GTT stands by voting process for +Star Singing Competition

Ganesh Kasinath (second from right) on stage as he is announced as the GTT +Star Singing Competition winner last Monday night (Elvin Croker photo)

AS the saying goes, you can’t please everyone, and telecommunications giant GTT representatives think that just might be the case in the hullabaloo that has been ongoing since the winners of the GTT +Star Singing Competition were announced last Monday night.

Persons had much to say about GTT’s choice to let the final decision of the winners be determined entirely by votes received from the public via SMS. This year GTT used a judging system that gave the general public more voting power with each successive stage of the competition. GTT says no matter what judging process is used, disputes are unavoidable.

“We’re stuck in a rock and a hard place,” conveyed GTT Chief Commercial Officer Wenise Davis.

Second place finisher Tonaina Samaroo was all smiles and did not let the bullies dampen her excitement (Elvin Croker photo)

“If we had used judges and persons didn’t get who they wanted then you would‘ve heard that GTT rigged it, so we moved away from that. We started with our auditions being 100 percent up to the judges’ decisions, we moved to the preliminary again this was 100 percent with the judges. For the quarterfinals judges accounted for 70 percent of the scores and the public 30 percent for the semifinals we had the judges contributing 40 percent and the public contributing 60 percent. The finals were down to Guyana.”

Following pumped-up performances by Shal Marshall, Ravi B, Nesha B and the Karma band last Monday night at the MovieTowne parking lot, the 11 finalists in the competition found out their fate and it was Ganesh Kasinath who was declared the $1 million grand prize winner of the Competition, while Tonaina Samaroo took second, and Lerone Souvenir third.
And while the confetti was grand, the applause was lukewarm, the patrons at the concert and many more watching from home were not pleased with the results.

And if it’s one thing that Guyanese love to do is register their dissatisfaction, so they were not to be subdued as they openly voiced discontent when they streamed out of the MovieTowne parking lot at the end of the night. But that, of course, wasn’t the end of it, and after the confetti settled on Monday night they took the argument to social media during the rest of the week.

The crowd became particularly disappointed with the announcement that competition favourite Delisha Wright was one of the contestants not among the top three. As Wright walked off the stage that night approximately half the crowd walked out the gate, without waiting to hear the winner. At least one patron became so animated she had to be restrained.

Some of Wright’s supporters were even seen crying.

The 11 finalists in the GTT +Star Singing Competition on stage last Monday as GTT Chief Commercial Officer Wenise Davis (right) announces those eliminated (Elvin Croker photo)

Davis believes the resulting outcome was due to the fact that while many were vocal in their support for particular contestants they were less active when it came to voting for their choice. She says the voting process utilised by the company can stand up to any scrutiny.

“We just needed to put our money where our mouth is and unfortunately that just didn’t happen. It’s unfortunate that sometimes persons are so passionate but they did not translate that passion into votes and not just cheers, that’s disappointing. We had auditors that sat down and went through with us all our reports,” she conveyed.

She firmly dismisses accusations that the company only used the SMS voting process to make money, saying the company invested tens of millions in the competition, and the focus was all about providing a platform for the talented singers.

This year the competition saw the return of TV personality Joel Ghansham as a judge, while also judging was former GTT Jingle Competition winner Timeka Marshall, and famed gospel singer Saiku Andrews, a number of guest judges were featured at different stages during the competition.

Since the announcement, Andrews earlier this week took to social media to give his two cents on the situation.

Notwithstanding the backlash, Kasinath didn’t let that phase his celebration over the shock of his win; Samaroo had an anti-bullying message for hecklers.

Kasinauth, who stood out throughout the competition for his distinct performances of Bollywood songs, was surprised by his win and thanked his supporters.

Just a section of the massive crowd that turned out to the MovieTowne parking lot last Monday night to hear the announcement of the GTT +Star Singing Competition winner (Elvin Croker photo)

“ I feel so blessed right now. It was stiff competition a lot of talented persons took part here and I didn’t think that I had a shot to become the winner. The competition was a very nice opportunity because it brought out a lot of hidden talent all over the country and made them a star, so GTT did a good job here,” Kasinath shared as he celebrated his win.
He says whether persons supported him or not he’s looking forward to making all of Guyana proud going forward. As part of his prize package, Kasinath will also be producing a single with the famed Drew Thoven.

“I will make them proud no matter what. That’s the type of person I am, I will always make Guyana proud. I am a new star for Guyana. Expect me as the next international singer for Guyana,” Kasinath said.

Samaroo, who received a lot of negative feedback during the competition also remained unfazed, calling persons out for being mean to her. Sadly, she noted that many of the critics were racist in their disapproval.

“They should stop bullying people on social media, it’s very coward[ly] for people to do things like that. A lot of persons voted for me because they believed me on social media and it just goes to show don’t bully people because they just might end up in second place to prove to those bullies that what they’re doing is not fair. I hope that next time if they have a contestant that they like they will go out of their way and vote for that person,” Samaroo said.