Hailey, Atkinson and Richardson win St. Maarten IdolsPOSTED: 04/4/11 12:05 PM
St. Maarten – Aimie Hailey sung, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, Raheem Atkinson sung ‘If we hold on” and Chantal Richardson sung, ‘Just the way you are’ and those efforts were good enough to earn them the top prizes in their various categories in the 2011 St Maarten Idol on Sunday evening at the Celebration Palace. The event, which aims to serve as a launching pad for aspiring vocalists, encouraged each of the participants to showcase their hidden talents.
There were eight participants in the Cycle One category and the competition was run on a points system, 100 for voice, 60 for performance and 50 for articulation. At the conclusion of that segment, the audience was the ones that voted for the contestant who they though was the most popular.
After some deliberations between the audience and the MC’s, Jada Brooks, a student of the Learning Unlimited Preparatory school, was the eventual winner. Brooks also picked up the second runner up prize with 390 points, the first runner up prize went to Angel Henry from the Hillside Christian School with 405 points and Hailey, a student from Sister Regina picked up 430 points.
The level of the competition was raised a few notches in the Cycle Two category as those contestants were more articulate and knew when to change the tone of their voices to suit the backup music. Ladisa Simmons, a student from the Sister Regina School, was the first on stage accompanied by Keon Herbert and she had the opportunity to set the bar when she did a tune called, ‘I can’t wait to be queen.’ Jake Donaldson, from the C.I.A was next on stage and he changed the tone of the competition when he did a tune called, ‘Introducing me.’ Deyoudis Jeffers from the Hillside Christian School added a true spiritual touch to the proceedings with, ‘Lose everything except Jesus’. Erissa Cozier, a student from the M.A.C school St Johns Estate did her absolute best with a tune called, ‘I got to believe.’ Mike Frins, a student from the Oranje school sung, ‘Its never too late,’ and when Mykeilin Pascal, from the Prins Willem Alexander school did a tune called ‘Make it shine,’ it was clear that a pattern was emerging, the contestants were remaining spiritual.
It did not take the panel of judges a long time to identify Atkinson as the vocalist of the night in his category as the bar was raised after his performance on stage. That made things more difficult for Kyeisha Laurence from LU Preparatory when she did a tune called, ’Because you love me’ which was dedicated to her mother.
Esther Isaac was given a chance of a lifetime after she broke down in tears during the latter stages of her tune entitled, ‘My hero.’ Zhanica Tuitt, from the Dr Martin King Jr sang, ‘Lean on me’ but as it turned out, the judges were not leaning in her direction. Keoni York, from the St Joseph school did his best to keep the image of the York family alive as the last contestant in that category. It was tight race between York and Laurence and they had to share the glory as the Miss and Mr Popularity title. Laurence finished with 480 points, York on 500 and Atkinson on 515.
The tempo and standards of the competition was extremely higher at the Secondary level and this time they were only seven contestants. Nicole Perez, a student from the Learning Unlimited had the chance to set the standard with a tune called, ‘Break Away’. She was followed by Chardonnay Martis from the St Maarten Academy PSVE with, ‘This is my how.’ Julia Bates, a student from the St Dominic High looked very dashing when she appeared on stage to do a song called, ‘I Don’t want to go.’ Sherika Thompson, a student from the St Maarten Vocational did a tune called, ‘Heart of worship.’
Linedia Masson, from the St Maarten Academy/Academic did a tune called ‘Mercy said no’. Adrian Nicasio, from Sundial was brave enough to change the tempo of the competition when he did a tune called, ‘On the wings of love.’ Richardson, a student from the MPC/VWO was the last to sing and she had to do better than all of the contestants who had sung before her. She was also extremely popular and that was evident when she appeared on stage singing ‘Just the way you are.” The judges loved the way she sang and that was all it took. She was also presented with the Miss Popularity trophy after a unanimous decision by the MC’s. Martis was the second runner up with 430 points, Bates followed with 445 and Richardson with 465.
Angelique Romou Martis, the organizer of the annual event urged the various principals to organize their own competitions so that they will be better prepared for the next competition which will be held in April 2012. Each of the participants received trophies along with gifts compliments of various sponsors on the island.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams who also attended the event to support the young people said, “Be it as parent, teacher, coach or trainer, I reminded them that often we marvel when young person’s succeed in other places, but we don’t sufficiently recognize how much work goes into preparing a child to be successful and stand out.”
She added, “I encouraged the participants and young people in general not to settle for average and to maximize their talents. I reminded them that it is up to them to put St. Maarten on the map in the areas of song, music, dance or art. I reminded all present that these are St. Maarten children and our future leaders.”