Hundreds of hopefuls vying to be among the finalists in the 2012 Digicel Stars competition, including a 75-year-old Toco resident, crammed into MovieTowne last Saturday for the reality show’s screening. “Two years now I hearing them say come down here because they are having the show,” said Joseph Whittaker, who left Toco at 4 am to arrive on time for the auditions.
The competition offers a total of more than $500,000 in cash and other prizes. Contestants auditioned in one of four categories: Caribbean sound—reggae, calypso, Indian, dancehall, and soca; R&B and pop; gospel; and dance.
Sixteen of them were selected to work at impressing the public to vote one of them as the next Digicel Star. They are: In dance—Xtreme Breakers, Shaffique, Unstable d Gift and Leston De Roche. Gospel: Nisha Guy, Isaiah Kanhai, Delissa
Wilson-George and Kela Bedassie. In pop and R&B: Shazeena Ramsumair, Nikisha Mc Dowell, Candace Marcus and Vindra Khelawan. The Caribbean Sound contestants are: Denton Peschier (Gitta Dan), Damian Richardson, Candace Charles and Daniel King.
Kanhai, a three-time competitor, explained that when he competed in 2009 and 2010, he did so in the R&B and pop categories. However, he made the decision to perform gospel this time around “as a statement to other people that you do not have to put aside your beliefs and values to make it.” He said the gospel category “allows me to have the three most important things in my life—God, my family life, and music—in that order.” His father is a pastor and the family runs a church.
The chosen 16 will be mentored by professional in the arts in the respective genres. Johnny Gonsalves will mentor those in Caribbean sound category contestants. Competitors in the R&B and pop category will be mentored by Glenda Collens. Gospel contestants will be mentored by Vanessa Briggs, and the dance entrants by Dave Williams.
The public can text in their votes to the unique contestants’ codes after viewing the live performances, which will take place at Fuzion Night Club, St Ann’s, and aired every Sunday on CNC3, from 8.30 pm. For the first time, there will be an open voting platform so that the public, regardless of the network they use, can participate in the voting.
The show’s new host is Serala Ramlogan and the BlackBerry Chill room host is Patrick Alexis. The Digicel Stars Grand Finale takes place on December 16.