by Latoya Burnham
The fight will not be easy, but the reward of a spot in the finals for nine of the 13 young calypsonians that will take to the stage tomorrow night, could well be worth it.
It will be a battle of some of the best voices when the 13 to 18s in the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Calypso Competition face off in the semifinals at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Saturday at 7 p.m., before a sold-out crowd.
An audience of supportive schools, parents, friends and relatives usually turns up to watch these talented young people perform and according to the NCF Saturday will see them singing to a packed auditorium.
Quite a few of the semifinalists are returning participants and even two queens, in Aziza and Sammy G, along with old familiar names like Nubian Queen, Lil T, Queen Ash√, Confetti, Small One, Sparkle T, Honesty, and Young G.
The new faces, on the other hand, are few this year: Destiny and De MC, who like the others will try their best for the chance to meet reigning monarch Mandisa in the finals.
With Aziza and Sammy G, what you can expect is two young women who will bring their A-Game. Aziza is always powerful and crisp in her delivery, and during the Junior Monarch showcases, her performance of The Guardians of Calypso was no less dynamite. She will be one to watch, as will be Sammy G.
It is good this year to see a new level of maturity even in Sammy G’s performance of Successful Sammy. She is one young singer that never loses her smile or clear enjoyment of her songs on stage and utilises the lyrics and her presentation to her best advantage. Expect a good showing from this 2011 Queen.
Sixteen-year-old Nubian Queen delivered My Pray in the tents with conviction and in a sweet voice. She brought the fight to the competition from her first note, and will probably do the same tomorrow night.
Lil T might be small, as her name suggest, but this tiny package has a powerful voice that she has honed in this competition over the past few years and one can expect this Parkinson student to bring her best in Too Big Fuh Yuh Shoes.
Cover Girl is the name of Queen Ash√’s offering this year and the one this she does well is deliver on the dramatics. With a fresh look at domestic abuse, she brought an interesting performance to the tents that she will no doubt want to repeat and even improve in the semis.
What Confetti lacks in age, fighting among the big guns in this competition, she makes up for in voice. Moving from the 8 to 12s to the 13 to 18s, her Mr. Minister was a plea worth hearing in the tents and we expect will also be appreciated by the audience at semis as she seeks to move on again.
Small One is a perennial favourite in the juniors, along with her sister Aziza, and her presentation of Pull We Back is one where she will have to watch her higher notes to ensure that she is in there with a chance at the crown at the end of the fight.
Third timer Sparkle T has not only a good voice, but she has the ability to write her own songs, as she did this year with Know Ya Place. She delivered on the advice in the tent and it remains to be seen if third time’s the charm.
For Honesty, this will be her fourth time in the competition. Singing Respect De Disable, she looked a bit uncertain in the first tent, though she delivered the song is fine voice. She will have to bury any nerves on Saturday, if she hopes to move forward.
Young G has a strong voice, no one can deny that, but in his performance of Positive Thinking he will have to bring more energy than he has thus far to match up to some of the other talent in the competition.
First timers Destiny and De MC probably surprised quite a few people in the early stages of the showcases, when both belted out songs with voices that left you wondering where they had been before this point.
Destiny’s A Daughter’s Prayer is well written, but she will have to project more to ensure her words are not lost beneath the music or back-ups. This, however, is not the concern of De MC. The Frederick Smith Secondary School student received rousing response when he delivered Uplift The Youth of Society. If he repeats his strong performance, he could score a spot in the big leagues.
The reserve will be Kayla Bee with Our Disease.