11-year-old singing sensation claims Antigua’s Got Talent crown

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Denise Dixon and AjanaePhoto Credit: Alex Andre Rhodes

She may be just 11 years old but Antiguan schoolgirl Ajanae Bleau blew judges away with a show-stopping performance which saw her stomp to victory at Saturday’s Antigua’s Got Talent.

The pint-sized singer brought the house down with a spine-tingling rendition of ‘Never Enough’ from musical biopic The Greatest Showman.

Ajanae, who has been singing since she was two, claimed the coveted crown and was presented with a Samsung Galaxy A8 and 12-month prepaid contract, courtesy of headline sponsor FLOW.

Four hundred people poured into Castaways in Jolly Harbour to watch the show held in aid of PAAWS animal charity, raising almost EC$9,000 towards the running of its Parham-based shelter for rescued dogs and cats.

The evening was hosted by Ibis the Livest and flamboyant karaoke veteran Wesley Simon who enthralled the audience with a series of zany costume changes.

Ajanae was the youngest of the 28 performers who took to the stage.

“I was nervous and felt like I didn’t have a chance,” she said. “When they called my name, butterflies were flowing in my stomach. It made my night.”

Runner up Francesca Southwell

The youngster is a member of St John’s Cathedral Children’s Choir and also sang in the choir at her former school, Sunnydale Primary. She is looking forward to joining Princess Margaret School when the new term begins.

As for her ultimate dream, she is still undecided.

“There are lots of things in my head. Some part of me wants to be Antigua’s first famous gymnast, or a singer or dancer, but another part of me wants to be an author because I have a really big imagination and I love to write, especially stories with a scary vibe,” she revealed.

The competitors included singers, dancers, poets, a painter and a voice actor, and were scored on creativity, talent, stage presence, audience response and overall performance.

The judging panel featured local singers Drastic and Kimmy, personal trainer Donny Roseau, and Friends of the Care Project Vice-President Kamal Moursy,

Runner-up was Francesca Southwell who captivated the crowd with her quirky vocal impressions, accompanied by keyboards. She won a spa treatment from Blue Waters resort.

Joint third place was taken by singers Dante Lewis and Najee who received a massage certificate from Oasis and Isabella hair and a Silver Chelles gift bag, respectively.

“We knew Antigua had plenty of talent but we were absolutely astounded by the performances on the night,” said organiser and PAAWS’ PRO Gemma Handy.

“The judges had a tough task making their decisions but they were unanimous that the winner should be Ajanae. Who would have guessed such a big voice could come from such a young girl. We think she has a very bright future.”

Handy said the money raised was vital to keeping PAAWS’ shelter up and running.

“Funds reached critical level again last week with an influx of animals; the shelter is currently home to 40 adult dogs, 20 puppies and 18 cats and we have been struggling to cope. The cash will go a long way to keeping us afloat,” she explained.

“This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the local community and the numerous animal lovers out there who donated prizes, equipment and their time. We are enormously appreciative to everyone who lent a hand.

“We had great feedback from people who attended and we hope to do another Antigua’s Got Talent next year,” she added.