As promised, we now bring you the review of Digicel Rising Stars 2010:
[Digicel Rising Stars is the Jamaican equivalent of American Idol. It scouts Jamaican musical talent from all over the island and then gives them exposure on TV.
The winner gets a million dollars and one year of free credit from Digicel. (This year's winner also got a free video).
Rising Stars' main sponsor is Digicel, the Caribbean's leading mobile services provider.
The elimination process to arrive at the final ten (10) contestants and their progress throughout the competition, is determined by votes from the Jamaican populace].
This review will seek to answer the following questions:
1) Is Digicel Rising Stars living up to expectations?
2) Does its present format need changing?
3) Do contestants really get the exposure they deserve?
We'll answer these questions, below...
This year's Digicel Rising Stars was refreshing...
Because, a young:
1) Lady by the name of Camaley, came second, despite having a physical disability that causes her to sometimes walk with the help of a walking stick.
This became obvious about the 3rd week into the Finals of the competition, when we noticed that she at a lot.
Despite her disability, she wooed the crowd and showed Jamaica that people with disabilities, are really able to do almost anything, if only given half a chance.
2) Man, Dalton Harris, despite his youthful 16 years, showed Jamaica that he was a star from the very beginning, as he refused to crack under the heavy criticism of judge - Anthony Miller - a judge known for his biting, but truthful comments.
Dalton maintained his composure, even though being doubtful at times, of the public's love.
I say that these moments were refreshing, as the Digicel Rising Stars competition, now in it's 8th year, has always been a hit with Jamaicans, not only because it's well produced, but because of its association with Title Sponsor- Digicel - a company that has positively changed the mobile telecommunications landscape in Jamaica.
This year, like the year before, the real interest started when the final ten (10) contestants from all parishes, were showcased and the public given the opportunity to vote someone off each week.
Unfortunately for Rising Stars, the only entertainment value of the Parish Eliminations continues to be provided by those rejected - due to them either being unprepared for this type of competition, or being downright talent flops.
This means that year/season 8 (2011), has got to be different.
So let's answer the review questions, now:
1) Is Digicel Rising Stars living up to expectations?
I'd say for the most part, yes - the public expects:
a) To be entertained...
- The hosts on stage and in the Chill Room, the song selections, the actual performances by contestants and their mistakes which cause their elimination each week and the complimentary personalities of the three (3) judges - Nadine Sutherland, Anthony Miller and Clyde McKenzie, do provide this important aspect of any TV show.
(The Chill Room segment gives the contestants the opportunity to speak to the public and garner their support, whilst allowing contestants to be interviewed by top Jamaican artistes and the Chill Room host).
Digicel delivers well on this expectation.
b) A music show, which allows them to vote for their favorite contestant each week. (Digicel also delivers well on this expectation).
c) To see a well-deserving young person (preferably from a very poor background), win a million dollars.
Digicel also delivers well on this expectation.
So Digicel has earned high marks here for living up to the public's expectations: Score 95%
Which brings me to question no.2 :
2) Does the present format of Digicel Rising Stars need changing?
To this, I'd say a resounding yes!!!
For despite jazzing up the set (stage and backdrop) each year, the Jamaican public is yearning for something new from Digicel Rising Stars.
We're frankly quite tired of the same old format...it's becoming too monotonous - the actual performances on stage, followed by the the Chill Room segments; then the feature where we're taken to venues that the final contestants visit as a team (to give exposure to the venue's owners), is becoming too predictable.
This format has got to change in order to spice Digicel Rising Stars up a bit.
But that's what they pay script writers the big bucks for, eh?...I'll allow them to do their job. :)
So Digicel scores 40% for format.
Now to the last question...
3) Do Rising Stars contestants really get the exposure they deserve?
Well if you listened closely to 2009 winner, Brown Suga - the answer is no...despite her being featured in a Digicel ad that was televised across the Caribbean in 2009, she's only just releasing her first album. We hardly saw or heard anything from her until about four (4) months ago.
In fact, the only Digicel Rising Stars (winners and finalists) who've made it big on the Jamaican scene and internationally, are Christopher Martin - the Digicel Rising Star winner for 2005, Laden, who placed in the top ten (10) of the competition in 2006 and Romain Virgo - 2007 Rising Stars winner, who is just now doing international shows.
Besides these, we've heard very little from other Rising Stars winners or finalists, even though prior to 2009, winners were supposed to have been given recording contracts.
So that's three (3) Rising Stars contestants who've made it big out of 70 finalists (10 finalists x 7 years) = 3/70 or 4.2%.
So if we use American Idol as the benchmark or standard, then Rising Stars scores a 4.2/10 = 42% for exposure.
So taking the above scores and averaging them together, Digicel Rising Stars, based on the above three (3) questions, is performing at an average of 59% (the average of 95%,40%,42%).
Which leaves lots of room for improvement if this show is to take prime time spot elsewhere in the broader Caribbean (they already have similar shows in Barbados and Trinidad) and internationally.
But this is our opinion...
What do you think?
1) Digicel Rising Stars competition from 2004-2010, aired on Television Jamaica, 2004-2010
2) Wikipedia article, "List of American Idol Finalists", accessed October 23,2010
3) Article,"'American Idol' Contestants: A Look Back",by Adam Horne, PopEater.com,accessed October 23,2010
4) Article,"THE DIGICEL RISING STARS FINALE SET", via the Jamaica Star, September 17,2010
5) Article, "Seven years at the top - Rising Stars continues to do well", Jamaica Gleaner, August 29,2010.