Veteran singer Nicole Thomas' commanding performances at the Tobago Calypso Monarch and Windward Calypso Monarch 2020 saw her capture both titles and $85,000 in cash prizes.
Both shows were postponed by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) Tobago Region in February, after its president Ainsley King said the organisation had only received $800,000 to conduct their 2020 Carnival activities. King said that amount was insufficient.
The competitions were eventually held last Friday and Saturday, respectively, at the Mount Irvine Bay Hotel.
Thomas wooed the judges and the virtual audience with the song Give Her What She Deserves, written by her brother Sheldon Reid. The song addresses Thomas' undying love for the art and gives advice on how it can preserved.
“How it should be respected, nurtured and promoted to ensure continuity,” she said in an interview with Newsday on Wednesday.
Thomas is no stranger to the stage as this is her fifth time capturing the Tobago Monarch title and her tenth Windward Monarch crown.
The victories added to Thomas' joy as she is expecting a child.
Asked how she felt about her wins, she said, “Ecstatic, especially seeing that I am fully pregnant, and another postponement would have meant me not being able to compete.”
Thomas said the shows posed no physical challenges for her.
“Although different to what we were accustomed to, we were still accompanied by a live band and live judges, so the connection was still there.
“The virtual platform, although a solid alternative to live performances in this pandemic, really cannot replace seeing and interacting with the audience. It could be used alongside the live performances as it reaches a wider audience who would not have been able to view the shows. I saw family from abroad being able to comment and enjoy the performances, the views were fantastic,” she said.
The Republic Bank loans officer is carrying on a family tradition as her sister Wendy Thomas Garrick and brother Dillon Thomas are also calypsonians.
In the Tobago Monarch, Caston Cupid placed second, while Leslie Ann Ellis and Giselle Fraser-Washington tied for the third place. In the Windward Monarch, Garth "Squeeze" Washington captured the second spot with Cupid placing third.
Cupid walked away with the people’s choice award in both competitions.