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May the best teen win


May the best teen win

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When the curtain opens on Sunday night for the 34th Richard Stoute Teen Talent finals, 12 of the finest teen singers in Barbados will try to sing their way into the hearts of the judges and audience.
Two males, Jabarri Hurdle and Jamal Springer, will come up against a group of females who have their eyes on the title as well. Crowd favourites Torrisha Holder, Lynette Lynch and Aleah Searles are sure to be strong contenders while the other finalists, Shadia Marshall, Alicia Philips, Shanice Marshall, Chantal Jemmott, Cherisse Greenidge, Danicka Haynes and Kibibbi Greenidge, will seriously join the battle.
The stage was set from last Thursday’s first semi-final round, when Alicia Philips followed her rendering of His Strength Is Perfect with an emotive performance of Alabaster Box.
Also impressive was Cherisse Greenidge who sang Sway and Cabaret. With her distinctive voice and style, she will bring some variety to the finals. Jamal Springer was a hit with the ladies, though he seemed to strain a bit in the first performance of Incomplete.
He gave a more comfortable performance of One Last Cry. Shadia Marshall, another finalist, impressed with her voice as she gave to clear renditions of I Hope You Dance and One Hello.
The competition in the first semi-final was not fierce, as most of the competitors had made it to that stage on the basis of recommendations by the judges. It came as no surprise, then, that only four of the 12 competitors made it through to the finals.
The second preliminary, held last Saturday night, was top-notch, with most of the preliminary winners and other top two performers gracing the stage, and eight competitors made it to the finals.  Danika Haynes’ smooth-voiced rendition of Enchanted was nothing short of magnificent.
Haynes held the audience spellbound as her voice cascaded over the notes, forcing a man sitting next to me to remark at the end of the performance: “She can sing; now that was nice.”
Torrisha Holder was terrific, and the audience was appreciative. Technical difficulties halted her first effort, but when she returned to the stage she gave a tremendous performance.
Singing You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me, she then sealed the deal with Midnight Train To Georgia, after which an audience member could be heard shouting: “Ten million points.”  
Aleah Searles got a standing ovations after both performances. The pint-sized songbird, who was impressive throughout the competition, sang At Last and I Never Lost My Praise.
However, Lynette Lynch, the winner of the fifth preliminary, did not bring her earlier punch. It is hoped she will give her all in the finals because she has a voice and range the other competitors lack. She sang Somewhere and If I Could.  
It was obvious when the names of the finalists were called that the judges got it right, as the announcement was greeted with roars and applause from the audience.
A further development was the addition of Crystal Jordan, who was specially selected by organiser Richard Stoute to join the other finalists. Based on the semi-final performances, this Sunday’s finals promise to be explosive.