by Shawn Cumberbatch
Good luck to the calypso soothsayers, oracles, and psychics.
They are certainly going to need it to accurately predict who will emerge victorious at Kensington Oval when the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals take place on August 2. There was no clear front runner among the 10 chosen at last Friday night’s semi-final stage which did, however, feature some stand out performances.
Those making the cut included two former kings, Serenader (De Big Show), and Adrian Clarke (Cave Shepherd All Stars), and two former junior monarchs, lone first timer Aziza and Sir Ruel (both from C O Williams House of Soca).
In addition to Aziza, there were two other females to whom this is all familiar, TC (De Big Show), and Chrystal Cummins-Beckles (Cave Shepherd All Stars). And then there are those who have come close to victory previously and will be on the finals stage for the umpteenth time, namely Blood (Headliners), Colin Spencer and Ian Webster (Cave Shepherd All Stars) and Mr. Dale (De Big Show).
The one sure thing calypso fans can easily forecast about the upcoming battle involving this mixture of experienced and youthful competitors is a close fight. This will be amplified even more based purely on the fact that the men considered the Pic-O-De-Crop “big two” – Red Plastic Bag and Gabby – are sitting this one out.
On Friday night at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, the audience got a taste of what to expect at the finals. There were the performances which excited the crowd both for content and entertainment value, including Serenader (Sophony In C Minor and Pulling Down), Blood (Recession and Ah Can’t Wait), Adrian Clarke (Leave De Politicians To Me), Sir Ruel (Geh Dem Wuh Dem Want), Ian Webster (Things We Do For Love).
Clarke and Webster also sang Sociable Jam and One Blood and Sir respectively, , each their natural ability and stage performance. While they might not have had people getting up out of their seats, all others in the final 10 also demonstrated they were good enough to emerge comfortably from among the semi-final 18. They included the ever impressive Chrystal Cummins-Beckles (I Ain’t Giving It Up and One Day), and TC (Time For Healing and Masquerade), Mr. Dale (Walkie Talkie and Nobody’s Business), who made a smooth return to the Pic-O-De-Crop stage, Colin Spencer (Don’t Sing Bout Politicians and Parang Fuh Crop-Over).
Not to be left out was young Aziza whose performances of Guardians of Calypso and Barbados I Pray For You demonstrated the calypso art form is in good hands.