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Round one

Two weekends ago, eleven youths as young as 6 years, presented their talent in singing at the Harlem Plaza to an enthusiastic but rather small audience. The poor turnout could have been caused by competing Grandbay and Loubiere reunion activities and Cockrane's Rabbit Fest.

Nonetheless, some talent was unearthed in the under sixteen category. Aliyah Christopher of Bath Road started off proceedings with a strong voice which I immediately fell in love with, followed by Andaniella Jno- Baptiste from Marigot who was expressive but 'ad libs' fell flat at times in the gospel composition "Temporary Home."

Nine year old Anista Austrie of Woodfordhill performed the ever popular "Greatest Love of All", started well but the high part proved a bit of a challenge. Nonetheless, for her age she exhibited lots of potential and stage flair. Meanwhile, the young veteran of junior Calypso fame showed her versatility as she presented with conviction the Negro spiritual "Hallelujah."

Another from "Ah Fu Ah We territory" (Wesley) was Emalee Francois; she presented a pop song, a departure from the ballads, "Best Thing I Ever Had". Her articulation and intonation needed some improvement and probably she could be advised on appropriateness of song as it is unrealistic to expect the very young to articulate matters of the heart, such sentiments as "I want you back."

Kaya Delsol of Loubiere presented "Rise". She tried but came off a bit flat and nasal almost akin to someone who had a slight lisp; something she should work on with family and friends. Keyahra Alexander of Fond Cole sang "Stay" with a lovely soothing "Lauren Hill" slur and personality, though her slippers and attire was deemed to be inappropriate by the judges.

Then it was the turn of Kitana Telemacque, the tallest of the participants who did a "Boys to Men" composition: "It's so Hard to Say Goodbye". Again she did Wesley proud with her deep control- soothing and different! Kitwani Jno Baptiste of Riviere Cyrique sang "I am alive". Indeed she was in this Pop version but just a bit off key.

Then Lilesha Angol blew away the young audience with her cowboy attire, hat and boots and presented a country western story in "Blown Away". She was doing alright, but then she changed her tonal pitch to represent a few bars in the song and something went wrong.

Final competitor in the first round was 6 year-old Shanni Moses doing "The Climb". Really despite the fantastic effort for someone so young, unless she is genius, she will not be able to compete effectively with teenagers as the vocal chords have not well developed. Q 95 organizers therefore should consider an under 10 category for the likes of Shanni. Don't get me wrong, we all loved her effort and trust that such a rare find is encouraged.

Round 2

Aliyah remained solid particularly at the higher ranges in round two with "Don't go Chasing Waterfalls."

What impressed me most is her confidence even when her music stopped she did her stuff acapella style, rap and all, with the audience keeping time, clapping, and getting into it- impressive! The next competitor, Andaniella, was smooth and expressive as in the 1st round with "I could fall in love with you".

The energetic Anita Austrie presented "This is me" and indeed it was. Chelsea Prince performed to excellence her most comfortable genre "Voices from the ghetto" and had every one eating from her plate of expressive conviction. Harlem Plaza came alive and served as background vocal for the talented Chelsea.

Emalee Francois chose a most difficult song with varied intonations and chord changes which she does not really have the experience to execute and should have paid heed to the title "Let it go."

I would also proposed that the trainers of the participants find a way to change to appropriate keys for some of the singers and the original music downloaded from the internet may not necessarily suit the range of the competing artiste. Again one can only suggest, I know some youths do not readily accept advice from older more experience persons.

"Jesus take the wheel" by Kaya in the second round required better articulation for such a popular gospel; however, she did end stronger than the rather tentative start.

Kitana Telemacque was less convincing in "Be Alright" because though she sang well but the choice of song, did not afford her the range she required to impress as she did in the first round. Another love song whose lyrics cannot be internalised by such youth as Kitwani, hence lack of conviction. Meanwhile, Lilesha announced a love song dedicated to Granny on her birthday. She was seated and that was cool, different, but the black dress represented something mournful and the scarf is sometimes said to interfere with vocal execution.

Finally, the rose of a little lady, the cute Shanni Moses thrilled the Harlem Plaza appropriately closing proceedings. She probably should now be used and encouraged as the new "Ashanti" find for Q95.

Kasim Birmingham, to my mind Dominica's best male vocalist when it comes to executing a ballad, was brought on as the 2013 Under-16 winner, to serenade the participants. This 13 year-old is of American Idol quality and if marketed or if he was born elsewhere singing can easily become his career. "I'll always love you" was rendered with blood curling excellence bringing the house down. In the end Chelsea Prince deservedly won followed by Aliyah Christopher, Keyahra Alexander and Kitana Telemacque.


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