In what may have felt like an impossible dream Damien Smith has finally been able to lift the Richard Stoute Over 21 Competition title. After repeatedly knocking at the door, Smith has finally been able to take the top position. Looking dapper in both appearances, the singer’s experience was evident in his polished delivery of You Never Walk Alone and the aptly titled Impossible Dream. He showed restraint where necessary in his performance and let loose at just the right moments earning 863 points.
Fourteen points separated Smith from second placed finisher Zoe Armstrong. Just before declaring the winner, chief judge Sheldon Hope indicated just how close the battle for the top places was. He shared, “In the first half, one person was leading and then in the second half, the other person took the lead but because the first half score was just a bit higher, that person held on for the win.”
Armstrong has a theatrical style which seems tailor made for stage productions. Her fashion choices matched her song choices. Her flowy, baby blue ensemble matched the light-hearted feel of Colours of the Wind and her wine coloured, sequined bordered dress was a fitting choice for the operatic I Dream a Dream. The beauty of her voice was on full display.
Crowd favourite Rashida Codrington took third place with 804 points. She was the first performer on stage and her inspirational In the Name of the Lord set the tone for what the expectation would be for the other 13 competitors. She poured out her heart with her passionate delivery of her second song I Who Have Nothing. She even dropped to her knees at the close of the song.
Fourth place was awarded to Anita Charles with 766 points. In the opening half, she performed the calypso Ghetto Cry. Her phrasing and diction were on point. She returned in the second half with the reggae version of Someone Like You.
The top five were rounded out by Laverne Smith with 746 points. She struggled with the higher notes in her first half rendition of Listen, but she seemed more comfortable with When You Tell Me That You Love Me.
One competitor left disappointed on competition night would be Paul Legall. The crooner delivered a flawless presentation with Bridge Over Troubled Water and was poignant with the emotionally charged The Day You Gave Me a Son. With the soothing quality to his beautiful voice he should have comfortably been among the top placed finishers and it was hard luck that he was not among the frontrunners.
It was undeniable that the judges had a difficult task cut out for them. Murmurs among the audience suggested they believed Tricia Maynard had done enough to be in the top order. Her jazzy rendition of Summertime with a slowed tempo was well received and so too was her dramatic interpretation of Gabby’s Emmerton. Unfortunately, she was shut out.
Other competitors in the final were Sandy Samuels, Bentley Jones, Shane Headley, Juanita Paul, Benoni Blackett, Sherry Ann Husbands and Anne-Marie Boyce. Guest performers included Shawnee and Arthur Moore.
There will be a one week break and the competition will resume with the staging of the finals at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on November 3rd, 2019. (STT)