Before a massive crowd estimated as perhaps the biggest ever at Bushy Park, St Philip, Edwin Yearwood retained his Sweet Soca Competition crown with a sizzling rendition of Home Sweet Home.
With 25 points on offer for performance, a similar number for melody and 20 for lyrics, points gained in those three categories especially would have gone a long way towards the 86 total he eventually accumulated.
Edwin performed the song which extolled the virtues of his homeland with much aplomb. And for those who often discount the relevance of vocal ability in the this party genre, Edwin reminded those present of his excellent vocal skills, working his voice through several changes of pitch with the ease of the consummate professional that he is.
The energy, dynamism on stage, the coordinated dancers, the fireworks and the use of the national colours in the costumes, were simply the icing on a night when Edwin’s vocal skills enhanced his performance and proved the cake on which the thousands feasted and provided his path to another crown. For his efforts he won $10 000 and a car valued at $81 000.
And Edwin had to be at his best as Damien Marvay matched him in almost every department. Not least in vocal prowess. Marvay is an exceptional singer and though the 78 allocated to him seemed a tad niggardly, had he scored a victory it would have shocked no one.
He slowed his Know The Face marginally from what had been presented previously during the season but that did not affect the sweetness of the melody to any significant degree. He kept his presentation simple, wove it into his performance rather than delay his stage appearance with lame preamble and generally had a spectacular night.
In this Barbados’ 50th year of Independence, Edwin perhaps outdid him in the lyrical category where Edwin’s patriotic appeal might have garnered more approval than Marvay’s theme which centered around the idea of not remembering an individual’s name but recognizing the face. But both gentlemen provided wonderful entertainment. Marvay’s prize was $17 500.
Peter Ram copped a surprising third place with 62 points for his Good Morning. The song has a lovely melody but on the night Ram was seemingly caught in transition – that of whether to sing or recite the lyrics – and he did both which affected his performance. But the familiarity of the song meant that fans reacted positively to the music. After all they were there to enjoy it, not judge it. And, they fully enjoyed it. He won $12 500.
Mr Dale took fourth spot and 58 points for his Nothing Sweeter. Again his strength was his vocalization and the song was quite melodic. But like some of the other acts, Mr Dale’s overall performance was diminished by this virus that has spread; artistes stopping in the middle of their songs to talk, sometimes as long as two minutes of asking mundane questions of the fans and breaking the flow they have established. Just sing the bloody songs, it’s a competition for crying out loud and keep discourse to a minimum, if used at all. His prize money was $9 000.
Nikita did not crack the top four, which was somewhat surprising, as she really impressed with her Bun It Up, a very melodic number. Joaquin had arguably the best presentation of the night with his barbershop intro in This Place but what followed on stage did not quite maintain that initial high. Adrian Clarke’s How We Feting was not among the most melodic on show while Biggie Irie’s Money Well Spent, for all his sweet vocals, was simply flat because the singer put very little physical effort into making it even appear to be a sweet soca party song. The other artiste on stage on the night was Mikey with CEO. They all won $5 000 each.
There seemed to be a few technical sound issues that put a slight damper on an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable sweet soca contest.