by Latoya Burnham
A battle of major proportions was expected and that is exactly what the seniors in the Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch Semifinals delivered at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Saturday.
From the first note, when Sparkle T hit the stage dressed to dazzle for her self-penned Know Yuh Place, it was clear that she had sent the expected challenge for her fellow contestants to respond. She threw down the gauntlet and was rewarded with one of the spots in the finals on July 20.
Joining her would be former queens Aziza and Sammy G, Small One, Young G, De MC and Honesty, with Destiny placed as reserve with her rendition of A Daughter’s Prayer. They will meet 2012 Queen Mandisa in the finals.
Aziza followed Sparkle T out the gates, and where the gauntlet was thrown, Aziza picked it up and used it to thrust and parry and cut away a space for herself with The Guardians of Calypso. It was expected that the two-time monarch, who now plays in the big leagues of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, would have brought her A-Game – and she did. A song like the one she has, asking people to pay attention to the youth who will take calypso forward, is a recipe for the kind of damage she can do with those lyrics and a solid performance. She definitely gave her stamp that she’s come for a third crown.
And just as she has come for her third, 2011 Queen Sammy G has come for her second. With one of the strongest and smoothest performances of the night, this young girl who clearly has a love affair with calypso delivered Successful Sammy with great conviction. If she brings a similar or stronger presentation in two weeks time, she will be one to watch for sure.
The competitor that must be mentioned though was Small One, who shocked on Saturday night with a presentation unlike any seen from her in recent years. Her rendition of Pull We Back was the best she has done since the Crop-Over season began and it was clear that she has been working to control some of her higher notes, while not losing her acting dominance. It could even be that this year she is determined to steal the crown from her sister Aziza and the other competitors.
Young G’s song Positive Thinking might not be one of the most exciting in the competition of these 13 to 18 seniors, but when he delivered and it reverberated through the auditorium of the LESC, it was easy to see where he would have scored highly with the judges in a very tough contest of 12 young calypsonians.
This is De MC’s first year in competition, and the 14-year-old Frederick Smith Secondary student earned his way to the finals with Uplift The Youth Of Society and could possibly have been the strongest male performer of the night. His song found support among the crowd who gave rousing response during his presentation and on his exit from the stage.
Honesty once again brought an impassioned plea with Respect the Disabled and earned the judges’ favour for one of the coveted spots, as she urged the public not to neglect this segment of society, telling the crowd that this was her story.
Other contestants included Nubian Queen – My Prayer; Confetti – Mr. Minister; Lil T – Too Big Fuh Yuh Shoes and Queen Ash√ – Cover Girl.
Credit must also be given to the Junior Monarch band and background vocalists who provided impressive musical support for the youngsters in both the 8 to 12 and 13 to 18 categories. [email protected]
by Latoya Burnham