Last night Caribbean nationals globally watched alongside the rest of the world as Tessanne Chin was crowned the Season Five winner of The Voice. Let me say this, from the beginning, no one in Jamaica (at home or abroad) really doubted that Tessanne would win.
Throughout the competition, Tessanne’s performances consistently improved each week. This was no small feat considering the flawlessness of her audition. Nonetheless, she somehow managed to find some extra depth that helped her to peak and further distance herself from the other competitors at just the right time.
Just a few weeks ago, it seemed Champlin had a shot at winning, then, out of nowhere came Jacquie as an alleged fan favorite, despite her ridiculously over-the-top rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby.” Before that, Matthew Schuler, James Wolpert and Cole Vosbury were all way ahead of Tessanne on the iTunes songs chart.
Tessanne’s performance with Celine Dion on last night’s show was beautiful. I loved the way in which Celine Dion interacted with her; at one point I texted Marika “a really Celine Dion that?” She reassured me it was. I had to check, because she interacted with Tessanne as though she was sharing the stage with someone with whom she was very familiar and comfortable, not a fan, or someone who looks up to her. There was no ego in play.
While Tessanne offers an interesting marketing hook as the first mixed-race non-American to win a major U.S. reality singing competition, I’m almost worried about her commercial appeal beyond that. Can she sing? Of course. But powerhouse female vocalists are a dime a dozen these days, not to mention the dismal record of reality TV competition winners. She will really have to step it up to stay afloat and ascend further.
Season Four winner Danielle Bradbery’s recently released debut album only sold 41,000 copies in its first week. This should not be a hard mark for Tess to eclipse, but, its very mediocre.
Tessanne closed the night out by singing an original song written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, titled “Tumbling Down”.
Moving forward, will we continue to support Tessanne and rep #teambreadandbutta and #chinitagoodaz? I hope we do, if for nothing else but the fact that at a time when Jamaica’s identity has been much maligned on the world stage, she has been an exemplary ambassador for brand Jamaica. She has been “Jamaican” the whole way, no faux-twanging, no extra-ness and personified class. More of our entertainers should take note.
At the risk of sounding wistful and overly romantic; I have to recognize I Am A Jamaican and Omar Brown as two of the most relentless campaigners for any cause that I have ever encountered. And to everyone who joined together week after week, and called, texted, emailed, regardless of island or nation of origin, well done. We really brought the motto to life “OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE”.