Yes, dear readers. I'll be blogging the show 'live', from the comfort of my home. If you don't know anything about the Soca Monarch read this. Meanwhile the rest of you should grab some tea and biscuits quickly. It's going to be a long, but gloriously overdone night! Things should get started at about 9.15pm (TT time), so I'll see those of you sad folks who'll be home and online this Carnival Friday then!
Don't forget to click the 'Refresh' button on your browser for updates, and feel free to post comments. As a general disclaimer, I'd just like to say if you notice my updates becoming erratic, assume the electricity in Belmont is gone or my internet is down or I'm off somewhere having fun!
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It's early days yet, but I thought I'd fill you in on one of the favorites to win this year's competition. One word: PALANCE. Watch this NOW. They should perform in position number 11 in what's called the 'power' soca half of the competition which comes later on in the night. More on the line-up later.
Tonight's competition, affectionately known as 'Fantastic Friday' will see 13 soca acts compete for the titles of GROOVY SOCA MONARCH and INTERNATIONAL SOCA MONARCH. The reigning Groovy monarch is Faye Ann Lyons-Alvarez (whew! lots of parts to that name). I can't remember what her song was last year, but I do remember she was pregnant and couldn't move around much. This year she's back, performing in position number 8 with a song called "Call Meh". And while she's not pregnant this year, she's still a force to be reckoned with.
"Once I'm in the race, anything can happen," she recently said. She'll come up against the likes of Rikki Jai (singing "Barman" at number 4) and two-time G Soca Mon winner Shurwayne (yes, that's how you spell it, apparently) Winchester who is singing "Murdah" at number 7.
For the expected order of appearance for the GROOVY SOCA MONARCH and INTERNATIONAL SOCA MONARCH click here. Ahh, the kettle just finished boiling. Time for a some Earl Grey with a refreshing lemon zest.
A bunch of drunk friends (aka my blogging assistants) just arrived. OMG they want me to open a bottle of red wine. Reader, I may yet give in to temptation.
CNMG is showing replay video footage from another fete (called Ladies' Fete). It's Fay Ann and her husband Bunji Garlin. It's just dawned on me that all season the two of them have been rather lazy performers onstage. At fetes I've been to, they've looked like soca's 'royal couple' being complacent. Was it a strategy? Will Fay Ann suddenly become alive onstage once more tonight?
A whole set of MACO fireworks just went off over the Oval. We saw it from the balcony at the back of my house! Clearly the show has started. But CNMG appears to be unaware of this. Hmmm...more wine!
A poor opening. A really, really tired sounding Ainsely King just performed "Bawl Out". David Rudder compares it to his classic "Hammer" on CNMG's celebrity panel. Not a justified comparison.
Nnika Francis is performing "Survivor". She looks like a cross between Beyonce and the MGMT band. She comes onstage with a white washer-woman ensemble, then rips it off to reveal a Beyonce-esque dress. Wait she sounds like Beyonce, too. The song appears to be a break-up song. There are annoying bele dancers in the back. The crowd is looking listless."This song is dedicated to anybody going through hard times," she says.
Thank God that's over. But what the hell? Synergy Soca Star Metro (Michael Pierre) just came onstage looking like an alien from Avatar!!!! He's singing “Streets of Trinidad”, begging the crowd to sing along. Those back-up dancers are also looking unrehearsed. And something weird is going on with Pierre's crotch. Dear Lord...
Rikki Jai is singing "Barman". Why does the melody remind me of KucheeKucheeLaLa? Rikki is really working that crotch. Of course he's wearing a silver sequined suit. Waving a rag. Breathing stage smoke. His dancers have cute catsuits with silver sequined hoods. Hmmm the giant Suppligen flag at the front of the crowd is blocking my view. It's a good performance. The crowd is moving. But is it GROOVY? It's almost as though Rikki WANTS to be power soca but is holding back.
Chucky sings "Jamming Something". I like this guy. He can dance. The choreography is TIGHT at times then suddenly it's LOOSE though. The CNMG audio is CRAP btw. An agent in the crowd tells me the Oval is currently HALF EMPTY. People saving $ to go see Beyonce?
SHURWAYNE WINCHESTER. At last a performer! He's hot; confident. The dancers are TIGHT. Shurwayne looks fresh. I LIKE this song. An absolute delight. MINUS points for that "dance" interlude featuring a HUGE woman with her black panties showing beneath her white lace ensemble. "Where's my murder?" Shurwayne asks. Suddenly, the woman mounts him onstage. They topple to the floor. He appears unconscious. Still, it's full fledged social commentary going on here. Murder as love as life in TT. Beautiful, gaudy, kitsch.
PATRICE ROBERTS!!! At last a REAL performer! She's hot; confident. AND she can sing. But she's wearing a butterfly on her face. And she sounds a little tired. Patrice WAS supposed to perform BEFORE chucky. A tale is in the making I suspect, dear readers. WAIT. is her costume in fact an incomplete version of her costume for her next performance? It's falling off. ALL IN ALL a little disorganised. She didn't seem to do justice to her song.
FAY ANN. Damian Lemon, in drag, does a hilarious Beyonce parody to open for her. I like her clothes. I don't think I like the ethnic stereotypes onstage with her. Hmmm I just spotted a dancer who danced in the Lydian's Messiah a few months ago. Not what I want to be thinking about now (bless you Pat Bishop). Not a bad performance. Simple. Effective. But is it good enough to win? "Patrice fail. Fay ann get more pips before she even get on the stage," reports Lisa Allen-Agostini via text message. "Dead silence for TC," she adds.
