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Predictable final line-up

Yvette Best

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A PREDICTABLE three calypso monarchs, five perennial finalists and a newcomer have made it through to the finals of the Banks/LIME Pic-O-De-Crop Finals at Kensington Oval on Friday night.John King, Adrian Clarke and Gabby, who have 12 crowns among them, were all ambivalent about entering the competition at the start, but they evidently had enough to draw on to see them through to the finals in the big yard.All three have the ability to sing and perform the life out of a song, and at times make the average sound like a masterpiece.Gabby, in particular has done it time and again, and this year was a charm. Neither Haiti nor Ole Ashae are gems, but they are sugar-coated with sweet singing. One waits to see if his treatment will be enough to gain him one of the top places on Friday.King’s I Go Dun is structured in a way that he can include other elements, and one can expect him to come with some additions that will titillate his audience and interest the judges. It is almost as if he has to, because while Jackasonian is growing on audiences and got a decent response on Friday at the semis, it is not one of his better efforts.As exhibited at the semis, Clarke’s Crowd Response is ripe for picong and will do the job. He sings Jekyll And Hyde well, but he too has come better.Blood seems to be losing some of the punch he exhibited in the lead-up to the semis for both Sing and Not My Son. As was the case when the song was first heard, one keeps looking for a twist in the latter which would make the almost blind parental concept of their sons more real. But alas, the expected find of some sort of contraband by the police remains absent.Say what you want about the quality of Sing, but to bring a song that will automatically engage the fans of a competition is a good stroke. Blood is a big night competitor and that punch will undoubtedly be back by Friday. The expected showdown between Blood and defending monarch Red Plastic Bag, about whom he sings, is already exciting. His final places at today’s Soca Royale notwithstanding, Blood will come good.Colin Spencer arguably has one of the better combinations in the finals. Lyrical Master Number Two is a brilliant tactical move and Dey Dun Wid You can take whatever shape he wants, which has to be a weapon in itself. The expected touch on his new appointment hit the mark and pleased fans.
An unlikely tenth place for him will cause even more fallout than it did last year.The fifth male in the line-up is a bit of a worry, and it has nothing to do with Sheldon Hope’s ability. Hope has shown he is a good student of the craft and his vocal talent cannot be questioned. Why he would want to pair Hope with Last Days Revisited, both of which he delivers well, is a mystery and could cost him a top spot. It was just a year ago that he did Last Days and, if it needed to be revisited at all, a longer period in between might have made more sense.Of the three women in the finals, newcomer Crystal Cummins-Beckles is the most refreshing by far. Crystal has been improving every year and her all-round contribution to the festival and her worth as a calypsonian should not be understated. Expect her to make her presence felt with Crystal Ball and Get On Your Knees And Pray.Neglect of elderlyTassa’s Old People and To De Dump are not making enough of a wallop when it counts. The former, which speaks to neglect of the elderly, tugs at the emotions and was enough to get her this far, but does not make her a strong contender.She has yet to dig into To De Dump, if you will. She perhaps needs to dump some of the “garbage” she has been singing about all season and come afresh. There are a number of “stinking” issues that are quite ripe for the landfill. Her challenge is to find them – straight!The People’s Queen TC did enough with Out Of Control and Stimulus to get this far. As has been the case on so many occasions in the past, where she places on Friday will have a lot to do with the game she brings on the night.She has already mentioned that she is recovering from a bout of the flu and is the defending monarch in the Party Monarch and Sweet Soca competitions at today’s Soca Royale before heading to Kensington Oval on Friday. Given the unpredictability of those variables, one thing is for certain – TC will definitely look the part.•[email protected]