Big night for little Aleah
Pint-sized Aleah Searles emerged the winner of the first preliminary of the 34th annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition held last Sunday at the Plantation Garden Theatre. Searles, who amassed 467 points, led throughout the competition while Chantal Jemmott placed second with 433 points and Alicia Phillips placed third with 384 points. Searles was obviously the audience’s favourite, as both of her renditions were well received. Singing I Never Lost My Prayers and No One, the little powerhouse held the audience captivated and showed why she deserved to win. Most of the other contestants left their stronger song for the second half of the competition. Chantal Jemmott also got a great crowd response as she sang I Hope You Dance and When I Look at You.Alicia Phillips, who gave a moderate performance of the first song My Heart Will Go On, shone as she gave a powerful rendition of Alabaster Box, which was truly inspirational.Other notable performances came from Tanisha Holder, who sang Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Flying Without Wings.Aleah Searles and Shavonne Dottin, who participated last Sunday, will be judged in both the 6-12 and 13-20 category. Richard Stoute, organiser of the competition, said: “If there is someone in the 6-12 category who is talented enough to be pitted against the 13-20, then they will be allowed to perform. It is about developing talent and giving them the opportunity from an early age.”The battle in the over-21 category was between Elroy Brathwaite, and Anna B. The obvious favourite was Anna B, who sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the Whitney Houston classic I Have Nothing.The theme song for this year, entitled Shine, which was written by 1995 winner Sharon Brooke, was performed by Shadia Marshall, Johnathan Jeffrey, Chantal Jemmott and Cherish Breedy. The song is set to be recorded shortly.The second preliminary will be held next Sunday. It is expected to feature Sade Marshall, Latoya Carrington, Aisha Sandiford, Melodie Johnson, Johnathan Jeffrey, Tasha Mathurain, Akelyah Griffith, Desiree Benn and Aleah Lowe.