Even without 2008 King Herb Black, a late start, no shelter from the pelting rain, and some performances that were just ‘passab’, Groovy Soca finals managed to hold its own Saturday night.
Our female artists failed to break the Groovy Soca song barrier once again but QPid came first. She locked in second place with a stellar performance (from sexy career woman to bacchnalian) that had the crowd with her from the word go.
But the July 4 production did not quite hold the audience throughout. It was not all groovy, with the mixed bag of artistes making for continuous highs and lows.
Beginning late, after promises, promises, promises, of an 8p.m.-sharp on-time start, the Finals got into the groove with some decent guest artistes.
Things shifted into high gear with Esteban, but immediately went to the other end of the spectrum with Lady Empress and Dean Roberts. But the crowd came with it and could not leave Ashanti alone, joining in his catchy chorus. Zionomi looked fresh and performed like a pro (as did his dancers) but Vicky, despite her on-stage antics, took the show south.
TC Brown, who would steal the first-runner-up spot, played to the judges and had his (almost signature) steel-pan ringing. Floopsy, Phyness (she added a real cosmopolitan touch to the night) and Soca Princess were not that memorable. Viking, Marlon and Nintus raised the level but QPid (with Coakes in tow) really turned it all the way up.
Marie-Anne’s genie was slow out of the bottle and Lady Cece (she really likes that style of top) did not quite look like she came to party. Toya (on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction) and King Fa Redd (was he pimping?) were so-so (intermission anyone?), and the crowd probably stayed put in anticipation of Alpha and Teddy John’s performances.
King Alpha again got it on the money, with arrangement, lyrics, presentation and performance that were just what the judges ordered. Teddyson hit some sixes at number 19, highlighting the 6p.m. end to carnival 2Kwine and the banning of songs by RSL 6.60, but he slashed his score with too much commenting and not enough performing.
It was hard to tell how much King Herb Black was missed as the 19 did include some heated acts that managed to keep the crowd alive. However, the night highlighted the need for some artistes to be given more airplay before the show as that clearly impacted on crowd response, which is a crucial part of the points awarded as well as the atmosphere that’s created for the audience. It also begs the question as to why the songs that were most popular with the audience were not necessarily those on show. Do we need less performers or different criteria?
Presentations too, were pretty narrow, with the costumed girls (not enough oiled down guys), confetti, rags and wining. A little more creativity please (where’s Adrian and Sharmark when you need them).
The venue too, had an impact on the vibe. The show has been built on a more intimate atmosphere which the Samaans Park venue did not deliver last night (yes we got WET!!). The TEM Band and the DJ did keep the hype up (props!) as did M.C. Pringles AKA Superman, who helped to save the show, giving the huge audience a lift when needed.