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Anybody’s crown

Eric Smith

Anybody’s crown

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Come down to Kensington Oval tomorrow night and as long as the rain does not spoil the evening, expect a tight competition for this year’s MQI/Banks/LIME Pic-O-De-Crop monarchy.
Even if it rains or just drizzles, bring along your umbrella and stay the course, lending some atmosphere to the event. After all, many people will be heading straight to the Roberts Manufacturing Foreday Morning jam afterwards. So getting a little wet shouldn’t matter.
But the first order of the night is the competition, which for the first time in some years will not have any clear pre-event favourite. Indeed, it will be a wide open, thoroughbred event.
So, anyone who comes good tomorrow can walk away with the crown and the prizes they are all eyeing. The real issue is that some of these ten calypsonians have two half-decent songs, while some are carrying one good song and “just another song”. But despite these obvious deficiencies, the competition should still be tight.
With tomorrow night being the climax, expect some changes from the performers, for this event is not about tent – which may suggest “we” – but rather about “I”: what’s in it for me. Additionally, the best will be easily separated from the rest as long as they get that “wow” factor during their presentation. And, despite all the experience, there will be lots of tension and anxiety.
An indication of the different level the competition has reached can be seen in the changes to second songs. AC should be coming with one new song, Fan Fair. This is testimony to the idea of some calypsonians having a good song and “just another song”. He will be hoping that this new entry will work to his advantage.
The one fellow who should most definitely have a new second song is Ian Webster, the man who will be seeking to defend his crown. The song he performed in the tents is good for just there. There is nothing new about it, particularly the inclusion of a few bars from other songs, done just as they were done in the original form. Hmmm!
Any artiste who brings a new song tomorrow night should realise it is a significant risk since the song may not connect with the audience. Granted that given the pitch of his voice, AC is perhaps the one calypsonian who can best use the stage at Kensington Oval.
And he desperately wants to win the competition. But few can successfully follow in Gabby’s footsteps: bring a new song and mesmerize both the judges and the audience.
Just in case you were unaware, here is the points system for tomorrow: lyrics – a maximum of 35 points; melody – the same; rendition – 25 points; presentation – five points. One new song per calypsonian is allowed at this stage.
Outside of Miguel, who still needs to find the “wow” factor, all the calypsonians in tomorrow night’s showdown are known names and seasoned performers, even if not at this level in kaiso competition. Miguel will have good company in Mikey and Biggie Irie as first-timers for the final.
A number of them have songs that play on the emotions so much will depend on how they deliver them. There is sure to be a lot of talk about Biggie Irie and Mikey. For many of the over-45s, the discussion will be on whether at least one of their songs is calypso.
But, a gentle tip here. Don’t try to compare how they phrase their renditions with what you have heard and become accustomed to over the years from Invader, Colin Spencer or Destroyer and many other calypsonians.
There is nothing written in stone that a calypsonian must sound a particular way. Reflect on RPB of 1982 and Bag of today. Or better still, Edwin. Then switch on to David Rudder.
Both Biggie and Mikey have all that it takes to walk away with the coveted crown, and Biggie is already on a high after his win in the Sweet Soca competition on Sunday, while Mikey has to prove he’s ready for any aspect of calypso.
Blood has been knocking at the door for a long time and knows the art form. He will be a serious contender.
Kid Site knows what he has to do to win – he has been there and done that four times – and his words will be most likely be clearly heard. But the fact remains that his offerings this year are not two of his better songs.
Classic is in but it is probably a tough field for him to beat. Based on the tents and semi-finals, he may very well find the race gruelling. But tomorrow night he may surprise.
De Announcer is not a gaming man, so he may not want anyone laying a wager on him, but he could upset the whole show. He actually has two of the better songs. He must not get carried away in any way, though.
The judges – and the audience as well –  will be looking for delivery, performance, quality singing and some flair from the contestants. It will all depend on the performances on the night. The judges will have their hands full.
The finalists in order of appearance are: Classic (Cave Shepherd All Stars), Mikey (De Big Show), Miguel (Cave Shepherd All Stars), Chrystal Cummins-Beckles (Headliners), Ian Webster (Headliners), Blood (Headliners), Biggie Irie (De Big Show), De Announcer (All Stars), Kid Site (All Stars) and Adrian Clarke (Headliners).