by Kimberley Cummins
Three electricity outages didn’t daunt Sherece Chandler as she journeyed to victory in the fourth preliminary of the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest. One of those outages occurred while the MC introduced the singer to perform Whitney Houston’s All The Man I Need, nevertheless, she took to the stage, put that mishap behind her and looked ready to improve on her 2012 final’s night second place.
Unlike last year, however, last night she toned down her shouting and placed more emphasis on her powerfully smooth voice. Her diction was crystal clear and she received loud cheers and the night’s lone standing ovation for her rendition of Jennifer Holliday’s And I Am Telling You from the large audience present in the intimate setting at the Divi Southwinds Resort in St. Lawrence, Christ Church.
As Chandler continued her voice grew stronger; it was flawless and full of emotion — so much so that she appeared to almost break down in tears. The entire audience also felt her emotion, even the judges as one was seen throwing his hands in the air while another embraced a colleague excitedly. She earned 748 points.
Rebecca Carter was the only real competition for Chandler. Separated by four points after the first half she ultimately placed second with 721. I Feel Good All Over by Stephanie Mills and Somewhere did showcase Carter’s good vocals and she hit all the high notes in the latter unbelievably well. However, her performance was short on passion.
Zoe Armstrong singing, I Dreamed A Dream and I Can’t Make You Love Me, was deserving of 554 points and third place.
The outages did not leave Chandler disheartened but it was clear they did affect the two youngest contestants in the eight to 12 competition. When it interrupted their performances midway and they were asked to restart Destiny Ifill, who sang Save The Best For Last and Rihanna’s Stay, improved in her second showing but Zakiya Harewood’s nerves got the better of her. Ifill, with 607 points, is semi-final bound.
Other performers were: Kareem McCollin, Shantha Bowin and Sherifa Belgrave. firstname.lastname@example.org