It’s the mecca of Soca competitions on island and this year the fanfare was set at an all-time high. The much anticipated inclusion of the record setting four-time Groovy Monarch, Arthur, was in the air for the better part of the season as was the song of choice for the defending Power Soca Monarch, Ricky T. Another massive question that was to be answered on the night, “who will it be?”
A copious Soca crowd gathered at the Sab, some armed with rags and flags ready to wage war under the moonlit sky in support of their favourite competitor. Twenty performers, one stage, one historical night! The competition got under way with the customary calm before the storm, the Groovy segment. An immediate reaction was sought from the crowd, by emcees Pringles and Scady dot P, to which they happily obliged as the first performer and former Soca and OECS Monarch, Mantius “I Love Your Wine” made his way to the stage, props already set- up and video introduction playing. A fitting way to begin the competition, many thought, as Mantius desperately tried to prove to his fair maiden that not only did he love her wine, but he could match her swing for swing.
Mac 11 followed with his bacchanal cry, asking the audience if they were ready for the two days of mas on the road which was only a few hours away. Of course, the answer was a resounding yes! Defend, defend, defend, was the next chant along with five peat. That only meant Arthur was next and with his song “Mama” off the Gyal Sweetie Riddim, he showed not only the heart of a champion but also the experience and crowd control he possessed. A performance which ended with a crowning moment of his mother, as he left fans not only with hands waving but tears flowing.
The “Baddies” presidents Nerdy and Savion followed with a bouncy Soca contribution, setting a perfect party atmosphere for all in attendance, especially the ladies. The pickong kicked up a notch when Nerdy brought in a third verse much to the delight of the neutrals, reminding his friend Shemmy J, who really was responsible for him singing “Bouncing”. Now for those who aren’t familiar pickong is harmless fun lyrics poked at competing artistes. The two aren’t at odds with each other. As fate would have it, Shemmy J would be the next performer and it would appear he wasn’t at all phased by Nerdy’s words. He started a fire with his dancers and had some pickong of his own aimed at the defending monarch.
Dennnery Segment’s sole representative at the competition had no time for the lyrical theatrics. Umpa had one goal in mind and that was to ensure a few bumpers were dropping by the time he left; he succeeded. Qpid brought a part of Soca monarch that had been absent for the duration of the night to life with her performance. Her track “Again” paid tribute not just to feters who would love to party again and again, but also to our fallen soldiers.
In all of Soca monarch, there is always that one artiste who would go the extra mile for the enjoyment of patrons. Ezra did just that when he took us on a first class trip to Gros Islet, Africa (no it’s not a typo) all the while doing the “Money Dance”. Keisha brought everyone back though, as she welcomed the masses back to the land of Vaval. She also performed an age- old ritual on stage, by burying the Vaval just before she ended her performance, signaling the official end of Carnival. The Groovy segment came to a close with one of the front runners for the season, Sedale, performing the immensely popular “Stick on You”.
Power Soca Monarch opened with a bang ofJab. Soca Psycho with pitch- fork in hand represented for all Jabs who were ready for J’ouvert morning while Platinum George and Mr. X had the official Jab Cry.Mantius wasted no time in getting the crowd going wild some of whom came with bush as a flag replacement for waving purposes.Qpid reminded all her male compatriots exactly who is the boss as she performed “Who’s Boss”. The ever blazin, Esteban had the ladies “Twerking” but he was sure to keep the guys involved as he had them jumping and waving.
Ti Caro & Hyper moved the mammoth crowd with jam single “Your Wish” and Isla Man brought all of Fire City down with his contribution “Power Soca”. New comers Nassis and Krome, had the ground shaking as they performed the crowd favourite “Bend down for the Hmmm” and Ezra continued with more of the same when he performed “X”. The obvious surprise of the night came when Ricky T performed the massive single ‘ShaLehSho’ as the Tizzleattempted todefend his title. As the performance began, pandemonium hit the Sab as Teddyson John joined the defending monarch and jammed the audience into J’ouvert.
At the end of the show and into the wee hours of the morning both defending monarchs retained their title adding another title to Ricky T’s lengthy trophy case and creating history with Arthur making him the first five time Groovy Monarch of St. Lucia.
1st Arthur – Mama
2nd Sedale – Stick On You
3rd Ezra D’Fun Machine – Money Dance
4th Kisha –Vaval
1st Ricky T – Sha LehSho
2nd Ezra D’Fun Machine – X
3rd Soca Psycho – Pitchfork
4th Mantius – Get Wild