SONGSTRESS Michelle Xavier has sung her way into the semi-final round of the 2013 Lotto Plus Chutney Soca Monarch— her first time in the competition.
Her tune, "Indian Man", is Xavier's first attempt at a chutney soca song and she is prepared to work hard towards the $1 million first prize.
Xavier said she was pleased with the response her song has been getting on the airwaves.
A former lead vocalist with the band Imij and Company, Xavier has been a freelancer for the past year.
She was among 45 singers who made it to the semi-finals of the competition, which takes place on Saturday at Rise carpark, Chaguanas.
Southex, producers of the event, stated that more than 120 artistes registered for the competition. The semi-finalist list was released yesterday.
Among them were former winners Kenneth Salick, and Rikki Jai, who won the one-time $2 million first prize in 2011.
Raymond Ramnarine, leader of the band Dil-e-Nadan, has also advanced to the semi-final round.
Ramnarine, who returned to the competition after 13 years, will compete with his chutney song "I ain't marriding no more", which was written by Ramnarine and produced by his brother Richard, at Bakyard Studios.
Defending champion Kris "KI" Persad will compete in the finals at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on January 26.
"I thought I would compete in the semi-finals, but I found out this morning that I will perform at the finals," he said.
Ravi Bissambhar (Ravi B), who won the competition in 2010, has decided to stay away for another year.
Bissambhar said his decision was not based on an incident in 2011, when he placed second to Rikki Jai. He was later charged with inciting the crowd to throw missiles at the event, but the matter was discharged at San Fernando Magistrates' Court.
Bissambhar said he has taken the time to focus on the development of his band, Karma.
The 45 Chutney Soca Monarch semi-finalists are:
Jason Ramlal, Kenneth Salick, Jude Nidhan, Ranjeev Ramdeen, Michael "Soca Elvis" Salloum, Navin Prabhoo, Naresh Prabhoo, Lalchan "Hunter" Babwah, Veekash Sahadeo, Rajin Dhanraj, Oneil Bhajman, Michelle Xavier, Rick Ramoutar, Boodram Holass, Reshma Ramlal, Hemlatha Dindial, Kerron Tyron "Wakerman" Williams, Kreem Noel, Nigel Gobin, Devon "Prophet Banjamin" Samuel, Omadath Maraj, Oscar Benjamin, Chris Garcia, Dave Lall, Saleem Beharry, Brent Evelyn, Natalia Wohler, Neeshan Prabhoo, Anil Bheem, Ambika Yankaran, Kavita Maharaj, Sassy Ramoutar, Leon Coldero, Rikki Jai, Sally Sagram, SW Storm, Kenneth Supersad, Dollyboy, Drupatee Ramgoonai, Anant Hansraj, Sara Ali Yankaran, Adesh Samaroo, Raymond Ramnarine, Terry Gajraj, Joey Ramoutar.