T Rizzy is 2014 Digicel Rising Stars Winner
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
Perhaps it was no surprise when the 2014 winner of the Digicel Rising Stars competition was announced on Sunday, but that didn't take away from all the excitement and fanfare that surrounded the final night of the competition.
As the curtains came down on the competition's 11th staging, Trelawny native, T Rizzy, triumphed as the new Digicel Rising Star. He had been the clear favourite throughout the entire season, thrilling the audience week after week with his old-school song choice, that won the hearts and undoubtedly, the votes of many Jamaicans. He walked away with a cash prize of $1 million, as well as a new cellular phone, courtesy of sponsors, Huawei.
The annual competition culminated at the usual Sunday spot at the TVJ studios, and despite some early glitches brought on by the rain, the event went on as planned. It might have been the last show, but all the performers on the night made it seem like the first. Past contestants, including Lionel Williams, third-place finisher Sarai Lee Moodie, Quan I, Garnett Ferguson, and Kayann Knight, returned to the stage for a final group performance with both finalists. The number provided the perfect opening to what turned out to be a spectacular evening of entertainment, which was listed as the most memorable moment in the competition for two of the three judges.
Opening number aside, some of the contestants from this year's competition returned to give solo performances of their favourite songs. Standout among those were Lionel William's rendition of Usher's Good Kisser. His performance left many questioning why he hadn't performed like that during the competition.
Kayann Knight also brought the house down with her strong vocals, and by the end of her song, the audience was buzzing with questions as to why she had been eliminated without getting to the final three.
Sarai Lee Moodie, however, proved why she had earned her third-place spot. Taking aim at Anthony Miller, and highlighting just how comfortable she was in her own skin, Moodie delivered with All About That Bass, by Meghan Trainor. Adding some moves to prove her agility, Moodie had the live studio audience erupting in cheers and laughter, thoroughly enjoying her piece. Miller, too, enjoyed Moodie's number, evident from the smile painted on his face from start to end.
There were a number of guest performances throughout the night. Bling Dawg, Tessanne Chin (who was later accompanied by Assassin), and resident judge Denyque all delivered short but entertaining sets. Last year's winner, Verlando Small, was also back in all his saxophonic glory and had the crowd glued to his performance.
In case you were wondering who that elderly lady was who always sits in the front row in the audience and who never misses a show, questions were finally answered on Sunday night. Identified as Ms Lurlene, the woman received a Huawei handset for her attendance and loyalty to the show over the years, a gesture that left her emotional.
Just before the big announcement was made, both finalists, JL and T Rizzy, were invited to the stage by host Terri-Karrelle to perform a duet, and though it wasn't necessarily one to remember, the audience enjoyed it nonetheless. When the winner was announced, the audience, and perhaps those at home, already knew who it was, as T Rizzy had been the front-runner in the competition for many weeks. Nevertheless, in his usual humble way, T Rizzy told The Gleaner that the announcement surprised him. "I was always told to expect the unexpected," he said, stating that JL provided strong competition. "I am just happy that I've walked away with the top spot and it's only up from here. So look out, Jamaica because T Rizzy is coming."