by Sandra Sealy
The 39th Annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest Preliminaries on Sunday had a few more gospel numbers by the contestants, including winners Neesha Welch (6-12 Category) and Troy Arthur (Over-21).
Troy, who performed That Name and the old standard I Gotta Be Me, with his usual passion, earned 518 points. Troy, who had “taken a break” from competing for two years, says he selects songs which speak to him personally.
The other Over-21 singer competing with Troy was Ann-Marie Boyce who offered Total Eclipse Of The Heart and One Moment In Time.
Little Neesha Welch captured hearts with Ride Out Your Storm and especially with her energetic rendition of Caribbean Unity. This poised, 11-year-old, who started singing when she was “four or five years old”, also participated in last year’s competition. It was easy to see why Neesha did well with a final score of 627 points.
Krystal Browne took second place after giving her all in Somewhere and On My Knees, while Dianna Price shone in third with Stay With Me and Hallelujah.
Other contestants who performed at Divi Southwinds on Sunday were Franeica Glasgow (End Of The World and Many Rivers To Cross), Hayley Thomas (Weak and Changing Pavements), Kiah Shurland (I Know Who I Am and Take Me To The King) and Bernice Roach (Falling and How Will I Know?).
All of the guest artistes performing –– from last week’s prelims –– have advanced to the semi-finals.
Entertaining the audience at the openings of the first and second halves and during deliberations on Sunday were Ashanne Larrier (Beautiful And Unspoilt), Amanda Mascoll (Chandelier), Adonnia Freeman (Stay), Rashida Codrington (Colours Of My Love) and Ziggy Harris (My Way).
Emcee Carl Alff Padmore, who usually intersperses his introductions with humour and acknowledgements, called Peter Ram, enjoying a staycation at the hotel, to the stage. And, a few lines from All Ah We would be demanded of him by the audience, whom he accommodated to tumultuous applause. A delighted crowd would sing along.
Results were given at 10:16 p.m. after the four judges had deliberated. Chief judge Sheldon Hope reminded participants they would receive feedback from the judges after the show as part of the ongoing series of developmental workshops.
While the standard of performances on average was below past preliminaries, it was evident contestants had done their best to prepare for this developmental entertainment showcase.