NEW PROVIDENCE – BTC crowned Tonesha Smith and Gabrielle Stubbs as the new BTC Senior and Junior winners of Starmaker 5 during the show’s finale at the British Colonial Hilton on Jun 26. Daniella Joseph and Leroy Armbrister were the first runners up for the competition, and Owen Smith and D’Angelo Symonette were the Wild Card finalists, chosen via viewer text votes and social media contests.
Taylour Paige, who stars as Ahsha Hayes on VH1’s, Hit The Floor, was the guest speaker, and recounted her struggle to make it in Hollywood, and the perseverance it took for her to land her breakthrough role. Paige encouraged all of the contestants to never give up, and continue to fight for what they want in life, no matter what. “Dream big and remember that life is wonderful” said Paige, who was presented with an original caricature painting from artist Mathew Wildgoose, who was also this season’s host, and a gift from Columbian Emeralds, one of the show’s sponsors.
Smith, a 21 year old recent graduate of the College of the Bahamas, and resident of Nassau, noted that she was ecstatic to be the Senior winner of Starmaker 5, but notes that the win was a bit unexpected. “Winning feels great. It is hard to put into words…I feel good, wonderful, great! I’m still in shock, and it hasn’t fully hit me yet. I would just like to thank BTC for every single opportunity that they have afforded me as well as all of the other contestants.” Smith also received the Most Popular award.
Junior winner, Stubbs, who also took home the Photogenic and Congeniality awards, was also shocked by the results, and noted that she was grateful to have been able to win over the judges during the show’s later challenges, where her personality was able to shine. “I feel absolutely ecstatic. When I got the cheque, and heard that I won, I was just a flutter with emotion. I hope that the next year will have lots of opportunities, connections for the future, and will help me to reach all of my goals. I want to just thank BTC for everything that they are doing for the youth of the Bahamas. Thank you for giving me the opportunity, and the mentoring, advice and help that you gave us all throughout the competition. The team was like a family to us, and I really had a great experience.” said Stubbs.
Head judge, Stacia Williams, noted that choosing a winner was extremely difficult, but the judges choice came down to attitude, potential, confidence, and the contestant’s growth during the duration of the competition. “The judges were looking for someone who was articulate, someone who had excellent interpersonal skills, the wow factor, the confidence and everything it takes to be a star. We chose Tonesha and Gabrielle because I don’t think anyone can dispute that they will represent BTC in a good and positive way” noted Williams.
During the finale, the contestants also made a $1000.00 donation to the Demetrius Home For The Aged, which was featured in an episode, and presented the Bahamas AIDS Foundation with $2000.00, the proceeds of the contestant’s second challenge.
The show’s Executive Producer, Carol Barnett, noted that it was important for the contestants to understand the importance of giving back to their communities, and fostering a social responsibility within them. “At BTC, we give back to the Bahamas in various ways, and it was important for the contestants to be able to do the same.” Barnett also noted that she is excited to work with both young women. “When we chose the 18 finalist, we were confident that, with coaching and mentoring, any one of them had the potential to represent the BTC brand, well. We are happy with the judges’ decision and we look forward to working with Tonesha and Gabrielle and helping them become true BTC stars.”
Starmaker 5 sponsor, Columbian Emeralds presented each of the six finalists with a gift and various awards were presented to a number of the contestants. Runner-Up, Daniella Joseph, received the award for Most Improved Contestant as well as the Yodephi Dance Studio award. Kai Jah Higgs got the award for having the Most Facebook Fans.
The evening was capped off by a performance from BTC Diva, Grier Munroe, a Junkanoo Rushout and performances by Willis and the Illest.
Viewers were also able to watch the show live, on ZNS, and the reunion show will air on July 3 at 8pm on ZNS.