Sunday, 18 July 2010

‘Miss Manchester’ cops top prize, but pirates and buccaneers steal the show at 2010 Festival Queen coronation

A MOMENT LIKE THIS: Johnnel Smith reacts to being announced the winner of the 2010 Miss Jamaica Festival Queen crown.

WELL DONE: Culture minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange congratulates Johnnel Smith on winning the 2010 title.

A splendidly costumed host of pirates, buccaneers and crew brought a refreshingly original atmosphere to the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Saturday night for the 2010 coronation of the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen. The throwback theme offered a lovely touch to the production of this year’s leg of the annual showcase that was always in need of an injection of freshness and exuberance. Mission accomplished. The largely celebratory vibe and reminiscence on the Henry Morgan days of Port Royal kept patrons interested in the happenings onstage, even when minor glitches threatened to ruin the revelry. The precise, smart set design (an interpretation of the quaint composition of Port Royal’s Fort Charles) only served to enhance the ambience.

Where the show’s proceedings are concerned, the brilliant Miss Manchester (Johnnel Smith) proved a worthy victor, greatly impressing both the judges and the audience with her incredible poise and heightened cultural awareness. Second place went to my childhood friend Tyesha Turner (born in St. Elizabeth, but now repping Kingston & St. Andrew), while Trelawny’s girl Chloe Trowers took third. Rounding out the top five were Miss St. Catherine (Kenisha Allen) and early crowd favourite Miss Hanover (Angelita McDonald).

The contestants were largely found wanting when it came to their talent pieces. (Did they all have to do ‘dramatic’ presentations?). So, thankfully, the guest performers with the help of the swash-buckling pirates and buccaneers of the Wolmers’ Dance Troupe and the Spanish Town Dance Theatre Company offered some respite. Ana and Samantha Strachan dazzled in their figure-hugging mini-dresses during their rendition of the squiggly, finger-snappy “Dancing Queen”. Channelling her inner revel, Cameal Davis showed off her luscious curves in a close-fitting black and red ensemble complete with pirate’s hat for her bouncy takes on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and the Aretha Franklin Motown jammer “Freeway of Love.” Homegirl Aisha Davis, similarly attired, then closed out the Pirate’s Cabaret segment with her multi-octave originals “Survivor” and “Murder”. I also enjoyed the violin stylings of the fabulous Trio Bella, who appeared earlier in the show, as well as the ever-magical Fab 5 band.

Comperes (aka ‘The Mistresses of the Revels’) Paula-Ann Porter-Jones and Sherando Ferrill) kept the pace brisk and connected with their lively banter, occasional friendly bickering and an effortless overall handling of the programme, which kept the show engaging and at a tight three hours. Executed by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), under the theme “Jamaican Women… Shaping Our Culture,” the 2010 coronation was sponsored by Television Jamaica (TV J) and Claro, among several other entities.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE: Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2010 Johnnel Smith (centre) is flanked by 1st runner-up Tyesha Turner and 2nd runner-up Chloe Trowers.

Related Posts:

* 2010 Miss Jamaica Festival Queen: The Complete List of Winners…

* Culture Bits: JCDC gets a fat cheque + Bolt reaches out + Buju is a “curious case”

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