BY THE TIME Marzville had ended his set at 10:12 p.m. on Sunday night, he was an early favourite for the Sweet Soca crown, with the prizes of a car and cash in sight. The crowd loved him and the judges at Soca Royale at Bushy Park must have been impressed.
But, alas! He performed at No. 5 and Li’l Rick, Sanctuary, RPB (the eventual winner) and Damian Marvay were still to come.
Based on the judging criteria of performance, melody, arrangement, lyrics, presentation and crowd response, RPB – dressed as a captain for Boat Ride and with suitably dressed backup dancers – clearly had the edge based on presentation and crowd response.
The ten-time monarch and St Philip son, whose boat (prop) capsized before he even started to rock the Bushy Park ground at 11 p.m., had enough steam to steady the boat and drop the anchor. And his instructions to wave, go left, right, back, and forth got him the biggest audience reaction.
Li’l Rick, who had performed earlier in the Party Monarch and retained his title, did all he was supposed to do. With a trident in hand, painted abs, costumed dancers, fireworks and confetti at just the right moment, along with his usual picong, Blessings was a tribute to the wonder that is Crop Over. But he could not pull off the double.
The night was all about props – fireworks (overdone), confetti (overdone), sweet singing and plenty of rearrangement of the songs.
TC was first on stage and her Paradise set the right tone to start the competition. Her portrayal of the song included all the trappings associated with paradise such as the flora and fauna and the welcome smile of an immigration officer. Buggy Nahkente, who did the dub, joined her onstage as a pleasant surprise.
Shaquille (Collateral) followed and performed the soca ballad-style. His presentation would have worked better if the actual girl who was the “collateral” was present on stage and being held for ransom. However, he seemed to be okay with just singing the song without the frills.
Nikita with her patriotic Carry Festival placed second.
Nikita (Carry Festival) and Sanctuary (Pick Me Up) did well to portray their songs.
Nikita has the voice and her song was lyrically strong enough and melodically arranged to give her second place.
Sanctuary, who had the only rum-drinking song, had a car pick him up to go to a party and a friend to pick him up since he was drunk to convey the message about not drinking and driving. He is not the best of singers but it was still a shock when he didn’t place in the top four.
Marzville (Give It To Ya) came up from below the stage and his popular song had the best crowd response up to that point. He turned on the pressure with his well-thought-out presentation and his voice was on point. Placing fourth was a disservice.
Edwin, no stranger to a big night finals, did a rearrangement of Winners Circle that showcased the strength of his voice, but that would not be enough to sway the judges.
Marvay disappointed me. The new arrangement of the song did not work and he lost the momentum built up throughout the season. The change of key was where he should have started the song when he hit the stage.