The 2008 Bliss-Heineken Green Synergy Music Awards finale was fierce from the word “go”.
Contestants in the last round of the mixed music competition Friday brought their A-Game, challenging judges to pick winners from the best performances overall in seven weeks.
At the end, rapper Darin “Versatile” Hodge, vocalist Keila Gumbs, the funk-soul ensemble called One White Chic Band, dancer “King Melodie” and Bliss house DJ Nachum “The Most Shady Franky, Baby” Frank each won $1,000 and scored performances at the 2009 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
Singers, rappers, DJs and bands have faced-off each week since the end of June in a competition that promised cash prizes, performing contracts with Bliss nightclub and coveted spots at the annual Regatta’s nighttime concerts.
Each night, one or two contestants in a category stepped up to the microphone to prove they had the skills to make it into the finals. A rotating panel of judges from Bliss, Heineken, Laser 101 and The Daily Herald scored each performer individually, and the final scores led to the finals’ matchups.
Nine were chosen for the final round; two rappers, two DJs, two bands and three vocalists. Two finalists were also selected in the Heineken Green Synergy Steps dance competition, a last-minute addition to the contest.
Two-time Teen Times Talent Showdown winner and 2007 St. Maarten Star Search first runner-up Keila Gumbs tore out of the gates with her trademark high-notes, prepping the crowd for a night of hot action.
Next up, reggae vocalist Addie “Shadowman” Richardson slung original melodies and lyrics about love and unity at an anxious crowd, before singer/songwriter “Suky” rounded off the first category with a dramatized performance of Jennifer Hudson’s “You’re Gonna Love Me”.
While Percy Rankin’s “With or Without You” rendition and their original songs seemed to win over a larger portion or the crowd at the start, past regatta performers One White Chic proved brought more than they could handle and impressed the judges to clinch the win.
“King Melodie” performed unopposed. His fellow finalist was a no-show, but Melodie still delivered a mix of tricky pop-locks and body contortions into the Green Synergy Steps, a pre-arranged set of moves created for the competition.
From there, it was a cross-border clash of rappers and DJs from both sides of The Friendly Island.
Dutch side rapper Versatile outmatched opponent MC “Sloggy” from French St. Martin in his usual high-energy performing style, ending an impressive three-song set with his popular Welcome to St. Maarten track.
Then, DJ Nachum and DJ Pana battled. Cross-over mixing, music selection and crowd response were the criteria that the judges used to select Nachum, Bliss house DJ and well-know performer, as the winner after 15 minutes of heated dance-floor action. DJ Pana used his unique style of house, hip-hop, Latin and R&B, but could not stop Nachum’s mixture that spiked dancehall and more hip-hop into the equation.
Some contestants were surprised that they had won, but the crowd apparently agreed with the judges on who deserved to win.
DJ Nachum is poised to represent St. Maarten/St. Martin next month in St. Lucia for a chance at the regional Green Synergy DJ finals in Curacao.
Check out our PHOTO GALLERY for pictures of every night of the Green Synergy competition.
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