Jody-Kay is Digicel Rising Stars 2015 winner

Jody-Kay James is the 2015 Digicel Rising Star. The 12th staging of the talent competition came to an intense finale last night as ‘Jamaica’s favourite biology teacher’, Jody-Kay, and the ‘wild card with a raspy voice’, Marsha K, battled for the coveted title at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston.

However, as expected by many, the Kingstonian copped first place. She had long been a crowd and judges’ favourite, who was often lauded for her incredible vocal range.

Memorable moments

The competition’s tough judge, Anthony ‘Killer’ Miller, admitted last night that all of Jody-Kay’s performances were his most memorable moments of this year’s competition.

Jody-Kay, who teaches at the St Andrew Technical High School, walked away with a total of 11 prizes including $1 million, a development contract with the Ashe Performing Arts Company, tickets from Fly Jamaica, a record deal, an album distribution deal, and a Huawei smartphone.

Jody-Kay’s journey to the top was not without stiff competition from second-place winner Marsha-K. She was initially denied a spot in the Top 10, but was brought back into the competition as judge Conroy Wilson’s wildcard. She secured her spot weekly with what the judges described as “convincing performances” and her “pleasantly raspy vocals.”

Marsha K goes home with $600,000, a Huawei smartphone, and a development contract from the Ashe Company.

Third-place winner Anna Maria went home last week with $400,000.

Various talents

Leading up to the grand announcement minutes after 10 p.m., the stage was graced by various talents including the competition’s biggest names thus far, 2005 winner, Christopher Martin and 2007 winner, Romain Virgo. Other acts for the night included last year’s winner, T-Rizzy as well as Vanessa Bling, Kelissa and Devin Di Dakta.

Before the winner was announced, the chill room host, Sanjay, asked Jody-Kay what she would do if she won the million dollars, she said, “I’d take myself back to Pandora’s Spa, definitely further my education and set up my mama too.”

When host Terri-Karelle Reid announced Jody-Kay as the winner, she said through a shaky voice and tears running down her face, “I feel honoured. It was all up to Jamaica and they believed in me.”

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