Tanya Batson-Savage, Freelance Writer
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, the 18-year-old crooner who seemed to have a musical soul far older than his years, captured the title of Rising Star 2005 on Friday night. The announcement was made in a much scaled down version of what should have originally been the final results show, at the TVJ studios before a live audience.
As his final song in the competition, he delivered A Change Gon' Come. In keeping with the words of the song it seemed that between mid-April and Friday night, the road to the end of Rising Stars 2005 had been a long time coming. It was also quite evident, that a change would likely come upon the unassuming but friendly young man who had won the hearts and the necessary votes of many Jamaicans.
The competition had come down to a choice between Martin, who hails from St. Catherine, and 28-year-old Noddy Virtue of St. Elizabeth. Though voting was long over by Friday night's show, both Virtue and Martin seemed intent upon leaving the audience with a performance that would remain etched on their minds for a while to come.
Virtue made a spectacular impression with Broken Arrow and Rebel in Me. The latter was presumably the song which thrust him into real contention for the Rising Star label. "Da bwoi ya bad like AIDS," commented one man in the audience as Virtue revved into fifth gear during Rebel in Me.
Martin also drew for two of his strongest pieces with a medley and True Reflection. His choices were also the pieces that helped to cement his rise to the top as he showed an unexpected versatility when he dipped into the reservoir of Jamaican contemporary music.
NO UNFRIENDLY RIVALRY
There was clearly much effort to not make the studio final a repeat of the performances that were cut short last Friday when chaos erupted at Emancipation Park.
It was also clear that the organisers wanted to squash any semblance of an unfriendly rivalry between the two singers, allowing both to perform the opening number with Daynea Deacon, Prince J, Chanti I, Shari and Natel as back up vocalists, while Dance Xpressions provided movement. The move was well received by the studio audience who delighted in watching the two perform.
Along with the Rising Star 2005 title, Martin also earned $500,000.00 in cash and $100,000.00 in call credit along with a Sony Ericsson cellular phone from Digicel, who sponsored the event. More importantly, he earned a recording and publishing contract from Gee Jam studios in Portland.
Virtue's prizes included $300,000.00 in cash and $75,000.00 in call credit.