As calypsonians prepare for Sunday night’s battle at the national sporting stadium at Queen’s Park, the season has been marred by what has become known as the semi-final glitch.
The Spicemas Corporation (SMC) was forced to include three calypsonians who were originally left out of the list of semi-finalists selected for the July Melody/Papittettee show held at Grenville, St. Andrew on July 24.
All three artistes – came from the St. David’s based King Man’s calypso tent, headed by reigning calypso monarch, Ajamu.
SMC was forced to apologise for the hiccup in the score sheet of the preliminary round of the Calypso competition, which led to the removal of four artistes who were originally slated to compete in the semi-final round, two days before the show.
Those who were axed in the end were Germain Simon (Super Star), Bernard White (Vynse) Janice Augustine (Janice) and Christopher Antoine (Squeezy) while Phelon Blackette (Smallies), Kelvin Celestine (Otis) and Arthur Stephens (Smokey) were their replacements.
CEO of SMC, Kirk Seetahal told reporters at a press briefing that the hiccup was as a result of a computer glitch and was not a fault of the judges, artistes or SMC itself.
According to Seetahal, the errors were brought to his attention by Edison Mitchell (Ajamu), days after the hosting of the preliminary round, as he went through the score sheets of competitors who did not make the first semi-final list.
“I want to stress that the process has not failed us, it was because of the process that we were able to identify that there were errors. It was not an error of a judge cheating. It was not an issue of Spicemas cheating. It was a computer error. The reason that it was identified was because every participant is given his or her score sheet after the competition that they can evaluate themselves.
“…It was brought to our attention that there were some irregularities. I immediately called in our chief judge and our tabulator and I personally went through the scoring. Unfortunately, the list of semi-final entrants into the Calypso semi-finals (had to be) changed.
“The process is a fair process. The only reason that this was identified is because the artiste themselves, get a copy of their scores at the end of the competition and they are the ones that pointed it out. It is not an issue of Spicemas selecting persons to go forward. If we were selecting persons to go forward we would not be giving the verified scores to the artiste themselves.
The SMC Chief Executive said the error identified was in the second song of the completion and he used the opportunity to apologise for the change that had to be made.
“The error identified was in the second song selection…the highest and lowest score are usually dropped and it was not dropped in that instance. We understand that it is no fault of yours. We sincerely and humbly apologise for the errors that have been made. At SMC we endeavour to ensure that the results are accurate…this was a computer glitch,” he remarked.
According to Seetahal, the same due diligence will be exercised for the other shows and will continue going into the finals.
“…Double checking, verifying, ensuring that the system works and not only relying on the computer system but making sure that we also do it manually…two or three times before the results are given. What will continue to happen is the process that makes it free and fair that all artistes will be given their score sheet so that they themselves can also look at the judges’ comments, verify their scores themselves…” he said.
At the end of the semi-final show, the three artistes who were included – Smallies, Otis and Smokey – did not make it to the final, which takes place on Sunday night.