Did I mention the CNMG audio is REALLY bad? EVERYBODY is talking about it online! AND they just interrupted Zolah, who's song "More Water" is actually my favorite at the moment. After her, Lil Bits comes on. Such a short sexy girl. The song is also edgy (it's called "Careful"). But as Lisa notes, "wow lil bits is boring". I'm going to have some tea. (We've long finished two bottles of wine...)
Delroy Lindo (the guy from The Cider House Rules) is on CNMG's "celebrity panel". Poor man, I keep mistaking him for Ving Rhames. At this stage in the night it's really for Kerwin Dubois and Farmer Nappy to lose this competition. "Pavement" is, melodically, the best song in the whole she-bang. OMG Nappy is on the fence! It's HOT! "Now feeling like is a fete" Lisa says.
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12.41am (Feb 13):
The INTERNATIONAL (POWER) SOCA MONARCH segment has started now. Who is that? I think it's Daddy Chess singing "Ready of Not". His hair is really weird. He also repeatedly asks the crowd to do things with their glow sticks. Wildindian in the comments section below notes, "Daddy put me to sleep twice while he sang."
Somebody called TC is onstage. What is it with soca artistes wearing scarves??? He's in an all-white suit with a white scarf. At the opening of the 3 Canal show last week the band wore scarves--but that was because they didn't have their final costumes as yet (plus Queen's Hall is cold). Anyhow TC's scarf looks kinda weird...all that jumping with the scarf precariously perched on a shoulder...It's fashionable, I guess but a scarf at SOCA MONARCH???
In contrast I AM LOVING Shal Marshall and Screws (Stephenson Marshall and Richard Barrington) in their jailhouse pyjamas. The song “Police” is undoutedly kinky as well. Hmm. Cute. The back up dancers are the best for the night so far. Oh and there's Denise Belfon as a judge. They just called her, "Your Lordship". However, they also asked her "to come". Woa. Look at those black and white knickers/trousers she's wearing!
Sorry dear readers, I dozed off. What can I say? Am only human! I appear to have missed a great chunk of a very long performance by someone who may have been Skinny Fabulous. In the end there I woke up in time to see a shitload of costumes on stage (was there an alien face among them?) Now Mr Killer is performing. His performance began with a very homoerotic video of a hot half-naked man running all over the place. Now Mr Killer is staring at a woman gyrating her ass. Why is it in TT culture we've so deeply fetished sex and the human (particularly female) body. Sex is really not that big of a deal. Anyhow, try not to think too much tonight Andre, not tonight. My friend Fedon Honore just said, via messenger, "Killa continues to be the most unintelligible entertainer since Mumbles the Clown".
Of the excellent Tallpree, Honore notes that he came on in all white and then got dirty. "Excellent" he says. I agree and I like this performance. Lots of jab jabs and ole mas characters. Just the right amount of bachannal to wake you up. "Pure energy, transfixing," Fedon says.
Farmer Nappy is off to a good start to his "I Pay For This". He maintains the momentum. A good showing. Fay Ann is next. The crowd is screaming, chanting her name. She appears on stage! Oh my she's wearing a spacesuit of some kind...but looking as fabulous as ever. Is it me or is she off key? "They keep telling lies on me," she sings. Hmm, last year she brought on a baby. This year she has brought on a...Transformer? With his arm stuck? What's that? She's the world's first female transformer? Is there such a thing as a MALE transformer? Next, please!
PALANCING! Starts with a simple bele dancer on a Palancing theme. JW and Blaze (Jason Williams and Ancil Isaac Jr) appear. They are wearing black leather, very, very cool. They also appear to have worked on their performance skills; are in sync, following a careful choreography. I think this is exciting, but not as exciting as Tallpree. WAIT that was before COOKIE monster came onstage...oh gorsh it could be close.
Okay so it's more or less over. We just have to wait for a few more performances to finish before we hear of results. Oh wait, there's Ronnie McIntosh and KMC. One of them just told the crowd, "Good morning" WTF? I HATE that. In a fete the last thing you need to be reminded of is the day/hours after a fete when you'll be groggy and hung over. They really need to learn about Keats' idea of Negative Capability; luxuriating in the moment without knowing too much. Like what time it is!
Hmm that snippet of pan was refreshing after the night's drivel. Those dozen notes had more authenticity that much else. Hmm KMC just brought on his mom. That's a low, low blow KMC, low!
On another note, Fedon just pointed out that Iwer George apparently did not show. Why is it that somebody alway is a no-show?
THIS JUST IN: Apparently one of the VIP boxes RAN OUT OF COFFEE, due to the high demand. Apparently, lots of people there were as bored as we often were tonight, in the comfort of our homes.
3.34am:Btw just realised Blaxx was DA BOMB (I missed it during another tea break). LOVED his melodies and the whole gothic presentation they just showed on the replay. I wouldn't mind if he won, actually.
RESULTS Groovy Soca Monarch:
1. Shurwayne Winchester 58pts
2. Fay Ann Lyons 57pts
3. Rikki Jai
4. Patrice Roberts
POWER SOCA MONARCH:
1. Blaze and JW 84pts
2. Fay Ann Lyons 64pts
3. Shal Marshall and Screws 60pts
4. Tallpree 56 pts
Well folks, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for keeping me and my buddies company. Special thanks to my agents in the field Lisa and Abi. See you again soon!