Organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC,) an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the concert saw the 30 semi-finalists go head to head for one of the coveted top ten spots as they tried to outperform each other in front of a global audience that included viewers from Mexico, USA, Canada and Australia. The choir makes history as the largest group to enter and make it into the final round of the competition.
The finalists are: Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God with its song Strong Jamaican, written by Patrick Kitson; Oneil Scott with Jamaica A Wi Home; Karel Wisdom with Hands on your Heart, written by Wisdom, M. Bennett and G Wright; Radcliffe Palmer with The Type of Jamaica, Victor Richards with Jamaica Wi Rich, Roger Mendez with I Love Jamaica, written by Sheea-Ann Hewan; Tanice Morrison with Jamaica You Nice Enuh; Everton Pessoa with Jamaica’s Formula; Dennis McKay with Wi Big All Around and Courick Clarke with Let’s Do It Jamaica.
“For over 50 years, this Competition has enriched our community of local talent with meaningful exposure, on a local and even international stage. We have made every effort to make this year’s competition bigger and better than before. This year we have seen a record number of more than 200 entries. That tells me that Festival Song is alive and well. And we have pulled out all the stops to ensure that we have a record prize package of ten million dollars so I am sure that success in this competition will be a life changing experience for the winners.” Said Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange.
Grange further stated that following on their selection, the top ten finalists will now participate in a series of performances across all 14 parishes. This Road Tour will lead up to the Competition’s Grand Final in July, at which time the ultimate song, the one that will form the soundtrack for Jamaica’s 56th anniversary of Independence, will be selected.