It will be a battle royal when the semi-finals of the Scotiabank Junior Monarch competition come off on July 4 at the Lester Vaughan Secondary School.
The young ones, in both the 8-to-12 and 13-to-18 categories, took to the stage last Saturday in the first Junior Monarch Tent for 2015, giving a very appreciative audience a taste of what they could expect for the remainder of the season.
Without the pressures of competing, the semi-finalists –– chosen from the Preliminaries held on May 16 and 17 at the Steel Shed –– put down strong and thrilling performances, making it clear the judges won’t have any easy task choosing who go forward to the finals next month.
Enthusiastic patrons in the packed school auditorium got their money’s worth –– and then some –– as singers in both categories showed of their skills and intent to make the semis a fiercely contested match. This is sure to be duplicated when they perform at their second Junior Tent on Sunday at Combermere School.
The 13-to-18 category will definitely make an exciting contest at the July 4 semi-finals, as several of them will be doing so for the final time as juniors. Ah-Dee-Lah, singing Remember Me, should reach the finals –– it would be a surprise if she didn’t –– giving defending monarch Sammy G a run for her money for the title. Ah-Dee-Lah’s song looks back on her years in the competition, urging all to remember her.
Ah-Dee-Lah exuded confidence onstage, clearly having loads of fun with the song. And the crowd loved it, giving her the first encore of the night.
The second went to Raheem, who sang Don’t Shoot Me. His song speaks to the shootings of black males in the United States recently, and how he has come to the realization he lives in a paradise called Barbados.
Raheem’s snazzy dance moves and charm captivated the hearts of the patrons, having them begging for more.
De Overcomer, confidently performing Change Yuh Ways, should also advance to the finals.
Other performers, who all stand a fair chance of making the finals are Tall Boy (Respect Due), Lady Tii (A Mother’s Lament), Nubian Queen (Don’t Treat No Woman Like That), Confetti (We Are Sorry), Sharad (In De Mirror), Sparkle T (Lessons For Sunday), Quinn P (Hollywood Calling), RJ (Class Clown) and Kay Kay (Always A Winner).
The 8-to-12 group was equally as entertaining. Dynamo, a regular in the competition, presented the usually witty and humorous calypso in Drinkers Anthem. The junior Christian encouraged the young people to stay away from the alcohol and stick to Pinehill Dairy products.
Star Diamond, small in stature but mighty big in voice, showed she could be up there with the best of them. Singing Not In Front Of Me, this tiny tot was ever confident, capturing the attention of the audience.
Sugar Apple too was self-assured onstage in her rendition of the upbeat social commentary Yah Betta.
Also performing in the category were Liana (I Believe), Brown Star (Free Education), J’Tanya (Doctor Doctor), Starburst (Why), Triple D (Daddy, I Miss You), A@lee-ah (Child In Yuh Mind), Keke Boo (I Believe In You), Sethie K (Bad Behaviour) and Sarai (Too Much Violence).