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Yearwood shines in first semifinals

The song Gabrielle Yearwood chose to sing in the first half of the first semifinal of the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition last Sunday night at Divi Southwinds Resort was most appropriate.

Yearwood delivered an energetic interpretation of Tina Turner’s Simply The Best and on the night she proved to be better than all the rest on show. Her diction was clear and precise, her delivery did not waver for the just over three minutes she spent on stage and most of all, though this was not a category on which she was judged, Yearwood seemed to be having the time of her life on stage. She performed Whitney Houston’s I Look To You in the second half and did a creditable job. Barring some unforeseen situation her name should be among those announced this Sunday for the final.

Gabrielle Yearwood

Gabrielle Yearwood

Also acquitting herself quite well was Maaisa Clarke with two worthy renditions of Houston’s I Will Always Love You and Regina Belle’s If I Could. Clarke has definite promise and with more exposure and opportunities could prove a very special talent. Clarke could feature in that final’s list.

Maaisa Clarke

Maaisa Clarke

Shanique King displayed a powerful voice in her offerings of Mariah Carey’s I Still Believe and Houston’s Greatest Love Of All. King is a work in progress with definite ability but still needs to hone her vocal skills and work on her modulation. It is a toss-up whether she did enough to make the final, as based on the preliminaries it was clear that last Sunday’s semifinal had the slightly weaker contingent of performers. She will be waiting with bated breath on this Sunday’s second semifinal.

Weslon Samuels has a thing for Neil Diamond’s music. He also has the voice for capturing the tone and feeling of the New Yorker’s music which he showed to good effect in I am I Said. If he was not quite as effective in his rendition of Larry Graham’s One In A Million You in the first half, he still did sufficient to create a favourable impression on those present. In the female-dominated competition, Samuels could very well be one of the few males to make the final.

Weslon Samuels

Weslon Samuels

Mr Entertainer Selwyn Sivers had an off-night but according to knowledgeable persons present, this was as a result of illness. This begged the question why didn’t organisers place him in the second semifinal to give him a week to recuperate. The result was that Sivers gave two rather lacklustre renditions of John Legend’s All Of Me and a reggae interpretation of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.

Zaria Gittens played it very safe in her selection of songs, namely Sheryl Hackett’s Beautiful And Unspoilt  and Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. Neither is vocally problematic and she dealt with their simplicity quite efficiently.

An appreciative crowd was on hand.

An appreciative crowd was on hand.

Javon Johnson performed Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father in the first half and returned in the second half with Ben E King’s 1963 release I Who Have Nothing. He had some technical issues with what he wanted to sing and the latter track played, that twice led to him leaving the stage in tears. To his credit he returned a third time and completed the job.

One of the undoubted star attractions of the night was a collection of young musicians called the Right Combanation. They performed an instrumental interpretation of Peter Ram’s Good Morning and completed their stint on stage with a spouge medley in the second half.

The Right Combanation band.

The Right Combanation band.

Others appearing before the judges were Keonai Walker, Daesha Brathwaite, Kereesa Chase, Atanya Jones and Kayla Alleyne.

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