LAST Tuesday, the TEENage Expressions Tour made its latest stop in the cool, serene parish of Portland at the Fair Prospect High School. In keeping with true Portland fashion, the afternoon started off rainy, but ended bright, especially after we had seen the talent Fair Prospect had to offer.
Tameka Cadet opened up the tour by serenading her schoolmates with Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me. Her amazing range kept the crowd enthralled, even through the pouring rain.
Jason Benjamin was next and fumbled over Whitney Houston's I Look to You.
From singing to deejaying, Asif 'Sir Nash' Serenash took the stage next, and had students cheering for his conscious, short song Poor People, and Daevon Samuda performed Kenny Roger's Write Your Name Across My Heart. Another set of singers, Twila and Company attempted a rendition of Adele's Someone Like You, but did not get crowd approval.
It was then time for the first question-and-answer segment.
Students rushed from the crowd, TEENage Observer in tow, to see if they could win a prize — ninth grader Kennisha Bryan, seventh grader Shakerea Facey and 11th grader Rushane Myers all claimed prizes.
Resuming the talent show, Annmarie Walsh and Company sang Celine Dion's Serious, but barely roused the crowd.
The next performer, Raymond Lewis, was exactly the remedy the crowd needed to get them out of their seats.
Rayman — the brother of the very first Digicel Rising Star, Cavan Lewis — belted out an Adele medley, covering the songs Someone Like You, Rolling In The Deep and Set Fire To The Rain.
After his amazing set, the students demanded more, chanting "we want more!" until he returned to the stage and sang Romain Virgo's Rain Is Falling, which finally appeased them.
A second question-and-answer segment saw two seventh grade students, Dontay Lewis and Kerrian Wallace walking away with Flow and Seprod prizes.
Up next, the Fair Prospect Culture Group performed an indigenous Dinki Mini dance, that roused the audience and had them clapping in sync with the drums. Following was the Fair Prospect Junior Boys, who danced to Vybz Kartel's Worl' Boss, which earned a similar response from the crowd.
The school choir came next to the stage performing a rocking, reggae medley and the Fair Prospect Dance Group waved their rags to soca in the spirit of carnival.
Another exciting part of the Tour was the Pronto Cornmeal Porridge Mix Eat-off. Seven young men entered the contest and after starting their eating engines, the crowd got louder and larger until 11th grader Shaquile Crowther was declared the winner.
Coming off of that high, it was again back to the talent as Charmaine Hanson gave a tepid version of Ce'Cile's If You Love Me. This was followed by Hakiem Harris, deejaying about his favourite, chicken back and dumplings in his song Hungry Time. Vernon Lewis then offered up his vocal talents, singing Bruno Mar's Grenade.
The tour also had a 'brawta' porridge race, as six teachers raced to see who could finish their porridge first. The students could not be quieted as they cheered for their favourite teacher until Ms Douglas finally turned her empty cup over above her head in victory.
The final set of Tour contestants hit the stage when Kevin Hallwood impressed both the crowd and judges alike with his conscious dancehall song How Mi Feel. Then, a nervous Shavel Newell sang Justin Beiber's Never Say Never, which didn't get her the reaction she wanted. Rodrick 'Concreet' Minott then deejayed his original song Work 9 to 5, which got him positive feedback.
Back to give them more, Rayman Lewis and a group of teachers sang a special gospel medley, just for the students. Then to wrap up the Tour, the Fair Prospect Male Dance group did a dancehall piece that raised the mood and took the students home.
After deliberating, the judges announced the winners — in third place was Kevin Hallwood, while second place went to Tameka Cadet and in first place was Rayman Lewis, who will get a chance to compete in the TEENage Expressions Tour this June.