.

Chantal Jemmott’s performance of Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away and One Night Only by Jennifer Holliday put her into fourth spot.

David Howard may not have placed in the contest but he would have probably gone home with the knowledge that today he had more fans, based on the love and respect he earned from the large audience.

His voice was just so sweet and that constant smile and cheer made him so relatable as he effortlessly rendered It’s Not That Easy and Wild Flower by Skylark. At 17 years old, Howard was not the type of character who would make an audience jump up and down and stomp their feet but he had an effect that would encourage people to purchase his album and listen to it for an entire night as they embraced a loved one.

Other contestants were; Reniece Bonnett, Meesha Brathwaite, Anita Charles, Rashida Codrington, Kibibi Greenidge, Chantal Griffith, Jonathan Jeffrey, Sade Lampitt, Tasha Mathurin, Shakir Maynard and Jamal Springer.

There was a host of entertainment from former contestants as well as 2011 Teen Talent winner, Everdene Smart, 2012 Honouree, Lillian Lord and contestants from the Richard Stoute Over 21 Contest.

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