The national Power Soca Monarch competition officially kicked off last week Thursday, with the preliminary round showcasing a total of 111 competitors vying for a chance to dethrone the reigning Monarch “Jalon “Boyzie” Olive on the big Stage at the National Stadium on Fantastic Friday.
The preliminaries were held over a 4-day period from July 6th-9th, at Carnival City on The Carenage in St. George’s in which the judges came up with a list of 32 competitors to move onto the semi-final round.
Of the 111 soca artistes that competed in the semifinal round, it was Sherwin “Win boy aka Mr. Walkie” Paul, who hails from Coals Gap in St. David, who topped the list on 216 points with his song called“Drama,” tying with Kenton “Bubba” Ashton with his selection “Black and Famous.”
This year, St. David’s dominated the preliminaries with more than 10 artistes qualifying advancing.
These include newcomers Keron “Lil Kerry” Noel, with his selection “Hold down” and Kevon “Blaze” Francis, with his song “King” after several attempts over the years.
The two finished the preliminaries amongst the top 10 competitors in 3rd and 6th positions on 210 and 213 points respectively.
Three-times Monarchs Luni Spark and Electrify, also finished on 213 points, with their selection “Natural Disaster”.
Both Blaze and Lil Kerry took to their facebook pages to express thanks to the “Most High” for bringing them to this point.
“The first person I wanna (want to) thank is d (the) Almighty cause (because) without him nothing is possible… Big up to #BuildDeVybz…. I wanna thank the #Fans of #V.#I.#A ull (you all are) d one that supported MI (me) from since I started soca in #2013…now as I made it to d #SemiFinals I feel like my hard work is paying off. I really appreciate it from d heart much love from yours truly Blaze Francis,” Blaze wrote on his page.
In the case of Lil Kerry, he posted: “I just wanna thank God for finally answering my Prayers”.
Blaze and Lil Kerry shared the preliminary stage last week Friday with fellow St. David’s soca duo Dingann “Lil Natty” Henry and Nyelon “Thunda” Williams.
Lil Natty and Thunda also made it into the semi-finals of the competition in the 8th position on 209 points, with their selection “Top Striker.”
Also hailing from St. David’s were Sheldon Douglas in position 12 with his selection “Wreck it” on 201 points, as well as Javis “Muddy” Cuffie with his song entitled “Not a Drill” (196 points) in 18th position and Keishon “Squeeze Head” Hazzard, who finished in position 29 on 192 points with “Brutalize”.
Other finalists included Carriacou’s Finber “Shortpree” Andrews, who sang “Look him”, soca duo Cloud Five – Jason Phillip and Prince Andrews with their selection “D Beast” and Jermaine “Supersar” Simon with her selection, “Lioness”, as well as Brendon “Killa B” Mc Kie (King Kong).
The reigning Groovy Monarch, Shondell “Dash” Amada also made it into the semi-finals with his song “Ants nest,” as well as veteran soca artiste Elimus “Inspector” Gilbert who did “Uncle is still relevant.”
Also on the list is reigning Calypso Monarch, Findley “Scholar” Jeffery and his song “Cut and paste”, 2000 Monarch Evyln “Zingo” Alexander who did “Trouble”, along with Andrew “Hitz” Phillip featuring Valene Nedd with a song called “Show them”, Rio “Snakey” St. Paul (Elements).
Former monarch, Shem “Terror D General” Bernard performed his track called “True Colours” but did not get the approval of the judges.
Outraged, some diehard fans took to SMC’s facebook page shortly after the results were posted online, expressing anger that the 2011 Monarch formerly known as “Terror Kid” did not make it to the semi-finals.
“So no Terra Kid. Allu mad. That man was better than most ppl there” They really fighting down the SPADES,” commented one individual in a post directly below SMC’s post.
“Y’all need to get better judges than that. Judges that are not bias,” said another individual.
A cast of 32 hopeful soca artistes will compete against each other in the semi-final round carded for July 28 at the Grenville Bus Terminus, Grenville St. Andrew for a chance to take on 3-times Monarch, Jalon “Boyzie” Olive, who is looking to secure crown number 4 below his belt in the 2017 season.