By Michron Robinson
Pull it up selector, wheel and come again! Some are still asking for more from the performers at the second Preliminary Challenge of Baje to the World Season 3, with many delivering phenomenally in reggae style.
Last week Barbados TODAY brought the action all the way from the Darryl Jordan Secondary School, where performers gave the judges a tough time in point scoring, and Sunday night at the Daphne Joseph Hackett theatre was no different.
Since the competition started, some stood head and shoulders above the rest, with three outstanding performers walking away with special prizes by the City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union. Those included star poet Cyndi Celeste, the energetic Kyrique Alleyne and the sultry Asanta Blossom (who also won the Massy Stores Most Dynamic Performer Prize).
Celeste put down a mesmerising set backed by the instrumental to Beres Hammond’s Sweet Lies while she did her thing in spoken word style. It was new, but the audience loved it and she earned her spot on the night as one of the standouts. Kyrique Alleyne stood out with his rendition of It’s Me Again Jah by Luciano. He’s the full package, according to Chief Judge Senator John King. Also bringing the energy was Asanta Blossom with her set of Wishing on a Star (Reggae version). She received almost full points, with many describing her performance as “awesome”.
It was a full house yesterday, with some of the audience having to watch the performances outside of the Daphne Joseph Hackett Theatre. Spotted in the crowd were Cultural Ambassador The Most Honourable Anthony Mighty Gabby Carter, Former Minister of Education Ronald Jones, MP Trevor Prescod, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) Shelly Williams and MP Marsha Caddle, to name a few.
Starting the evening off was Lui the Bajan, who delivered once again with his dramatic piece Reggae Reintroduction. He was funny. He was confident, and he was on point. However, he was advised by Senator King to add more elements of reggae to his presentation.
Following his performance was LoLeeka who performed Lioness on the Rise. The newest face to the judging panel was Carla Springer, who commended the empress on her presentation but suggested she should have worn a long, flowing dress to push the performance into a realm similar to that of the song’s original singer, Queen Ifrica.
Shaquan Smith, who performed Push Comes to Shove by Freddie Mcgregor was given respect for what he put down on stage. Judge Steve Sobers admitted he was “speechless” and quickly added he loved the young man’s confidence.
After Smith was Sabiah, who did a cover to Dutty Man by Teshae & Romain Virgo. Judge Phillip Forrester said she’s the star that “Barbados needs”. The 11-year-old didn’t allow the injury to her right hand to prevent her from delivering. “I like you a lot. I think you are the future of Barbados,” Forrester said, which whipped the audience into supportive applause.
Rapper Lyte did his original song Smile, which was laced with positive energy, but somehow he still had issues with enunciation which the judges once again cautioned him about. He has potential. Jaycob Layson is a personality favourite – always merry and smiling. His rendition of Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved filled the hall with a warmth. That piece worked well for him, even though he had technical difficulties.
Contestant number eight, Marielle, was sweet as she did justice to Chevelle Franklyn’s gospel reggae number Thank You. Bursting with energy and a smile to match, she delivered a piece the crowd seemed to enjoy. She stood behind the microphone for the entire night, and Judge Forrester encouraged her to spread her stage presence more. Yahandje was regal in look and voice while she delivered Easy on Me by Adele. She was applauded for a job well done.
Ten-year-old Golden Girl performed Goodness of God by Sanchez, and she was simply sweet.
Jahlyn did her thing with Just One Look by Eddie Lovette. She was encouraged to do more pitch work and to focus on musical interpretation.
Emari gave a good rendition of Rude by Magic. The lone dancer, Neffi, brought good vibes with her expressions of A Reggae Mix. She has potential as one of the younger ones. The judges said it themselves.
Tillieann presented a cover of Need You Bad by Jasmine Sullivan and she did well. The audience loved her, as she was captivating and soulful. Carmen performed a piece called Love and received a thumbs up by the judges. Judge Springer urged her to make her performance more impactful. Neisha brought the church and the spirit as she put her own twist on Winner by Sherryann Maughan.
Miracle brought back memories of the 80s aesthetic while she delivered Killing Me Softly by the Fugees (Reggae Mix). Her stage presence was magical.
Skydrive was a force performing Vice Versa Love by Barrington Levy. It left many wondering how much more was in her tank as she seemed to have pulled out all the stops.
Closing out the evening was The Showman performing People Talk by Etanya. He had the look and voice. Everything about him said superstar.
Baje to the World is a production of the Community Development Department in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment. The aim is to develop well-rounded entertainers while equipping them with the necessary tools to launch and progress their careers in the entertainment industry in Barbados and beyond. (MR)