The level of talent in Barbados was undeniable when the semi-finalists in the Baje to the World competition took to the stage on Sunday night. Close to 30 performers faced off in front of a judging panel comprised of media personalities Astra Bab, Cassandra Crawford and Anthony Admiral Nelson and for the first time, Arturo Tappin. These performers are vying for the chance to represent the island at Britain’s Got Talent.
Those gathered for the glow-themed event at the Copacabana Beach Club enjoyed a night of high calibre performances. However, with so many competitors, the event ran into the wee hours of Monday morning. This was unfortunate since a few participants featured in the second half were of school age. Greater emphasis should have been placed on them appearing higher in the line-up.
Despite the more than five-hour running time, many of the devoted fans of the series were unwilling to miss a moment of the spectacle and stayed rooted in place until the very end, even braving intermittent rain.
All the competitors pulled out all the stops to be impressive and paid close attention to the advice that they received in the preliminary sessions. The approach to their presentations varied; while some incorporated visuals on the screens to augment their performances, others took it a step further and were more elaborate.
Vocalist Shekara Straker created a smoky lounge scene complete with guitarist for her sultry rendition of Spanish Guitar by Toni Braxton. Chad Bowen used dancers to tell his tale in What’s Love.
Others needed nothing more than their voices to captivate the audience. It is never an easy feat to take on any Whitney Houston track, but Rebekah Carter delivered spectacular vocals on I Have Nothing without trying to mimic the original.
Casheda Dottin made Brian McKnight’s One Last Cry seem as though it was tailor made for her. The ease with which she delivered breath-taking vocals was refreshing. Trinity Clarke made her mother proud with an awesome rendition of her original Caribbean Unity. Each performer brought something unique to the stage with Anna Greenridge, Regina Ruck and Donna Lisa Harper being standouts.
Lisa Hackett touched a nerve with sheer emotion in her tribute to her late son Nial with Cher’s Believe. It was obvious his absence is still sensitive, but she rallied through.
The night was not only about the vocalists. Saxophonist Zukeli Inniss blew patrons away with Beyoncé’s Listen. Tappin, in his appraisal noted, “I couldn’t have done it better myself.”
Steel pannist Dwayne Jones was joined by a drum line which fantastically complemented his melody of soca hits. Jacob Layson was a double treat, wowing with the harmony between his musicianship on guitar and his vocals. Cherisa Simmons was the lone dance entry. Jason Sunrokk Taylor got up-close and personal in his freestyle and even gave an impersonation of the judging panel.
While most braved the comments of the judges with a stoic “thank you” there was a tense moment when singer Dario Dvon responded to a critique by Admiral. This judge was neither impressed by Dvon’s performance or his attire. The singer told Admiral that he needed to watch the international shows to see what was really trending.
Even the intermission was filled with superb entertainment. Multi-talented Wesu Wallace, who was a competitor on The Voice UK, was a one man show. He added his touch to Bob Marley’s Wait in Vain, Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy and Sam Smith’s I’m Not the Only One. (STT)