By Charmaine Walker
It was a stirring contest among ten worthy performers, but there could only be one victor. And when the points were tallied, Skyy Dowridge emerged as the winner of the 47th annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition at the St Leonard’s Boys School last Sunday night.
Dowridge still has about two years to go before being officially a teenager, but the precocious 11-year-old overcame obstacles and her abundant promise shone through.
She had been battling illness earlier in the week and missed the grand rehearsal and voice training sessions on doctor’s orders. But on this her second time in the competition, and the first contestant to face the judges, she exuded confidence and never let her standard and effort drop.
Dowridge accumulated 1 255 points to take home the grand prize of $10 000 and a trophy. In the first half she sang My Heart Will Go On made popular by Celine Dion and seemed even better vocally in her second appearance with Listen, a Beyoncé smash hit.
Dowridge was accompanied by her father, Randy Hard Drive Dowridge, on keyboard and this could only have helped her confidence. She showed great voice control and poise on stage and clearly set a very high bar for the others to follow – a most deserving winner.
Taking second place with 1 180 points was Shaneika George singing Lord You’re Holy by Helen Baylor and Creep by Radiohead. She was also in good voice and provided great competition for the eventual winner. George received $5 000 and a trophy for her efforts.
Kymani Devonish was third and took home $3 500 and a trophy. He tallied 1 161 points for his rendition of Tom Jones’ I Who Have Nothing and Dancing On My Own by Calum Scott. He has been a consistent performer throughout this year’s competition.
Joshua Osbourne took fourth place with 1 111 points, earning him $2 000 and a trophy. He did a good job with Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are and was even better with his interpretation of Barbadian crooner Mark Lord’s I Hear A Love Song.
Shaquan Smith performed Impossible Dream by Luther Vandross and Open Arms by Mariah Carey and impressed the patrons considerably. He has definite ability.
Other competitors who made it a highly entertaining night were Jaliah Thompson, Weslon Samuels, Chelsea Ellis, Destiny Ifill and Beyonce Clarke who should all feel proud of their efforts.
While the judges chose the winners, there was entertainment by Shirley Stewart, Shontae Alleyne-Clarke, Orlanda Hinds, Janisha Best, Nicole Sealy and Kibibi Greenidge.
During the prize presentation, Kevin Stoute, former national cricketer and son of the show’s founder Richard Stoute thanked sponsors, patrons, judges and all those who contributed to the show in any way, for making the contest’s 2023 edition a success. An emotional Stoute said his ailing dad was very pleased with this year’s proceedings and sent his gratitude.