by Kimberley Cummins
The first semi-finals of the 36th Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest started off to with a bang.
Though no finalists or scores were revealed last night, it was certain that a few of the 19 who competed will make it to the October 28 final.
One sure finalist was 15-year old-Rashida Codrington; she had the Plantation Garden Theatre audience ecstatic during each of her performances receiving the first double standing ovation for the entire season. The Ellerslie Secondary school student was dynamic, she was passionate; there were so many words which could describe her performances – the most applicable word would have to be great.
Singing Upon This Rock and Jennifer Holliday’s And I Am Telling You her voice was good and her diction was very clear.
Performing in the penultimate position, the contestant to come after, Jessica Waldron, was disadvantaged by her performance because she was just that good and the audience were left so unsettled by her performances that many felt she show was over and began to leave. The first timer from St. Michael was definitely loved by the audience, leaving no doubt that she was one to look out for in the final.
Also causing a stir in the St. Lawrence, Christ Church building was Meesha Brathwaite. After her rendition of Adele’s Someone Like You, entertainer Ricky Stoute was heard shouting “she is hot, she is hot”, as he and many others erupted in applause for her.
It proved extremely difficult to keep one’s eyes from off her; was it her honey blonde hair? her striking features? or her curvaceous figure? Whatever reason it was, it was certain she had a star quality about her. Also she must have put in a lot of practise over the past few weeks because her singing voice had improved by leaps and bounds though more work is still needed. It is very hard for an entertainer to perform a Whitney Houston number credibly, especially one who was vocally challenged, but the 19-year-old gave a decent attempt of Natural Woman.
Nineteen-year-old Dario Piggott had potential; his voice was good and his movements and emotions seemed sincere. However, at times he sounded too emotional, almost on the verge of crying, and this made him sound nasal in both renditions of I Believe I Can Fly by R. Kelly and #1 Fan.
Good luck never seemed to be on Ashley Rover’s side, she had problems in both preliminaries she entered and they continued in the semis when she forgot her lyrics and dress got tangled in her jewellery.
Apart from those mishaps, she may still be hopeful of reaching the final because she was better than most. Singing Somewhere In My Lifetime and Get Here her voice was clear and smooth and her diction was flawless. Who could not love her? With her big beautiful eyes piercing your heart she was a glorious sight to behold. Though looking into those same eyes one could feel that she did not have the usual level of confidence which breaks through whenever she hit the stage.
Also performing in the 13 to 21 semi-final was 11 year old Reniece Bonnett. Many people in the audience questioned why Bonnett, who performed in last week’s Junior final and placed third, was allowed to enter the senior version which had an age requirement. Answers were not available on the night and she continued to render Make It Real and Reach.
Other contestants were: Shantha Bowin, Amoura Boyce, Kristina Carter, Rasheda Green, Janaeli Harding, Crystal Hope, Corey King, Ronelle King, Jelesa Mayers, Cherish Maynard, Shanae Nicholls, Patrona Robinson and Shardinay Worrell.
While Over 21 contestant Michael Alexander made a guest appearance. This semi-final consisted of the contestants who gained the lower points in the preliminaries. The second round of semis continue next Sunday when those people with the higher take to the stage and the finalist are announced.