Phenomenal Friday lived up to its billing as hundreds packed Kensington Oval and were treated to over six hours of non-stop soca music.
Ironically, it was not the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch semi-finals but the first ever Bashment Soca contest that proved to be the main crowd puller, as soca fans braved intermittent rains to support their favourite competitors in the three Crop Over contests.
In the end Shane Stiffy Atkinson was the undisputed winner of the Bashment Soca competition, much to the delight of his many and varied fans. He was over the moon to learn that he would be the one driving away with a brand new Kia Picanto, valued at $52,000, at the end of the night.
Performing at number eight, Stiffy ‘mashed up’ the stage with his popular Tek Off Something, on night when it seemed as though the organizers had definitely saved the best for last. From the time he was announced as the final contestant in the Bashment Soca competition, Stiffy fans went wild, ensuring that their favourite got the maximum 30 points for crowd response.
Stiffy came dressed in two shirts with ‘Gun Violence’ and ‘Tax’ written on them. And needless to say, when he asked the crowd what to do with them, they responded with his popular refrain: ‘Tek Off Something and pelt it way’.
The seasoned performer, who first came to us with Carr My Sheep In Town, cemented his place in the hearts of both fans and judges on Friday night by adding a clever Picong verse.
In addition to the car, Stiffy also walked away with $6 000 in cash, a Sony stereo system, a trophy and a year’s free valet service from Freekz Customs.
Speaking to the media, Stiffy said he was not only thankful, but also ready to take his Star Quality Entertainment brand to the world.
“It has been a long journey and we now got work to do. I will not stop until they recognize Star Quality Entertainment around the world,” he said, as he was close to tears.
He thanked everyone who would have supported him throughout the years.
“Big up to everyone who was here from day one. My family they have always supported me, they keep me going and always encourage me never to give up,” Stiffy added.
In a very keenly contested Sweet Soca semifinal, the judges had a tougher time choosing a final eight. In fact, while many were expecting veteran calypsonian Grynner to make the cut, in the end the judges felt that his performance did not merit a place in the finals.
Newcomer Joaquin Brewster is definitely headed for Bushy Park on July 24th after putting down one of the most impressive performances of the night, even though he was the last of 16 performers in the Sweet Soca contest.
Marvay was also quite impressive with his popular song Know The Face and will be heading to Soca Royale for the first time.
Also going forward to challenge reigning Sweet Soca monarch Edwin Yearwood for his crown will be reigning Party Monarch Peter Ram.
The lone female in the line-up is Nikita, who was a reserve in last year’s competition.
Meantime, this year’s Party Monarch semis had to take a backseat to both the Sweet Soca and Bashment Soca competitions. In fact, you can say it rained on the National Cultural Foundation’s Party Monarch parade since this year’s competition was nowhere near as exciting as last year’s and by the time that competition started, not only was it raining heavily, but many patrons had also left the venue.
The performers however, continued their performances as scheduled.
Reigning Party Monarch Peter Ram will have to defend his title this year against reigning Sweet Soca Monarch Edwin Yearwood, as well as the popular duo of Leadpipe and Saddis who secured a spot in that competition for the first time.
The full list of Sweet Soca finalists is as follows: Adrian Clarke, Biggie Irie, Joaquin, Marvay, Mikey, Mr Dale, Nikita and Peter Ram. The reserve is Yannick Hooper.
The full list of Party Monarch finalists is as follows: Edwin Yearwood, iWeb, Leadpipe and Saddis, Lil Rick,Mikey,Mr. Dale, Mr Blood and TC. The Reserve is King Bubba.