reigning monarch puts on fiery showing at house of soca judging
by Latoya Burnham
It is perhaps a bit uncanny that the man who brought down the House of Soca at last night’s judging is the one man who has already gone through to the Pic-O-De-Crop finals.
Reigning Monarch, Popsicle was in fine fighting and entertaining form last night as he judged We Coming for Party Monarch, but decided to give the audience a taste of what he will be bringing to competition to defend his crown.
Dressed in army fatigues and war paint, Popsicle gave a solid and clear performance, in contrast to opening night a month ago when the impact and punch he gave last night had been missing.
Returning early in the second half with a piece called My Phone and dealing with the cellphone craze from the perspective of a lad at school, he had the crowd bawling for more, just as he did when he came back again to deliver the much played and heavy crowd favourite, Bail Out.
It was a night when patrons would have seen a perfect blend of old and new, as they were strong performances from newcomers like Lil Az, who showed an impressive attempt at progressing from Junior Monarch stage to Pic-O-De-Crop platform; where Sir Ruel would have brought the crowd screaming to their feet when he continued singing his song without missing a beat even as the electricity in the Queen’s College School hall blanked out at the end of his second selection for Pic-O-De-Crop, titled Guilty and where without a doubt Malik’s stationary rendition, again even amidst another electrical failure, had the audience chanting “sing, sing, sing”, and helping him along in the chorus of Party Woman.
Tent manager Sharon Carew-White would later explain to Barbados TODAY that there appeared to be an issue with the breakers in the hall tripping at those two points as they became overloaded. She said although they had added extra breakers to the system in a donation to the school, the additional lights necessary for judging night still seemed too much for the system to cope with.
She said they would now look at increasing what was already there so the problem would not recur.
But that being said, despite Malik’s physical challenges, in that he can now only sing from a stationary position on stage, his renditions of the tongue-in-cheek She Want A Lick and Party Woman, were reminiscent of the old calypsos that were indeed double entrendre instead of just a crass attempt at being rude. One could not help but admire the spunk of the man as he faced the judges with a confidence born of years in the business.
For the youngsters, Sir Ruel led the way again with Toast to Bag which is indeed a favourite of mine for the clever crafting of the song, and Guilty, which he always delivers with such maturity for a youth that just a few years ago was being crowned King of the juniors.
Strong on his heels would have been Lil Az, who came back from an opening night where she admitted she had forgotten her lyrics to a performance last night that was as far removed as oil is from water. She slid across the stage with an ease born of competing and being crowned twice in the Junior Monarch and which transferred well to the bigger stage, just as Sir Ruel did some three years ago. That she brought material, in Black Woman Rising and I Moving Up, she could identify with was also pleasing and her performance was clearly appreciated by the crowd.
Dre was also strong on the night with Just A Matter of Time and Deceitful, with his rendition in the former also being an improvement, as some of his words on opening night would have been running together.
Other potentially strong presentations came from Speed Master, who met with great appreciation from the crowd; Cali, Shaki-K and Franswa, while GQ was impressive in his first song My Identity, although I Am Music seemed a bit close to a melody of old.
The other strong party number for the tent was undoubtedly Mr. Villain, whose Pumping was well performed and appreciation.
Also judging were Kya, Delight, Hanif, Sharky, Jimmy Dan, and Mole and Lady Essence for Party Monarch. firstname.lastname@example.org