JCDC Popular Song winner, Stefan Penincilin, as he performed his winning entry, 'Jamaican Tour Guide', last Saturday night at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St. Andrew. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
STEFAN PENINCILIN took Jamaicans on a musical tour of their island on Saturday night.
At the end of his 'lyrical excursion', he walked away with first place prize in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Popular Song contest for 2003 with his entry Jamaican Tour Guide.
The JCDC National Popular Song Contest was held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road in St. Andrew.
Stefan Penincilin, whose real name is Stavan Whyte, got the nod from the judges with his entry, which gave the names of several of Jamaica's attractions. Whyte was also the winner of the 2001 Tastee Talent Contest.
Being the victor of Saturday night's contest, the talented Whyte walked away with $120,000 for finishing on top and also writing the winning entry. He also received the JCDC trophy as well as the Stage Records trophy.
He also made a sweep of the sectional prizes, getting the 'Best Composer' trophy, the 'People's Choice Award' and 'Best Performer' trophy.
Whyte finished ahead of Vinny Taylor, who received $30,000 for his second-place entry Happy Home and an additional $30,000 for being the writer of the song. Third place went to John Spencer, who got $20,000. He also got an additional $20,000 for being the composer of his entry, Let's Join Hands.
It was clear from the outset that Stefan Penincillin was the top contender for the title. His warm-up item Farmer Man, which won him the 2001 Tastee Talent Contest, brought the audience at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre to its feet when he entered the stage on a bicycle with bananas and other food items strapped to his body.
With his dancers dressed in farm wear and doing dances that looked similar to someone working on a farm, Whyte had the venue in a frenzied mood. It was clear he had put some thought into his act. He even had a dancer dressed as a pest controller who danced and pretended to spray weeds on the farm.
When he returned with his Popular Song entry later in the night, he came out with colours blazing. His costume, made up of the national colours, and with a handcart to represent a tour bus, Whyte brought the audience to its feet again. Not only did he have the dancers for his piece, he also had some tourists in tow. A male and female on the cart waved to the audience and represented the tourists as he went through the entry confidently.
Chairs were lifted in support of Whyte, while others cheered him on by waving placards. There was no other performer that got the support that Whyte received.
As one patron stated after Whyte had completed his entry, "Di show done. Mi get mi $300 worth, mi caan go home now. Mr. Reporter yuh caan go home to an' jus' fill in him name in a di winner's section cause him done win already."
Aside from Penincilin, however, several of the other finalists did well. John Spencer's warm-up item Bridge Over Troubled Water was a good effort despite not getting mass support. Vinny Taylor had some support, especially in the back of the audience for the song Sitting Here In Limbo and he earned additional cheers when he stripped off his white robe to reveal a brown suit in the warm-up segment.
Chetenge's dancer got the attention of some of the men, who were just as occupied with her hairstyle as with her gyrations. Tito Salmon's performance of Lean On Me was not a bad effort, although he was mocked in a friendly fashion by some members of the crowd.
The ten entrants did not leave empty-handed and were winners in their own right. For reaching the finals, Chentenge, King Nykomo, Tito Salmon, Baya Ford, The Contractors, Robbie Forbes and Donnette Townsend received gold medals and a gift package from Pepsi each.
Technically, the show was a good one although it ran behind schedule. The crowd was well-behaved for the most part and emcee Jerry D added to the nights' entertainment with his antics.