AMONG the changes for the 10th season of Digicel Rising Stars was the inclusion of judge Craig Thompson, popularly known as Craigy T from dancehall quartet T.O.K.
Throughout the season, viewers and contestants benefited from his insightful critique of the performances.
"It was really beautiful," the well-spoken Thompson told the Jamaica Observer. "I really had a lot of fun, even though the talent pool left a lot to be desired. A very talented musician won and that is the aim of the show, to find an unpolished diamond."
The 2013 season culminated on Sunday night with saxophonist Veraldo Small taking the top spot over vocalist Kadian Thompson.
Craigy T also stated that the family climate associated with the show's cast and crew added to a successful season.
For Craigy T, the high point was the winner being a musician.
"This should open the doors for a number of musicians and point to the fact that you can compete against singers using your talents and instrument."
He reiterated that the paltry talent pool was a low point.
"I wished the talent was stronger. However, I think we missed a lot of really good singers at the auditions simply because they did not know how to deliver."
He cautions potential entrants to relax and just sing, noting: "Some people have really great voices, but get full of themselves and therefore do not give the best of themselves."
Out of this Rising Stars experience, Craigy T is venturing into the world of mentoring and artiste management.
He has taken singer Kenny Smith, a finalist from the show, under his wing and has already recorded one track, I Love You, with this artiste.
"Kenny has a lot to offer. It is my first venture into management, but I have always been looking for that artiste with not only the talent, but also the humility to focus and not get caught up in the hype. I feel that with the right mentorship from me Kenny can become successful."
With Rising Stars out of the way Craigy T picks up his T.O.K hat and continues work on the group's next album which is due next year.