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When the judges announced the 16 last Sunday to go through to the Richard Stoute Teen Talent 13-21 Finals, it was with some surprised inclusions and exclusions. Twelve of the 21 from the second semifinals and three from the first, with another as a reserve, were sent through by the judging panel. From the first semis Rasheda Green and Cherish Maynard were strong enough to go through to the finals, along with Ronnelle King who did operatic arias, but none of the three were on the list. None of the two males from the first semis got the nod, but five from the seven males in the second semi-finals are through to the October 28 finals. Some of the singers last Sunday fell flat – as in sound – while others suffered from being off-key, out of synch with their tracks, too pitchy, or got into excessive shouting, or had problems with diction. Standing ovations were given to three contestants in the first half – all female. In the second half, where the contestants were expected to pull out the stops, some did, with four getting ovations. Two singers did covers of the late great Whitney Houston. Not an easy task, but Chantal Griffith’s I Have Nothing had everything: the right notes, right attitude and requisite class it deserved. Chantal had people out their seats from the chorus. Hitting the high notes with a precision, she showed indeed that practice, practice, practice makes perfect. Receiving the first standing ovation for it, Chantal in the second half stuck with what worked for her – another Whitney Houston, in All The Man I Need. Even with pronunciation problems and being a little bit late on the track, Shereece Chandler had the more striking performance of the two “Whitneys”. I Will Always Love You is known for that last part where you hold the note sostenuto – and Shereece held, and held, and held . . . . In the second half she did Saving All My Love For You, indeed saving the better for last. She must work on her diction though. Kibbi Greenidge also got two standing ovations. She teased the crowd with Out On A Limb and You Bring Me Joy, portraying a sassy, sexy attitude, as well as an appreciable ability to change key. Shakir Maynard’s tribute to his grandmother with Michael Jackson’s She’s Out Of My Life needed a bit more work, but his performance in the second half would redeem him. Skanking across the stage he got into I’m Yours, bringing a reggae vibe to the show. Well deserved standing ovation for the affable young man. Jabarrie Hurdle worked hard with Solitaire for a standing ovation in the first half – which he didn’t get. He redeemed himself in the second half though with You’ll Never Walk Alone. David Howard picked a better song in the second half with It’s Not That Easy and Johnathan Jefferey who was off-key in the first half got some patrons on their feet for his improved second half song So High by John Legend. Tasha Mathurin lost her way in both halves, but got the judges yes for the finals. She gets an A for effort. Anita AC Charles, a Junior Monarch finalist, used her knowledge of the stage in the kaiso number HELP and the gospel song Mercy Said No. For the 16 competing against each other Sunday, October 28, song choices will make or break the contestants. The 12 going through from the second semis are Chantal Jemmott, Anita Charles, Sade Lampitt, Tasha Mathurin, David Howard, Chantal Griffith, Kibbi Greenidge, Shakir Maynard, Shereece Chandler, Jamal Springer, Johnathan Jeffrey, and Jabarrie Hurdle. The four from the first are Meesha Brathwaite, Rashida Codrington, Reniece Bonnett and reserve Kristina Carter.