Machel Montano is still the undisputed King of Power Soca, but the former double monarch now has to make room on the soca throne for a new Groovy king.
Kerwin Du Bois took that title away, beating Montano into second place in that category at the International Soca Monarch finals on Friday night, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
“After one time, is a next,” said Montano of his one-two finish during a phone interview yesterday.
“At the end of the day, the judges’ decision is final and so we accept that, and I am personally very happy for Kerwin.”
Earlier in the competition, Du Bois distinguished himself by finding the right balance of theatrics, raunchiness and picong for his groove anthem “Too Real”.
The Canada-based singer resisted the urge to do “too much”, landing some potent verbal jabs at the defending monarch that rocked the entire stadium.
“Listen, Mr HD, tonight, you can’t beat me; I not leaving here until I win this Groovy. Machel, yuh goin’ to go down, go down. I feel is time that yuh give up de crown. Hold a seat, boy, sit down, sit down. Yuh winning this too long. This is the realest Groovy in this town. De people vote me champion. So time to go, time to go hold second place,” Du Bois sang to a deafening cheer.
Not even a parachuting entrance (by a stunt double) or a cameo appearance from Calypso King The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) could revive the “Happiest Man Alive” from those early blows.
He finished second, ahead of a crowd-pleasing performance of “Big People Party” from Farmer Nappy (Darryl Henry).
Destra Garcia played the tenor pan and invited costumed tots on stage to earn fourth spot for her Groovy pan anthem “First Time”.
Du Bois was very emotional following his performance and found it difficult to speak to media personnel on Friday.
Yesterday, a much more composed Du Bois dedicated the victory to his fans, disclosing only their calls for his entry changed his mind about entering the competition.
“I could not hold back the tears, even though I tried. I guess it was too real,” Du Bois said of his emotional display on Friday night.
“I put all of me in everything that I do. All my love and every bit of my passion. When I stepped on that stage and heard the
feedback from the crowd and saw their reac-
tion, it made everything that I do worthwhile.”
Montano was stylish but surprisingly simple with his rendition of “Ministry of Road (MOR)”. There were no suspension cables, excessive pyrotechnics or elaborate costuming like his previous Fantastic Friday stage shows.
The three-time monarch leapt up from a rising lift onto centre stage and held a Superman pose, à la Michael Jackson’s legendary entrance for the Dangerous Tour. Together with his dancers and a “piece- of-road prop”, he immediately set about putting the packed stadium to serious work, en route to his fourth title.
The soca faithful, however, did see the humour in Montano’s somewhat clumsy attempt at a “Smooth Criminal” lean as he attempted to capture another of the King of Pop’s iconic poses.
Standing on his “piece-of-road prop”, Montano had a stagehand lay flat and hold his legs as he tipped forward.
“Yeah, there were a few ‘Michael’ references in there; call it a tribute,” Montano said following the performance.
“I think we kept it simple because we didn’t think we needed to do too much than to go out there and put on our performance. We felt our song was strong enough to do that.”
It was enough to stave off strong challenges from the Queen of Bakanal, Destra Garcia (“Mash Up”); Grenadian Mr Kill@, Hollice Mapp (“Rolly Polly”); and Iwer, Neil George (“Mama Oye”), in what proved to be a very tight score sheet. They finished in a record three-way second-place tie.
Co-defending Power monarch SuperBlue (Austin Lyons) received a lukewarm response for his entry “Carnival Yo-Yo”.
He failed to recreate the intensity he achieved with last year’s nostalgic return and failed to secure a top-four spot.
Montano, meanwhile, now turns his attention on the road race. His “Ministry of Road (MOR)” is a strong contender for the Road March title.
“I feel very strong about (the Road March). The song represents the voice of the masquerader and I’m singing it from the heart. I was one of those people standing up outside the (Port of Spain General) hospital for four hours last year. This year, we have so many stages—the Savannah, Socadrome; I think it will help get rid of the congestion,” he said.