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Jody-Kay James wins epic battle of the Kays

Crowned Digicel Rising Star 2015

Published:Monday | September 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Jody K is the Digicel 2015 Rising Stars winner. Here she poses with her million-dollar cheque at the Courtleigh Audiroium on Sunday.
Singer Alaine (right) gives a warm embrace to Jody K.
The ASHE Performing Arts Group opened the night’s proceedings.
Christopher Martin performing at the Digicel Rising Stars show on Sunday September 27, 2015.
Romaine Virgo performing at the Digicel Rising Stars show on Sunday September 27, 2015.

She sang her heart out every week, and on Sunday, biology teacher Jody-Kay James walked away with the 2015 Digicel Rising Stars title in an epic battle of the Kays.

James grew into maturity as a performer from Sunday to Sunday, and as she grew, so did her fan base. Soon, she became the competition's favourite and the one to beat for the title. Her competition, Marsha K, entered the battle late as the wild card of Conroy Wilson. She had a lot of work to do to catch up to James, but week after week, she put in strong performances and gained ground on James in the final weeks.

It was a closer race than many would have expected initially, but when the curtains closed, the long-time favourite and the front-runner for most of the competition emerged the winner.

The grand finale of the 12th staging was one of the biggest and most anticipated in recent years. The TVJ studios had been home of the finals for the past few years, but this year's support was so huge that the grand finale had to be moved to the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston to accommodate everyone.

If the change of venue was not enough to convince you of the quality of this year's show the crowd outside the auditorium before the show would have. Scores of Jamaicans turned up at the venue, some as early as 5 p.m., to join lines at the door of the venue. When The Gleaner team arrived at approximately 7:30 p.m., there was a huge crowd outside the doors and the security guards had to be working overtime to contain the large gathering.


one of the best shows

When the show started, every performance from start to finish proved that this year's show was one of the best in years. The ASHE Performing Arts Group opened the night's proceedings with a reggae medley. They were followed by Universe and Almando.

Though they were eliminated early in the competition, the duo was a clear crowd favourite. Their rendition of John Legend's Everybody Knows kept the momentum established by the ASHE group alive. Roxy J, the competition's resident Gospel singer, was next on stage. She performed, When Jesus Say Yes, then made way for J Keida, followed by Roshelle Harris. Both put in decent performances before making way for Vanity Club.

The 'rocker boys' put in a blazing performance of Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss A Thing, and had the audience singing along to every note. Fourth-place finisher Samantha Bogle was next, and she performed a soulful rendition of Meghan Trainor's Dear Future Husband. Anna Mariah, (third-place winner) put in a high-energy performance with her cover of Bang Bang. She had the audience rocking out of their seats and showed just why she copped the third-place spot.

The night was action-packed with one great performance after another, including items from Vanessa Bling, Devin Di Dakkta and last year's runner-up, Jay L, as well as past winners Christopher Martin and Romain Virgo, but the audience was ready to see their top two take the stage. Based on the screams, when both K's graced the stage for a performance together, Jamaica was pleased with their choices.

Packing some powerful vocals, the top two put in a thrilling performance of Rachel Platten's Fight Song and proved why they were the last two standing. The announcement was made and Jody-K was crowned the 2015 Digicel Rising Star. She thanked Jamaica for their support before thrilling the audience one last time with her cover of Kelly Clarkson's Heartbeat Song.

As part of her prize, she takes home $1 million in cash and an album distribution deal.