Sunday’s debut of CNC3’s “D Bess Pan” marked a night of firsts.
Not only was this 90-minute special the first of its kind, but saw the first contestant to be crowned the champion of “D Bess Pan”.
Producer Robert Dumas and his team scoured the world.
They searched high, low (and the internet), all to reach this very moment: D Bess Pan final stage.
Five pannists—Jamel Cadet, Tyeesha Alexander, Kelly Matthews, Shaquille Forbes and Emmanuel Joseph—all proved they had the “pizazz” being sought. It was clear to see that star quality, talent, enthusiasm and ambition shined brightly through each contestant, but only one would walk away as the winner in the three-round battle.
Hosts Major Penny and Shevonne Metivier were perfect choices for this special event as they meshed well together and captured the essence of what pan is all about. They enthusiastically walked with the audience while remaining focused on the five finalists.
In round one, the gifted five faced off and played a song of their choice to wow the incredible panel of judges: Duvonne Stewart, a pan arranger who made pan history in 2019 when he copped the Panorama Triple Crown, leading BP Renegades and Pan Elders to victory, Marcus Ash—a seasoned veteran in the Steelpan community, the current education officer on the board of Pan Trinbago, and the music director of the silver stars steel orchestra, and Gerelle Forbes—an established all-rounder who developed a life career in Media and Entertainment. She also founded STHENIC22, a production company focused on retelling the stories of Caribbean culture.
With judges of the highest calibre, the contestants had to go for the kill each time and these five pannists did not disappoint!
Five would soon become three. Two pannists would be eliminated. The pressure was on. The air was tense and the judges made their call. We said goodbye to Jamel Cadet and Kelly Matthews. Tyeesha Alexander, Shaquille Forbes and Emmanuel Joseph advanced to Round Two.
Competition heats up
Each of the chosen three contestants had to pick a number from 1-3 out of Penny’s Fedora. The numbers in the headwear represented three songs that were voted on by the nation: “Don’t stop Carnival” by Olatunji, “God is a Trini” by Swappi, and “Calypso” by Terri Lyons.
Alexander chose number one, God is a Trini, Joseph chose number two, Don’t stop Carnival and Forbes chose Calypso.
The second round also hosted surprise celebrity guests. Olatunji, Swappi and Terri Lyons all made special appearances alongside this round’s finalists. The artistes then spent an hour coaching and encouraging the chosen three to do their best rendition of the song, resulting in some truly memorable performances.
Although the surprises celebrity guests were big news, the biggest news of the night was Duvonne Stewart heading to the stage and presenting his Steelpan rendition of “Calypso” by Terri Lyons.
The performances most people were looking forward to were the one in which the two finalists went head to head and competed for “D Bess Pan” crown. So, three became two. as Joseph was eliminated. Alexander and Forbes advanced to the third round.
In round three, both finalists had to compete in a Beat Per Minute “Pan Off.” DJ JJ took to the ones and twos to play Farmer Nappy’s “Backyard Jam” as the final song selected by Duvonne Stewart who also controlled the tempo, increasing the beat every 30 seconds, while the pannists tried to keep up.
Luck was on Tyeesha Alexander’s side as she chose the stick to perform after her competitor, Shaquille Forbes.
With the performances decided, Shaquille Forbes took the stage, wowing everyone in the room. He matched the beat and got to a striking 135 bpm. D Bess Pan” title was in sight.
After that amazing performance, the question on everyone’s mind was, “can Tyeesha beat that?”
Tyeesha Alexander took the stage and was determined to win. She started off strong and did her best to keep up with the beat. Everyone was stunned at how well she was doing, until disaster struck. We don’t know what happened but Tyeesha started losing the beat. She couldn’t keep up, which meant she couldn’t pass Shaquille’s incredible 135 BPM score.
The judges couldn’t wait for her to catch up any longer. But, just as they were about to make the call and eliminate her, the pan spirit found its way inside Tyeesha’s heart. It took control of her pan sticks and beat the chrome, matched the rhythm, found the melody and passed Shaquille’s score! Everyone in the building was on their feet!
Just when we thought Tyeesha was down for the count, the beat per minute skyrocketed to an astounding 150!
The piercing screams of excitement could be heard for miles around! The only female contestant – Tyeesha Alexander became the first ever champion of “D Bess Pan” with a whopping 150 bpm!
She received the Top Prize – an opportunity to work with super producer Travis world and a laptop and Sony sound system courtesy Standard!
The runner up didn’t go home empty-handed. Shaquille Forbes received a television and large hamper courtesy S&S Persad. But that’s not all! Each finalist and judge were given hampers and prizes courtesy Carib, KFC, Subway, Campari and AMCO.
After an exhilarating night, Terri Lyons closed the show with an amazing performance of her hit song – “Can’t Take My Joy.” That brought us to the end of a breathtaking show.
We got five Pannists and three star-studded judges together and celebrated our music, our melody, our culture, our pan – in a never before seen special – exclusively on CNC3.