Tight competition

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Although there was a plethora of new faces on the MQI/98.1 The One Soca Monarch semi-final stage, only two of the 14 finalists were newcomers to the soca competition. Skung Yung and Betty B will be heading to the National Botanical Gardens on July 28 for their first Soca Monarch finals, after they wowed judges last weekend at the Kensington Oval. The results were announced on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. after the five-hour show.

Betty B was the competition opener and the seasoned performer showed no signs of nerves as she impressively executed her song Nah Holding Back.

Meanwhile, Skung Yung, a locally renowned guitarist by the name Ian Alleyne, having backed popular bands such as Krosfyah and Square One, commanded the stage. No stranger to performing, Skung Yung kept the audience entertained with his smooth and groovy delivery of So Happy. During his performance, he did a guitar solo which left the crowd awestruck.

Newcomers Lizzie Jay, Queen T, Hotta Flames, GQ, Grateful Co, Peach Bless and Ray Dainja gave commendable performances. However, it was a keenly contested competition where even some veteran acts such as the energetic and lively performance of the reigning Pic-O-De-Crop monarch Mr Blood could hardly stand out.

Nationally recognized ‘king of de road’, the Mighty Grynner, unfortunately, gave way to nerves as he forgot his words during his performance but quickly recovered by showing the audience his audacious dancing moves.

One of the most thrilling acts of the night came from Leadpipe. The crowd’s response to his single Sometime was tremendous. Patrons were calling for his name as soon as the opening melody started and the cheers echoed throughout the Oval. It was a touching moment as the crowd sang the song word-for-word without prompting. Expressing his gratitude to his fans, he broke into an extra verse where he thanked them for their reception of the song and spoke of his six-year career being worth it due to their devotion.

The younger acts such as Jus D, Shaquille, Faith, Marzville and Jamal Slocombe were also well received by the crowd.

The sweet soca genre has dominated the competition, as Natahlee’s song, Why We Live is the sole party song to make it to the finals. Aside from Natahlee, three former monarchs will also be contesting on the finals’ stage: Biggie Irie, TC, and Adrian AC Clarke.

With last year’s monarchs Lil Rick and Mikey also gearing up, it is expected that the showdown at the National Botanical Gardens on July 28 will be fierce. (KK)

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