Crime and government ineptitude took centre stage at the 2009 calypso monarch finals on Saturday night, with domestic violence and some inspirational references to Obama thrown in.
There were new songs and new verses, as Saint Lucians enjoyed the finals under clear skies after being threatened with a rained-out show. The audience needed serious fortitude as the last artiste took the stage after almost five hours later in a show that was at times in need of a dose of excitement.
The long evening began only 28 minutes late with guest artistes Pelay asking “who make that mistake?” It seemed the audience was asking that same question as the show went on with performances that while good, did not quite wow.
First up was Lady Spice (Take Over Tent) with ‘Levay’. In classic Spice style she brought the Lucian out in the crowd but was a bit lacklustre. She was more dramatic in the second round with ‘Doh Blame Me’ but was still lacking some spice.
TC Brown (Ambassadors) as usual sneaked in with some ol’ school style. His presentations and performances for were both fun, but like his songs, had some serious undertones.
Ginger (Ambassadors) brought the heat, with feisty performances and ingenious presentations but wasn’t taken seriously by the judges.
It was a bit of a disappointment for fans of Morgie (Ambassadors) at first, as he didn’t quite hit the ground running with his new song. He made a greater impact with “Tewah Chou La”; targeting the judges with a new line in his a fun and funny song that was still as hard hitting as Morgie tends to be.
Making full use of modern technology, Walleigh (Take Over Tent) brought ‘Today’s Child’ to the stage while keeping the focus on his performance. His usual strong singing style was on display as he came back from the moon with ‘Land of Absurdity’.
Pep seemed to have taken the wrong chance with his new song ‘Taking a Chance’, that many felt was too reminiscent of Invader’s ‘No Presentation’. He was vintage Pep the second time around however, with a pep in his step as he sang ‘I Eh Bending for No Man Again’.
Bingo (Ambassadors) seemed balanced but was just so-so in both rounds.
From the dark reality of ‘Neg Mawon’ to the fantasy of ‘Three Wishes’, Educator (Ambassadors) stuck to his vintage style with traditional influences evident in his music and lyrics, but seemed to be making too much effort. It paid off though.
It was a gospel explosion with Nintus (South Calypso Tent) bringing his usual energetic and unencumbered flair to ‘Turn to God’ and ‘Escape’. With his great voice and stage personality his performance was captivating.
The man who swept last year’s competitions, Herb Black (Take Over Tent) came in fighting with ‘Fire Burn Dem’ and ‘The People’s Monarch’ but was never in contention.
Minelle (South Calypso Tent), also a former monarch, had a much improved showing but was not in the running either.
At just after 2a.m. it was Pep holding up the winner’s trophy with 767.5 points, putting him next only to Pelay as the Saint Lucian calypsonian with the most victories. Walleigh was second with 748.5 (did it seem ironic that Darryl Montroupe presented the 1st prize?). Following not too closely were Educator, 726 points, and TC Brown, 715.5 points.