Sea Star Inn crowns karaoke champion
Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:Twenty-year-old Shelly Dean-Bartley of Sheffield in Westmoreland, was crowned karaoke champion at the finale of the Sea Star Inn inaugural 13-week competition, held Monday night at the West End resort.
"This is an unbelievable feeling!" exclaimed Dean-Bartley, following her win. "I know I did well, but all the other contestants also did a fabulous job. I am very grateful for the opportunity presented by Sea Star to come here and perform. Working as an entertainment coordinator, it was hard for me to find the time to do this competition, but I was very determined to live my dream."
Competing against three other finalists, Abigail Arthurs, Iesha Sterling and Norman 'Touch of Gold' Gayle, Dean-Bartley pulled away from other contestants by dominating the stage with exciting performances, complete with dance routines and several costume changes throughout each of her five rounds of competition.
In fact, the judges all agreed that Dean-Bartley's ability to deliver a full show and entertain her audience was what gave her the advantage, as the vocal skills of the other contestants were equally as good.
"She did more than just sing; she brought out a full performance tonight," said Christopher Tomney, owner of Sea Star Inn. "She entertained more than everybody else and audience members enjoyed her presentation. That is what gave her the edge, as this was a very close competition," he added.
Among the repertoire of songs performed at Monday night's show were hits from legends Diana Ross, Celine Dion and the late Whitney Houston. Patrons who packed inside Sea Star Inn's open-air sports bar and restaurant to witness the performances cheered non-stop for their favourite contestants. As the night wore on, promising signs of Dean-Bartley's win were evident from the huge applause she received after each performance.
The biggest upset of the night, though, came when 'Touch of Gold' was announced fourth-place winner. Many audience members thought that he should have placed higher because he was, arguably, the most consistent singer of the night.
Abigail Arthurs' powerful voice landed her a well-deserved second place, while the other contestant, Iesha Sterling, came third.
Still, the finale remained a major success, as, along with the performances from karaoke finalists, there were several other contests throughout the night, including a series of dance-offs among patrons that saw each winner being awarded a monetary prize from Sea Star.
In-house cabaret singer Sasanya Dawson also did an excellent job of keeping patrons entertained in-between karaoke rounds. Her lap-dance performance to Lady Saw's hit single, Heels On, with one lucky patron was another of the night's major highlights.
Dean-Bartley was awarded a cash prize of $100,000; Arthurs received $50,000, Sterling, $25,000, and 'Touch of Gold', $15,000.