The Queen’s Park Savannah’s Grand Stand came alive on Thursday evening for the International Soca Monarch semi-finals, as 34 soca artistes from across the region vied for ten spots on the night of February 9, when $300,000 will be up for grabs.
Despite severe downsizing due to costs, the event managed to draw a sizeable crowd as artistes kept patrons interested in their musical prowess and onstage antics.
Soca veteran Blaxx stole the show after an energetic performance of his monster hit Hulk, with one of his dancers dressed as the titular character, while St Lucian soca star Lashley Winter (Motto) was met with uproarious applause after his performance of Party Lit.
Despite a spirited performance, long-time contestant Farmer Nappy failed to impress the audience with his rendition of Wifey and newcomer Turner moved patrons with his soulful performance of Champions. Orlando Octave walked away a clear crowd favourite after a scintillating performance of Love You So and thrilled the audience as the Single hitmaker showcased his freestyling skills mere seconds before his allotted time was over.
However, a glitch in background music led to Kerlene Joseph, aka Kerlz, leaving the stage mid-performance, only to return after technicians corrected the problem. The performance of soca newbie Addelon Braveboy (Banjela) was also stalled by technical difficulties, but resumed shortly after.
Younger artistes Jadel and St Lucian duo Mighty and Subance engaged the audience, but veteran performer 5Star Akil failed to impress with his Feel Right.
Newsday spoke to patron Angela McQueen, who said while she was impressed with the performances, she was disappointed in the quality of production and organisation by promoters.
“A lot of the younger acts really saved the show, they put their best foot forward and I’m very proud they were able to perform so well.
“But I don’t like the organisation behind the event. This was supposed to be an international event and it seems like everything was hashed together at the last minute. I don’t think I’ll be going to the finals.”
The finalists are: Aaron Duncan, Ambi, Asten Isaac, Yankee Boy & Rikki Jai, Blaxx, Farmer Nappy, Jadel, M1,
Marzville, Orlando Octave, Rome, Turner and defending champion Voice