TEENage Expression Tour: Newell High

Kristen Laing

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

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NESTLED on the outskirts of Black River in St Elizabeth we found the latest stop on our Expressions Tour journey, the charming Newell High School. The well-behaved students of Newell High were ready and raring to go, as they hyped themselves up in anticipation of the mostly vocal talents of their fellow students.

The first performer, Richard Reynolds Jr, stage-named Banki, opened the show with a bang!

Banki had the crowd screaming and cheering him on as he deejayed his original song about the greatness of his school, aptly named Newell High.

Javan Burrell, going as J Black, was the second performer and deejay on the stage. Performing his original song Nah Cheat, he kept the audience's attention by serenading a female student.

Another deejay, Kemarly 'Kempo' Lindo, was next, deejaying his original peiece about the hardships of ghetto life called Head Mad.

After, deejay J Black was back, this time with his musical sidekick Malcome Redwood, stage-named DJ Molly, performing their original dancehall collaboration Girls Love Wi.

The first break in the competition was for the question and answer segment, which saw students Stacy-Ann Muir, Natasha Blair and Donnie McIntyre all walking away with prizes from our sponsors Flow and Seprod.

Coming out of the break, another deejay took to the stage. This time Chavaine 'ML' Warner impressed the crowd with his conscious, original song, Teach Di Yutes Dem Right.

Following ML was the Shan Squad dance group. The dance duo, consisting of students Shereen Sterling and Shanie Myers, treated the audience to a dancehall inspired piece; a nice break from all the previous vocal pieces.

The second break in the competition was for a special teacher's edition of the question and answer segment.

Teacher after teacher rushed comically to the stage to answer the question 'What is the TEENage tagline?'. After about three different hilarious let-downs, teacher Deshanna Simpson finally correctly answered the question and won a prize from our sponsors.

After the laughter had died down from the teachers' question-and-answer segment, it was back to the programme.

Ann-Marie Elliott poured herself into an a capella rendition of Romain Virgo's Don't You Remember, which stirred the crowd. Following her, was Robert 'JQ' Waite, who deejayed I-Octane's Suffer too Long.

Next on stage was deejay Romareo Powell, going as Hot Blacks, who deejayed his original song Pree Life Suh.

Adrian Whyne, or deejay Spenny B as he is better known to his schoolmates, took to the stage next, deejaying his original song and crowd favourite, Baby Girl, which earned him a loud forward fom the crowd.

Following was Ramona McFarlane, who sang Nicki Minaj's Right by My Side.

After, both performers Shanie Myers and ML were back on stage, this time performing with each other as the dance duo Mad Squad. They did a dancehall-inspired piece to Tommy Lee's Psycho, which earned them all of the crowd's attention.

Another break in the competition's line-up led to a dance-off between students Andre Beecher, Christoph Ennevor and Davion Hanson, in which the winner would battle teacher Marcha Simpson.

After the three young dancers showed the crowd their best dance moves, the crowd decided that only Davion Hason would move up to the next round. In round two, Hanson battled teacher Simpson to the latest dancehall songs, which got the crowd up out of their seats in excitement.

When the smoke from their fancy footwork had cleared, the crowd decided they were both winners and gave them a worthy round of applause to prove it.

Coming out of the break, deejay ML treated the crowd to another performance; this time, of his original song Baby Love Me. Following him Nicholas Gordon did a catchy, original dub poem about the troubles of his young life, entitled Problem.

The last performance of the afternoon brought back deejays Banki and J Black to the stage; this time doing a collaboration of their original song Leggo Dem Company, which was positively received by the crowd.

As the last performers left the stage, it was announced that it was finally time in the Cool Fruit Drink-off Competition. Six Cool Fruit student competition hopefuls entered the Cool Fruit arena, two box drinks in hand; but in the end it was only student Ravean Falconer, who could hold both his empty boxes upside down in victory.

Following the student drink-off, four teachers were lead onto the stage to battle for their own drink-off competition. Teachers Dwane Vernon, Marcha Simpson, Sania Green, and Camilo Barrett all entered the Cool Fruit arena, cheered on by their students; but after the first round, only Sania Green and Camilo Barrett were still in the running.

Round two started quickly as the students chanted the names of their favourite teacher: "Ms Green!', "Mr Barrett!" But just as quickly as it started, it was over, and the students loudly and unanimously declared Sania Green the winner.

When the crowd had finally quieted down enough following the Teachers drink-off, it was announced that the judges had tallied their scores and the winners were chosen.

In third place was a tie between the dance group Shan Squad and singer Ann-Marie Elliot, while second place went to crowd-favourite deejay ML. Taking first place and a chance to compete in the Expressions Tour Finals in June was Newell High's biggest sensation, deejay Banki.






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