Four years after winning the Junior Calypso Monarch Competition, a determined and passionate Dequon Quon Allyene gained his second crown late Friday night when he became this country’s newest Courtesy Garage Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso King at Kensington Oval, toppling defending champion Classic who didn’t place.
Even weeks before stepping onto the stage at the mecca of cricket to perform for the judges and the thousands of screaming calypso enthusiasts, Quon’s victorious Animal Kingdom had already stolen the hearts of his many ‘subjects’ as it gained a steady rise in popularity on the airwaves, his House of Soca Tent, and in the nooks and crannies.
Despite this being his first time among the veterans on the national calypso contest big stage, Quon demonstrated a maturity level that belied his 21 years by delivering ‘the goods’ wrapped up in a package of captivating lyrics, luring melodies and that sing-along sustained hook line ‘like a beeeee,’ which created a surreal sound of bees buzzing.
The effective use of a troupe of little female dancers outfitted like bees that graced the stage each time this exciting performer reached the punchline, added value to the presentation and by extension, the overall offering.
Quon, a former Queen’s College student, took control of his vocals, and the stage, as he owned the song during his engaging rendition that brought sections of the audience to their feet singing, waving and swaying to the infectious kaiso, which compared and contrasted the life of animals to that of humans in order to depict the social issues of the day.
So convincing and appealing was the overall performance of this rising Barbadian singing star, that he was the only contestant to earn triple digits, beating his nearest rival and ironically Ian Webster, who co-wrote the song with television news anchor Cheyne Jones of Water Street Boys fame, by15 points.
Quon received 107 points and the top prize of an electric Nissan Leaf motor car valued at $92,000 and a trophy.
By the time MC Mac Fingall had announced the second-place position in the wee hours of Saturday, the new monarch was observed smiling broadly and nodding his head in apparent anticipation of triumph as he stood in line with the other competitors on stage.
He was soon flocked by members of his tent team and father who lifted him off the ground as they celebrated in dance and loud screams.
“It feels great. I have been working very, very hard this year and the hard work has paid off. I feel great,” a beaming newly-crowned kaiso monarch told the media gathered on stage after he was presented with his giant-sized trophy by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
“I thank my father, thank my mother, thank my management … I could not have done it without the support … Water Street Boys, brilliant, brilliant songs all the time from Junior Monarch until now, and for sure I will continue working with them. The support from I-Web and Cheyne [Jones] has been tremendous. The House of Soca … have to big up the posse all the time. Thank you so much guys, it means the world to me, and I will continue making you all proud,” Quon promised.
He also gave credit to the late musical icon Adrian Boo Husband for giving him the opportunity to hone his talent in the very early stages of his singing life.
“Boo must be really rolling in his grave with joy … brought me to the Headliners Tent and from there I just went on and kept on keeping on and pushing,” he declared.
I-Web ended the pre-intermission segment of the show in a theatrically-filled rendition of Dear Lord.
His fit-for-purpose presentation saw him being led onto the stage by a choir procession whose members were clad like a real Anglican Church choir in red and white with him bringing up the rear holding a staff, and draped in head-to-feet apparel typical of a bishop.
Dear Lord was a prayer for various personalities and issues on the island. While his performance was plausible, it did not hold my undivided attention lyrically. But he is $40,000 richer.
Another contestant who did not stimulate my musical appetite and made me want more on a finals night was third-place veteran Crystal Cummins-Beckles. She rendered a Crazy song and was dressed and acted the part as she sang of things in the society that made her crazy. One notable standout in her visual presentation, however, was the inclusion of comments from City street character Ninja Man who provided some comic relief when he declared “being crazy is a serious thing.”
The multiple-time Pic-O-De-Crop finalist who was only one point behind I-Web, walked away with $20,000 in prize money, while TC, the Kaiso Reporter, and another regular finalist and veteran was also one point apart from Cummins-Beckles.
If I were a judge, I would have switched the places of these two ladies. For me, TC’s contribution was more impactful and attention-getting. She role-played a reporter for the kaiso art form and used that medium to tackle a range of national issues. Her reward was $15,000.
The other 14 positions were not announced on the night, but among those who impressed were first-timer John Yard with his nostalgic and powerfully rendered I Will Remember You that resurrected memories of a list of prominent Barbadian figures, and Doyenne whose Love Affair, was vocally and musically melodic and smoothly presented up until the very end when the verve appeared to have waned a bit. She used a double entendre title that focused on her love for country.
The defending monarch, Classic, who failed to get into the top tier, gave a classic showing with Duh Get In but seemed unable to produce that umph to pass the post in a timely manner.
Also performing were Rudefus ringing De Church Bell; Teri singing Who We Are; Colin Spencer suggesting If Yah Do These Things; Sammy G crying Dear Diary; Billboard recommending an alternative Recovery Plan; Mr Blood chastising Mr Skeptic; Raanan declaring If I Was To Win; Imara contending that We Come Here To Work; Jude Clarke, Struggling; Donella illustrating Dat Is Calypso; and De Announcer pointing out that Mia Loves Ds. (EJ)