?There is new blood, returning blood and just prolific Blood in the list of the 18 semi-finalists in the MQI/Banks/Lime Pic-O-De-Crop competition.
?Four newcomers will get a taste of the big stage: Donella, Mikey, Cher and Sammy G, while John King, the 1994 monarch is back, literally. But while there are those names, familiar faces are missing from the list that was announced last year. There is no TC, Smokey Burke nor former Junior Monarch Sir Ruel, who has been improving consistently.
Consistent is a word in the vocabulary of the Cave Shepherd All Stars tent members. In the 18 to compete next Friday, six are from that tent, after losing reigning Pic-O-De-Crop king Ian Webster as well as Adrian Clarke, Colin Spencer, William Smokey Burke, Mandisa and Chrystal Cummins-Beckles to Headliners Calypso Tent.
They have gotten to the stage at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex with former Junior Monarch Aziza, Cher, De Announcer, Donella, former monarch Kid Site and Miguel. Tent manager Eleanor Rice has tied her record with that of last year. In 2011 the tent had five picks and in 2012, seven.
Undaunted by the loss of “big names” from the tent this year, Rice said at the launch, “It is the show, not the person’s name. It is what the person brings to the show . . . . It is a win/win situation depending on what the person brings, what they offer and how well they are able to put over their message to the public. We have a wonderful cast.”
De Big Show made it two better than last year, getting six also, with Adonijah, Biggie Irie, (making his second appearance in the social commentary arena), Classic, King, former monarch Serenader and newcomer to the Pic-O-De-Crop stage Mikey, who is also a Sweet Soca and Party Monarch finalist.
Headliners made three spots this year, up from two last year, with former monarch Adrian Clarke, Cummins-Beckles and Blood, who is defending his Sweet Soca and Party Monarch crowns. Webster will defend his crown under the Headliners tent and Spencer is a reserve for Headliners.
?The Experience tent got two “pics” this time around in Apache and Billboard, who was the lone calypsonian for the tent last year in the semis.
House of Soca is down one from last year, only fielding Sammy G, the youngest competitor in the entire semi-finals.
Tent manager Sharon Carew-White was ecstatic when the name was announced at the National Cultural Foundation headquarters around 12:25 a.m. and said: “I would have wanted more people but having the youngest one in the semi-finals I feel good. You only need one to win.”
Super Gladiators, Regeneration, Stray Cats and Tomorrow’s Partee Children were unsuccessful in getting a spot in the Semis.