Stiffy has successfully done the double in two consecutive years by emerging the winner of the Bashment Soca competition of 2017. It is with great admiration that I express resounding congratulations to him for defending his title and putting on a spectacular show on Friday, July 7. I certainly enjoyed his performance, as I watched attentively from a bird’s eye view.
On another note, Bashment Soca has been criticized by many Barbadians from its inception, but I believe that it has its place on the calendar of events for the festival. After any competition, a period of reflection, assessment, and evaluation must always follow. One striking reality that stands out from the last two Bashment Soca competitions is that Stiffy can sing, is a very versatile performer, and a long term star in the making. In retrospect, and in my critical analysis, I certainly believe that this has worked for him over the past two years of this competition. I look forward to Stiffy venturing into other areas of music in the years to come.
However, making the competition highly competitive should be one of the goals to attract new singers. Stiffy’s song was not one of the most popular ones, but his performance was outstanding and I never underestimated his ability to perform excellently. It was evident that Scrilla with his song Wood had an enormous amount of support from the crowd, but his singing and performance could not be triumphant over Stiffy’s.
The other singers can examine the positives from Friday night’s competition. In order to be highly competitive contestants in the future, they need to spend some time on voice training with the hope of adding greater value to their overall performances. I believe that the singer Marzville of last year’s song Bang Bim has already begun to do so because he has made some improvement in his singing, but he still has a lot of work to do.
On the other hand, I have to confess that I agree with Anthony Nelson of CBC, Admiral International’s views that this year’s calypso songs are not of the highest quality. This was especially evident in the Soca Royale segment. The two longstanding calypsonians, Ras Iley and Grynner, were outstanding and were able to rock the crowd with their song. Red Plastic Bag, a gym in his own right, was phenomenal as the crowd partied to his song Boat Ride. TC was also good, but I expect a better performance from her for the finals of the Sweet Soca competition, if she plans to emerge the winner.
I was also happy to see that so many Barbadians came out to support the three competitions. The crowd appeared to be bigger than last year. The only problem I had with some spectators is that they came to the event with a winner in mind.
Although there is nothing wrong with this, it creates a problem when people psychologically convince themselves that a particular artiste must be the winner, despite the great performance of another. It is only fair and just that the winner of any competition be given his or her rightful title based on the performance of the night and not because the song is popular.
The decision of the judges was justifiable in every aspect.