From songs about social issues to songs about "sugar daddies" the Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) Semifinals event at The Rig in San Fernando covered a myriad of topics while still holding on to typical themes of love and relationships gone bad due to infidelity.
The word gramoxone was featured in one song and, despite a decision in 2012 to screen the competition to discourage the excessive presence of songs surrounding alcohol themes, several entrants still offered dittys about drinking.
Fans of the genre crammed into every available space at the Rig, flowing out of the doorways and standing near the parking lot for a chance to see their favourite chutney.
Rajkavir Singh, one of the organisers of the event told Newsday the turnout was the largest crowd and "the most vibes in the last few years for the semis."
From older couples grooving to the chutney soca beats to one purple-haired patron waving a foot-long melongene during performances, the crowd eagerly sang along to their favourite performances.
General Imran (GI), with his song called Divorce, which touched on domestic violence against men, was definitely one of the crowd-pleasers. Not surprisingly, he topped the scoring for the semifinal leg of the competition.
In second place, according to the score sheets was newcomer Amit Sagram.
In a release yesterday, organisers described the event as "one of the best in the competition’s history."
"For the very first time in the history of the CSM, more than 20 persons scored over 200 points by the judges, crystalising the fact that the quality of the songs and performances by artistes this year are of a higher standard than past years.
"We must also mention the outstanding performances from our female contestants last night, who have proved without a doubt that they will also be a force to reckon with on February 16, at the Grand Finals of CSM24."
Organisers said, because of the quality of music and the high scores, 21 people head to the finals, at Skinner Park, to challenge defending champions Nishard Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal.
"Prize monies will not be affected by this move but instead we hope to motivate and create incentives to an industry that is clearly on an upward swing."
The event was sponsored by the National Carnival Commission, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Guardian Newspaper, CNC 3, Sangeet 106FM, Rent-a-Amp Sound Co, Carib Brewery Limited, Black & White Scotch, Firepower Fireworks, Blue Waters and Southex.
The 21 finalists
1. Veekash Sahadeo
2. Wakaman – Keiron Tyron Williams
3. Adesh Samaroo
4. Amit Sagram
5. Surendra Ramoutar
6. Nisha Ramsook
7. Veejai Ramkissoon & Rome
8. Russel Mohammed
9. Hitman – Neeshan Prabhu
10. Andy Singh
11. Hemlatha Dindial
12. Kenneth Supersad
13. Kavita Maharaj
14. Kavita Ramkissoon
15. Nigel Gobin
16. GI – Imran Beharry
17. Rikki Jai
18. Amit Sooknanan & Amit D
19. Avinash Sookraj – Climaxx
20. Omardath Maraj
21. Daddy Chinee