Following Sunday’s announcement of the semifinalists for the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch competitions, performers and fans are eagerly anticipating the big showdown at Kensington Oval on July 3.
In all 32 semifinalists have been named, including six competitors who have managed to secure a spot in both competitions.
They are: Kirk Brown with You’re My Number One and Trouble; iWeb, with All Inclusive and Last Time; Adrian Clarke, Soca Feeling and We Festival; Blood, I Feel Alive and Let It G; Mikey, Freedom and Hands on the Road; and HypaSounds Sugar Rush and How She Like It.
Kirk Brown and iWeb, both of whom are members of the Energy Band, said today they were looking forward to the semifinals and doing what it took to make the finals at Bushy Park, St Philip on July 26.
“I am very, very happy, very pleased. It’s a lot of investment and it’s a huge risk because you don’t always get in, but I am very pleased to have gotten through. This is my first time ever in both [competitions]. I’ve been in Sweet Soca and Party Monarch before, but never at the same time,” Brown told Barbados TODAY.
He was also pleased that two of his band mates – iWeb and Imani – made the cut.
“I have no doubt that we are going to push and put on good presentations next Friday. We are really taking care of our instruments – getting a lot of vocal rest. And we are prepared for if and when we make it to finals,” he said.
iWeb, who is also the reigning Pic-o-de-Crop monarch, said he was just “cool and contented”.
“. . . just a matter of organizing and putting things in place and trying to advance to the next stage of competition,” he said.
iWeb, who is already guaranteed a place in this year’s Pic-o-de-Crop finals, was confident that he could handle the pressure of preparing for the three competitions.
“For me it’s about distribution of responsibilities, making sure I have my team together and have everyone understand what I am looking for and what I need. Trying not to stress too much and trying to execute the plans. I am also resting a lot,” the two-time monarch said.
Adrian Clarke was also grateful to have reached the semis in both competitions, especially after his surgery earlier this year.
“I’m feeling good. I intended to make a return to the party scene once my surgical procedure was done so I can celebrate now. I feel like a young boy again having to do this, since I haven’t been doing party music for a good while now. Hope to impress and head to Bushy Park,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Former Party and Sweet Soca Monarch Mikey said: “I am extremely happy to be selected. It had to be a tough job selecting 16 from over 100 songs. I think it is going to be a tight competition even at semifinal level.”
Veteran calypsonian Blood is also anticipating a keen competition.
“A lot of good songs have gotten through. I will do what I know and that is to perform and sing to the best of my abilities,” he said.
Hypasounds, who is getting a lot of public support this year, told Barbados TODAY: “It’s a great feeling and I knows the fans feel the same way. I set out this year not to focus on competition, just to maintain the name ‘Mr. Consistent’. I am prepared to give my all and put on a show the fans have been waiting to see.”
In all, over 200 songs were entered in this year’s Sweet Soca and Party Monarch competitions. This year there were 133 entries in the Sweet Soca competition, up from 114 last year, while there were 82 entries for Party Monarch, up from 58 last year.
Faith Callender, one of the three females in the Party Monarch semifinals, said it was indeed an honour to have been included.
“It feels amazing to be a part of the line-up again this year for the Party Monarch competition. Being one of the youngest in the competition I am eager to perform and show Barbados that I am ready and willing to do all it takes to take me to the top. There are three women in both competitions and I am honoured to be one of them,” the 21-year-old said.
Damien Marvay, a newcomer to the soca stage, said he was over the moon.
“This is my first time . . . putting out something of real value . . ., I didn’t expect to make the finals,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding, “I hope no tears come to my eyes [during next Friday’s performance]. That would be mind-blowing,” Marvay said.
Ahead of tomorrow’s draws for positions in both competitions, Barbadians have also been making their feelings known on the NCF’s announcement, including several Lil Rick fans who thought he should have been included in Sweet Soca.
“Sorry Lil Rick isn’t in the line-up for the Sweet Soca competition. He would’ve done more damage with either Hit After Hit or Gym Instructor,” said Ryan Bayne.
Thomas Katt also questioned: “How did Lil Rick not make it? Only song that can compare with Gym Instructor is Spontaneous [by RPB].
Several fans who commented on Barbados TODAY’s Facebook page also pledged strong support for Hypasounds, including Crystal Fagan and Veronica Boyce, Latoya Shakera Belle and Atinrev Eroom who are all feeling his Sugar Rush.
Biggie Irie and Gorg are the defending monarchs in the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch competitions respectively.