Season 8 of the popular Jamaican talent show, Digicel Rising Stars came to a dramatic conclusion last night as 17 year old, Chantel “Tash” Lamont was announced as the winner of the competition.
It was a nerve-racking end to a two-hour long season finale that witnessed performances from former Rising Stars competitors during this past season including Jah Flamez, Dominic Young & third place winner, Delando “16” Colley. Furthermore, former Rising Stars winners, Brown Sugah & Dalton Harris performed for the anxious crowd at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. There were also a plethora of special guests who made appearances at the event as emerging Reggae superstar, Proteje performed alongside the aforementioned Dominic Young while another prominent Reggae singer, Tarrus Riley also graced the stage.
At almost 11pm local time, Lamont, along with fellow fan favorite, Latoya “Latty J” Jackson stood beside Rising Stars host, Terri-Karelle Reid awaiting the highly anticipated results. Though Latty J enjoyed a strong run of success after she was brought back as the producer’s pick following a surprisingly early elimination, it was Tash who would lay claim to the title and a cheque for JA$1 million.
For her efforts, Latty J was presented with a cheque for JA$600,000 & joined an emotional Tash on stage as they performed during the victory ceremony. Tash was then serenaded by Tarrus Riley, who performed his classic single, “Lion Paw” alongside the young singer in a heartfelt duet.
After the show’s conclusion, Tash expressed joy & shock regarding her victory; insisting she felt she wasn’t walking away with the first prize Sunday night. I feel great. Working this hard to be number one, it’s a wonderful feeling, an excellent feeling. There are no words to express this,” Tash told the Jamaica STAR. She then intimated, “I was fretting because I felt like I wouldn’t win. The training was getting hard, rumors were spreading about me; people were saying bad things. I was very nervous.”
Tash was considered by many observers as the best & most consistent act throughout the 3 month long season. With strong vocals accompanied by savvy performance skills & versatility amongst various genres, she became an instant hit with fans & Rising Stars judges alike; culminating in her victory.
Tash’s win marked the second consecutive year in which as singer under the age of 18 won the Digicel Rising Stars competition. Last year’s winner, Dalton Harris was only 16 at the time of his win.