by Charmaine Walker
On a night of great anticipation and excitement at the 44th annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent Final, the highly gifted Kenya Joseph emerged as this year’s teen queen from a field of 12 very promising youngsters at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Sunday.
The talent on display was of a high quality and gave the judges much to think about, but in the end, Joseph was a most deserving winner.
She sang Loren Allred’s Never Enough in the first half and returned in the second with a beautiful rendition of Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain. Her efforts garnered her 913 points and the unanimous decision of the judges for the title.
Joseph radiated confidence with every note she sang. Her delivery was flawless, and she showcased smooth, clear vocals, while infusing her selections with great emotion that was quite appealing to the audience and obviously the judges.
There was no question who the audience favoured, and they erupted in applause when she was announced as the winner. Her winning prizes include $6, 000 and a scholarship from The Barbados Community College and a trophy.
Showing excellent vocal prowess, Daianna Price snatched second position. Price showcased wonderful voice control and range in her renditions of Adele’s When We Were Young and Billie Eilish’s Ocean. Her rich, husky soulfulness was mesmerizing, and she demonstrated exceptional skill in both songs. On another occasion she might have gone all the way to the top of the 2020 class.
In third position was Shontae Alleyne-Clarke. Clarke’s first rendition of I Surrender, originally done by Celine Dion, was a good effort and she must be commended. However, in the second half, her performance of Tina Turner’s Simply The Best was simply overdone.
The high energy requirement of the song showed up her difficulty in breathing and her worthy attempt to showcase her dance choreography simultaneously proved a bit too much. Nevertheless, the ambitious teenager who is still the reigning Crop Over Junior Monarch could feel proud of her overall participation.
Perhaps Clarke could have performed her winning Junior Monarch song Stop de Violence and improve on her placement, or even contend for the prize for the best calypso rendition, which was won by Casey Jemmott-Boyce. But she didn’t.
In fourth position was 12-year-old Roneisha Alleyne. Alleyne, a first- timer to the Teen Talent Final stage, had earlier been dubbed “one of the ones to beat”.
She had a remarkable season with her consistently moving and powerful renditions of Alicia Keys’ Good Job and Lauren Daigle’s You Say. But on finals night with clear signs of nervousness, Alleyne did not deliver her first song Good Job as anticipated. Her costume for that song which paid homage to the frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic gained her high points from the judges. Her second song was effortlessly rendered with passion and conviction. She is definitely one to watch for the future.
Kudos must be paid to the youngest finalist, 10-year-old Kymani Devonish who secured fifth place in front of repeat finalists Tarique Griffith, Kereesa Chase, Donna-Lisa Yearwood, Jemmott-Boyce and Tavon Boyce, and also newcomers Justine Blaire and Theres Lambert.
With coaching and further development, Devonish will be a force to reckon with in the near future.
Mention must be made of crowd favourite Tarique Griffith, who, although he experienced technical difficulties and walked off the stage in his second half performance of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come, came back to redeem himself much to the pleasure and satisfaction of the audience. He showed much strength and dignity, but it was not enough for him to be in the winner’s row this year.
Keressa Chase was the winner of the essay competition for the second consecutive year.
The evening started with a dance number from the Riddim Tribe Dancers, followed by an appearance from the 2019 8-12 winner, 10-year-old Tykairi Sargeant.
The show was well organized, with social distancing protocols in place. It was well attended notwithstanding the inclement weather and patrons adhered to the wearing of masks. (CW)