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Judges agree No Weh Like Jamaica - Oneil 'Nazzleman' Scott is 2016 Festival Song winner

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 7:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Oneil ‘Nazzleman’ Scott (left) beams as he holds his cheque after winning the 2016 JCDC Festival Song Competition finals at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Saturday night. Sharing in the presentation is Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.
Reneive Fletcher, who placed second in the 2016 JCDC Festival Song Competition, performing at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Saturday night.
The 2016 Festival Song Competition finalists on stage at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, on Saturday night.
Eustace Lewis
Wayne Watkins
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Oneil Scott, more popularly known as Nazzleman, walked away the winner of the 2016 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Festival Song Competition on Saturday night.

The finals, staged at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew, pulled a large crowd as Jamaicans and foreigners came out to witness patriotism at its best. While the festival songs were undoubtedly the night's main attraction, the crowd didn't mind waiting for the big moment. Audience members sat patiently as the top 10 finalists thrilled them with warm-up performances in the first segment of the night's entertainment package. In this section, finalists had the opportunity to sing whatever they wanted. With that freedom, they took the time to thoroughly entertain the welcoming crowd, which rocked and sang along to their selections.

 

EXCEPTIONAL TALENT

 

While all the contestants added their own unique flare and style to their performances, some stood out more than others, and Scott was one of this year's exceptional talents. In the first segment, he thrilled the audience with a medley of Ken Boothe selections. Singing songs such as Moving Away, The Train is Coming, and Freedom Street, Scott had the audience totally captivated, and it was clear by the end of his first performance that he was one of the ones to watch out for in the main event.

When the moment of reckoning came, Scott did not disappoint. His song, No Weh Like Jamaica, had audience members out of their seats and dancing as he reminded Jamaicans just how blessed they were to be citizens of this great nation. Scott not only won the overall title, but also copped the coveted sectional prize of Best Performance. He won $600,000 in cash for his efforts.

Scott was, no doubt, a favourite to win, but accomplishing that proved no easy feat as he had to fight off serious competition. Reneive Fletcher, Wayne Watkins, Everton Pessoa, and the Mento Tones also thrilled the audience with their performances and were some of the night's other favourites. Fletcher copped second place for her entry titled Tun Up The Music, while Mento Tones was third with their song, Bring Back Di Peace and Love.

The 10 finalists in this year's competition put on a remarkable show and were described by many in attendance as one of the best groups seen in the competition in recent years. The incomparable Fab 5, Abby Dallas, Lee-roy 'Ancient Priest' Johnson, and Roy Rayon were some of the night's special guest performers. They were all well received by the audience.

Saturday night's staging of the annual Festival Song Competition marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most anticipated events on the country's cultural calendar. The Festival Song Competition began in 1966 and has a rich history embedded in the cultural legacy of Jamaica. Eric Donaldson, The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and Tinga Stewart are some of the past winners.