Just after Sunday midnight, before a sizeable audience at Hilton Barbados, professional gospel songstress hopeful Cherece Richards was declared the 2015 Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest winner. According to Sheldon Hope, chief judge for the season, the young woman’s win was “unanimous”. Hope also remarked that this year’s final had yielded one of the closest contests.
Before awarding medallions to each finalist, competition founder and executive producer Richard Stoute expressed pride in each of the contestants, and thanked all those who had shown support all season.
Cherece, who offered His Strength Is Perfect and the only original song Door Of Hope, took charge of the stage, pacing herself well throughout her performances. She earned 910 points, a trophy and $6,000. Cherece was also the prize winner of the Teen Talent Essay Competition of $1,000, donated by Cave Shepherd & Co. The essay, along with others, was published in Barbados TODAY.
As evidenced during the entire season, the top winners performed consistently during both halves of the show. The second-placed Rashida Codrington did Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing justice, dressed in a turquoise sequinned gown and matching turban reminiscent of the late diva’s role in The Bodyguard. In the second half, Rashida overcame a bout of illness to sing In The Name Of The Lord, earning 897 points, $3,000 and a trophy.
Placing third with 834 points was Tarique Griffith with Can You Feel The Love Tonight? and Sometimes When We Touch. The young man’s confidence and smooth tones netted him a trophy and $1,500.
Kenya Joseph sang about love with feeling (Greatest Reward and I Don’t Know) and for her fourth place, gained 793 points and a trophy.
After an entire season, the contestants generally showed growth in their performances. For finals night on Sunday, the first half in particular was tight with the leaders in the group distancing themselves more in the second half. It is also noteworthy that despite a few technical glitches, the young entertainers affected recovered quickly, handling themselves well.
The other 11 contestants onstage were Daesha Scantlebury, Naheem and Nakeem Wahid, Selwyn Sivers, Amanda Mascoll, Kayla Alleyne, Daryan Jordan, Iesha Moses, Kristal Brathwaite, and Neesha Welch who also was named Most Dynamic Performer and Ziggy Harris who was recognized with a special award for his efforts.
The winners will receive their prizes at an official ceremony at the Clement Payne Centre on November 18.