Words by Tishanna Williams—
Soca Monarch 2014 semi-finals was off the chain! With a first prize of $2 million in play, performers came hard and, in a new twist, the Groovy Soca Category has taken over the Power Soca with respect to entrants. But we’re not too surprised here at LargeUp considering our 2013 Soca Top 10 list pretty much predicted this trend by featuring more groovy than power. Over 77 acts touched the stage AT? vying for a place in the Soca Monarch Finals and, when the dust cleared and the results were in, the judges picks were surprising to say the least. For the first time in years, the finals on “Fantastic Friday” (this year on Feb. 28) will be without some heavy-hitting names.
While no one is particularly surprised at the exclusion of Benjai after his performance where he hit the stage in full swing, (literally) wearing boxer briefs ONLY, the absence of other favorites like Blaxx, Swappi, Shal Marshall and Olatunji from the finals is causing quite a stir among the soca-loving public. It doesn’t help that Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons and Kees all chose not to compete this year.
Some are already saying just give the money to Machel Montano who, having copped the Monarch title last year along with Super Blue, is not required to compete until the final night but already has released a slew of hot tracks. Super Blue’s track “Carnival Yo-Yo” only dropped this past weekend, so it’s too early to tell what impact it will have on the Carnival.
As usual there will be a celeb commentary panel and this year (Tahiry Jose, Anthony Anderson, Nicole Arie Parker and Boris Kodjoe). But, really, the question on everyone’s mind is: With powerhouses like Mr. Killa (whose performance of “Rolly Polly” was the talk of the Semi-Finals) and Skinny Fabulous (his “Behaving the Worst” is inspiring previously unseen levels of wanton revelry) giving local acts heavy competition, will the Soca Monarch title be leaving the country for the first time since its inception in 1993?
Hailing from Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, respectively, these two men have have us anxious to see what they have in store on Fantastic Friday. Although few Trinis would even consider the possibility, is there a chance that the Power and Groovy Soca Monarch title could be taking up residence elsewhere? In two Fridays from now, we find out. In the meantime, take a look at who we think will lead the pack.