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On Sunday April 10th, 2011, the 35 lucky CHUM FM competition winners joined 2,000 screaming fans in Barbados for a musical extravaganza.

Maroon 5, Jennifer Hudson and Suzie McNeil took Barbados by storm in the majestic grounds of Holders House; and as the stars rocked under the stars,  the crowd went wild on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

CHUM FM’s breakfast radio DJs, Roger, Darren and Marilyn hosted the evening by introducing the performers and revving up the crowd.

Photos of CHUM FM Breakfast in Barbados Concert 2011

Suzie McNeil

First up was Suzie McNeil who won the hearts of Canada after becoming a finalist on ‘Rockstar INXS‘, a television show on which INXS looked for a new lead singer. Since then she has gone from strength to strength – from her electric performance as a backup singer for Pink during their tour of America, to her first hit single ‘Believe’ which was released in 2007.

Tonight the crowd were blown away by her powerful voice, sassy performance and modest and friendly attitude. She rocked out with her first song ‘Hung Up‘, an awesome and powerful rock ballad from her ‘Broken & Beautiful‘ album that set the tone for an amazing evening.

She kept the crowd rocking by swiftly following up with ‘Drama Queen‘. She wore a tight black off-the-shoulder dress that showed off her tattoos, black high wedges covered in white patterns, and held a microphone decorated with long, grungy, purple and gold ribbons.

Halfway through her spellbinding performance, Suzie sent the crowd wild by walking in amongst them and singing a cover of ‘It’s A Beautiful Day‘ by U2. As she returned to the stage, she announced to the cheering crowd that she was wearing her ‘bathing suit’ under her dress, proceeding to reveal her black bikini bottoms with her infectious tongue-in-cheek smiles and laughs.

To the crowd’s delight Suzie then launched into ‘Supergirl‘ , taking the atmosphere up another level.

Believe‘, clearly another crowd favourite, was next. Halfway through, with Suzie jamming on the guitar, the drummer threw his sticks into the air before catching them and crashing them down onto the drums sending the crowd crazy – screaming and jumping with their hands in the air. The final bar of the song was sung softly, in total contrast to the powerful and energetic acoustic jam that preceded it.

Suzie also dedicated a song to her boyfriend, and spoke about how hard relationships can be but how they are worth it. Her fans in the crowd screamed sounds of agreement.

Suzie ended with the all-time favourite crowd pleasing Queen song, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘. She left the stage with modest bows and curtseys and shouted ‘I am Suzie McNeil’ to the cheering crowd. As the band finished the song with instrumentals, the crowd were left in awe, enlightened and in love with Suzie McNeil.

A short break let revellers rush to the bars and take in the exquisite grounds of Holders House, which had been lit up like a fairytale wonderland; chandeliers hung from the branches of the trees, coloured spotlights shone over the grounds and fairy lights adorned the bushes.
We caught up with two Barbadians, Gabriella and Marcell, who were blown away by Suzie’s performance. They hadn’t heard a lot of her music beforehand but they said they’d definitely start to listen to her music from now on.

Jennifer Hudson

Next was Jennifer Hudson, whose powerful voice was matched by her strong stage presence and serious, deep performance. Roger, Darren and Marilyn took centre stage to introduce Jennifer to the crowd’s delight. They made a point that Jennifer was the first Academy Award Winner to grace the stage at Breakfast in Barbados and mentioned some of her key achievements, including her incredible performance as an actress and singer in the film ‘Dreamgirls’
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The instrumentals started and at first you couldn’t see Jennifer, but only hear this incredibly powerful, booming voice emanating across the grounds of Holders House. She appeared a few moments later looking fabulous in an orange sequinned top, tight jeans and long, straight hair. Jennifer’s figure was healthy and athletic; having lost so much weight on the Weight Watchers plan. She wowed the audience with the huge difference all her hard work had made.

Her first song was ‘Feeling Good‘ by Nina Simone. A huge song to take on, especially for her first song in Barbados, but her voice showed all the maturity and power of the great Nina Simone, and she quickly won her way into the audience’s hearts.

She followed it up with the enchanting ‘Gone‘ before captivating the audience with ‘I Remember Me‘; a wonderful song from her latest album of the same name.

She sang ‘I Remember Me’ with huge conviction and a seriously determined glint in her eyes – the eyes of a woman who knows who she is and what she wants. Two backing singers including George Huff from the television show ‘American Idol’ did an excellent job at complementing Jennifer’s powerful voice.

The next song was ‘Spotlight‘ during which she brought her baby son onto the stage. This cute, curly-haired toddler won the hearts of everyone in the crowd, singing into his toy microphone and dancing like he was made for showbiz. During this song everyone started dancing like crazy and singing the song back to Jennifer. Jennifer then passed him her microphone and asked him to ‘sing with mummy’. He mimicked her notes with impressive accuracy, and the love that emanated from Jennifer’s eyes to her beautiful son was overwhelming.

Following this Jennifer asked the crowd to choose her next song and they asked for ‘If This Isn’t Love‘. As she sang the poetic lyrics ‘God sent me an angel from above’ she looked into her son’s eyes with such emotion that it almost brought a tear to your eye. Her son then left the stage as she launched into ‘I Got This‘. When Jennifer left the stage the crowd went absolutely crazy. This was an amazing performance from a strong lady with an even stronger voice who is set to go oh-so-far.

Maroon 5

After another break for drinks, the much awaited moment arrived – Maroon 5 took centre stage. They kicked off with ‘Misery’ and the revellers immediately went wild, screaming and pushing to get a better view.

Maroon 5’s stage presence and natural confidence was that of true, experienced rock stars. These guys looked great, acted cool, and were totally in control.

Adam Levine wore a white t-shirt and tight jeans with a black grungy studded belt; his sexy tattoos and rippling muscles bursting at the seams.

During the set the crowd pushed forward, the screams became louder, and the dancing more intense. They showed that they were much more than just a band that replicates their albums – each of the band members let rip with solo sections, allowing Matt Flynn, Mickey Madden and James Valentine to show off their incredible musical talents. Matt drummed with his eyes closed, soaking up every last drop of atmosphere at the concert.

Never Gonna Leave This Bed‘ really got the crowd going, with some of the girls in the crowd climbing on friend’s shoulders to get a better view. Sexy Adam Levine introduced the next song by saying “this song isn’t about love – it’s about sex!” which sent his adoring girl fans crazy.

He then sang ‘Secret‘ to which anyone in the crowd who fancied someone they didn’t know, or had only just met, felt the impulse to introduce themselves right then.

A cover of Tina Turner’s magnificent ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It‘ had the whole audience singing in unison before they launched into an extended version of ‘This Love‘, with an amazing drum and guitar solo that built up into a rocking finale.

CHUM FM outdid themselves this year with a fabulous line-up of artists.  The balance between the two sassy female vocalists and Adam Levine’s rocking voice brought a well-rounded harmony to the evening.

And the fabulous location of Holders House is always one to appreciate; when the music ended, many of the happy revellers returned to the bars to do just that.

I can’t wait for next year.

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