By STEPHON NICHOLAS Friday, February 28 2014
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JAPANESE CONNECTION: Angella 'An-G' Giustini, left, who will appear in the Power Soca category on Fantastic Friday, with friends (left to right) Mari...
The stars will be out this Fantastic Friday for the International Soca Monarch finals which gets underway tonight at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain.
Despite the winner of the Play Whe Power Monarch walking away with a handsome $2 million prize, the real battle is expected to be in the Digicel Groovy Monarch competition where there are arguably four strong contenders looking to dethrone defending champion Machel Montano who is aiming for a hat-trick of Groovy titles with his smash hit “Happiest Man Alive.”
Since singing the words of the song acapella at the Ne-Yo/R Kelly concert on November 2 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Machel has shot a video for the song which is a favourite with the fans. Focussing on the simple joys in life, Machel could well be the happiest man tonight when the results are tallied and announced.
His main rival, however, will be Kerwin Du Bois whose song “Too Real” has been setting the parties and fetes alight with its groovy melody and lyrics. Du Bois, no stranger to the Groovy competition, finished second to Machel in 2012 with “Bachaanalist” but this year definitely enters as the slight favourite for the crown.
“Too Real,” a track based on the challenges involved in taking a ‘wine’ at Carnival, has not wavered in its popularity since it first aired and judging from his performances, Du Bois can go all the way.
Surprisingly, Vincentian artiste Skinny Fabulous (Gamal Doyle ) has emerged a possible contender as well with the aptly named “Behaving the Worst” a popular track at fetes. Skinny Fabulous received a huge reception at the semi-finals in Arima and has been a regular at fetes whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his energy. Darryl “Farmer Nappy” Henry (Big People Party), Destra Garcia (First Time) and Denise Belfon (Chuku Chuku) are also among the top challengers tonight.
In the Power category, three artistes seem to have separated themselves from the field. Grenadian Mr Killa (Hollis Mapp) and his band of “Rollie Pollie” girls have been creating quite a stir at fetes with their exciting performances.
The soca star has proven himself to be a true entertainer with his dance moves and outrageous wining techniques and it will be no surprise if he becomes the first foreigner to win the Power Monarch. Unsurprisingly, 2013 joint winner Machel is at it again with his “Ministry of Road” gaining momentum as the season comes closer to its climax. The song, which encourages persons to “drop on the ground,” is blaring consistently on the radio airwaves and judging from his past, fans will be keen to see what innovative props Machel will be using this time around. The third main contender for the crown is the veteran Neil “Iwer” George with his track “Mama Oye.” Iwer, the self proclaimed “Big Man in the Business”, can mash up a crowd as no one else can and is expected to go all out for the title which he has not won since 2007 when he sang “Fete after Fete.” “Mama Oye” could change that, though, with its portrayal of sweet Trinidad as a haven for the “prodigal son.”
Joint champion Super Blue (Austin Lyons) will be back on the big stage for the second year in a row with “Carnival Yoyo” but his chances of winning appears slim, unlike last year when he rocked the Stadium with his mega hit “Fantastic Friday.” Still, Super Blue is not to be underestimated as his seven Soca Monarch titles prove.
Digicel Groovy Monarch
Position Artiste Song
1 Ravi B Bread
2 Mr Famous Play More Local
3 Erphaan Alves Contagious
4 Skinny Fabulous Behaving the Worst
5 Denise Belfon Chuku Chuku
6 Biggie Irie Need A Rhythm
7 Destra Garcia First Time
8 Tallpree Jab Nation
9 Farmer Nappy Big People Party
10 Cassi Man in yuh House
11 Kerwin Du Bois Too Real
12 Machel Montano Happiest Man Alive
Play Whe Power Monarch Position Artiste Song
1 Ann-G We Love Carnival
2 Snakey The Dhoti Song
3 Nadia Batson Rated R
4 Patrice Roberts Fetting The Most
5 Super Blue Carnival Yoyo
6 Iwer George Mama Oye
7 Lyrikal Lockdown
8 Devon Matthews Level It
9 Destra Garcia Mash up
10 Mr Killa Rollie Pollie
11 Machel Montano Ministry of Road