Nation e-Edition

Show of talent

Teen Talent winner Jabarrie Hurdle doing Soliatire. (Pictures by Maurice Giles.) Rebakah Carter with her stunning rendition of That Name. Shereece Chandler, who placed second, doing Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You. Chantal Jemmott.

By Natanga Smith | Fri, November 02, 2012 - 12:00 AM

The only thing missing from Jabbarie Hurdle’s winning performance on Sunday night at The Plantation was a matador cape. Crowned the 2012 Richard Stoute Teen Talent winner at 11:52 p.m., Jabarrie had brought the crowd to their feet twice, with two impressive performances in both halves of the competition to beat out 15 other contestants.

Rubbing his hands together, then wiping his face and making small talk with the other competitors standing around him, he broke into a huge smile when he was announced the winner. The nervousness he showed while awaiting emcee Carl "Alff" Padmore’s announcement, though, was nowhere evident when he was performing.

Jabarrie, a four-time Teen Talent entrant, and an accounting student of the University of the West Indies, showed that practice makes perfect. Placing third last year, Jabarrie won his prelims this year to reach the semis and the finals, singing his favourites throughout the competition.

It was a ding-dong vocal battle between Jabarrie, who gained 845 points, and Shereece Chandler, who placed second with 834. Chandler gave it her all, but was no match for the unharnessed natural talent of Hurdle.

In the semis two weeks ago, Hurdle worked hard with Solitare for a standing ovation in the first half. He got it in the second half with the operatic You’ll Never Walk Alone. Chandler did two Whitney Houston songs: I Will Always Love You and Saving All My Love For You. She was one of the better ones that night.

For Hurdle and Chandler, if it isn’t broken why fix it? But what they did was to add some flair and extra trimmings to their songs.

Hurdle, flamboyant with the mic, matched his facial expressions to the emotional parts of the songs. In the first half, with Solitaire, he showed you did not have to hold high notes to deliver the song. The standing ovation was well deserved.

Hurdle discovered that doing You’ll Never Walk Alone was impossible to beat, especially with the rousing vocal he provided. In the second half, he came out determined to command the stage. In this performance he had the most powerful rendition of the entire night. Voice reaching to the rafters, diction on point, stage presence arresting, he ended the song with one hand raised, acknowledging the second standing ovation.

Chandler was slow off the mark with her first song. But when she gets more comfortable, she cannot be stopped. Singing in the number two spot she impressed the judges, especially Sheldon Hope who could be seen shaking his head in amazement at her sweet and powerful vocals in her first number I Will Always Love You, which is a difficult song to sing.

She returned in the second half with a dramatic makeover, transformed into a Whitney lookalike. With much improvement in her diction from the semis, she delivered Saving All My Love For You, controlling her breathing and rhythm.

Repeating her semifinal songs, last year’s reserve Rebekah Carter, who placed third with 768 points, won over the judges and crowd with her second half gospel number That Name. Her first half song Homeless only picked up rhythm after the second verse.

One thing that must be noted is that she has the ability to find songs that match her voice, just like fourth placed Chantal Jemmott with her songs One Night Only and Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away, gaining 756 points. A finalist last year too, she needs to watch some of her stage antics that could become a bit overbearing.

With the exception of about two, almost all of the finalists repeated their songs from the two semis. But, if you are going to do that, you cannot bring a semifinals performance. While some stepped up their act, others fell flat.

Meesha Brathwaite’s and Kibbi Greenidge’s performances were good, but not great. Greenidge, a 2011 finalist, didn’t repeat the two standing ovations from the semis. While the sassiness was there, she did not go the extra lyrical mile, which she is capable of with the voice she possesses.

After a spectacular rendition of Adele’s Someone Like You in the first half, Brathwaite did not do justice to Natural Woman. The beautiful singer has a natural talent, but her second half performance was lacklustre.

The Rashida Codrington, who got a rousing standing ovation for And I’m Telling You in the semis, was nowhere to be seen Sunday night. She tried hard to put her own spin on the song and failed and her gospel number Upon The Rock in the second half sounded too pitchy.

Chantal Griffith, who was a match for Chandler in the semis with her Whitney Houston’s renditions, lost her way on Sunday night. Her two performances sounded like she was screaming when trying to hit the high notes. She just tried too hard.

David Howard, also a 2011 finalist, has that "X" factor that could be improved on. He came out on the night to prove he was one to watch in the future with a more comfortable stage performance than the semis, enjoying himself with It’s Not That Easy and Wild Flower.

Also performing in the finals were Sade Lampitt, Tasha Mathurin, Jamal Springer, Anita AC Charles, Reneice Bonnett, Shakir Maynard and Johnathan Jeffrey. The 2013 Teen Talent finals, if they have a repeat of talent from this batch, should be worth watching.

Entertainment last Sunday night was provided by last year’s winner Everdene Smart, this year’s first and second placed winners in the 6-12 category Mico Johnson and Lakenya Prescod, and 2012 honoree Lillian Lorde, among others.

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