Digicel Rising Stars Receives Praise For Newly Added Gospel Theme

After tropical storm Gustav passed over Jamaica, the producers of Digicel Rising Stars offered a gospel-themed night Sunday last, August 31. Though there are no indications that the tropical storm had anything to do with the event, many viewers are very pleased with the latest addition in genre to the talent competition.

One Christian patron expressed his feeling on the gospel-themed night: “They (Digicel Rising Stars) change the musical theme each week and allow contestants to do most musical genres so gospel is warranted.  We are a Christian country and we have the most churches per square mile so it makes sense.  Most people start singing at church so what’s better than to have a gospel theme.”

Series producer Sharon Schroeter explains the reason behind the new decision: “It’s an idea that we have been playing with for a long time. But it is as Kiki said in the Sony Ericsson Chill Room ‘nothing happens before the right time’ and I believe that this year and this batch of contestants were ripe for the introduction of our gospel section and the guest performer; which in no way detracted from the competition and the contestants.”

Sunday August 31, a night to be listed as the latest addition to Digicel Rising Stars ‘new  package’ for the season five, had a rousing night with gospel renditions from the remaining six finalist, which closed off with the first ever guest performance. The guest performance came from gospel artiste Goddy Goddy with a catchy new song Chaka Chi, and to complete the entire gospel-themed night Goddy Goddy’s brother, Ryan Mark, was the Sony Ericsson Chill Room guest artiste. While the presence of a guest performer  came as a surprise, it definitely accentuated the gospel-themed night and saw patrons on their feet jumping, clapping and praising, including all three judges moving to Goddy Goddy’s performance.

“Sunday’s performance was excellent,” commented Judge Nadine Sutherland. Recalling of the night’s acts Sutherland added: “The contestants were truly great. I particularly liked K’Alee performance; you could see that she connected with something deep inside her and I felt that.”

Anthony confirmed Nadine’s comment when he commented of K’Alee’s performance: “In patches I felt the spirit.”  The night also saw Judge Anthony Miller rocking to Goddy Goddy’s new song.

Other renditions for the night got good praises including Cameal Davis who started off the evening delivering Yolanda Adams’ I Rise which  moved all the judges with a “somber” and ‘crying in her voice,’  according to Nadine in her comments. SLR did Mary Mary’s Shackles; Judy Mowatt’s Many Are Called was preformed by Lashana Stephenson; Papa San’s God and I came from Secret Melodies; K’Alee charged with Kirk Franklin’s Free and Khalil delivered the final blow of Hush a-cappella.

Sharon Schoeter commented on the success of the night: “The reactions so far has been great, I haven’t heard any bad comments about our decision to add gospel as a genre to the Digicel Rising Stars.  The comments from persons at Sunday’s show are just great, and you could also see that persons were pleasantly surprised.”

Digicel’s Rising Stars, which began in 2004, is the premiere reality talent show on local television. It showcases untapped Jamaican talent and brings it to the forefront in fine style. Rated as the most watched programme on the Jamaican television, it regularly attracts an estimated one million viewers.