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'D' BOUNCING START

Fantastic Friday is here: Machel and SuperBlue square off for Soca Monarch supremacy

By Wayne Bowman wayne.bowman@trinidadexpress.com

The clash of the soca titans takes place tonight when the high priest and the taipan finally face off at the Hasely Crawford Stadium at the Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch and Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch competitions.

True there are other finalists in the fray, but people have been looking forward to SuperBlue and defending monarch Machel Montano squaring off against each other since the five-time winner released his runaway hit "Fantastic Friday" just after Christmas.

As for what song Montano will perform in defence of his title, no one is sure. Most speculate that he will perform "Float" and employ aerial stunts, even taking to flight during the presentation.

There are some who believe he will do a sped-up version of "Fog," which also leaves room for Montano to take to the sky as he hinted he would do at the launch of the competition.

Whatever song Montano chooses patrons can expect an exciting and even phenomenal event.

While the money seems to be stacked on either Montano or SuperBlue, one can't ignore Swappi who performs between Montano and SuperBlue who takes the stage in the last position.

Swappi, who is tonight singing "Ch-aos", last year came close to dethroning Montano when he had thousands in the Stadium throwing buckets all over the place. People even found buckets in MovieTowne the next day. You never know what can happen and be prepared for an upset as the stars just might line up for the least counted.

Montano is also defending his International Groovy Soca Monarch title tonight and his most deadly opponents here are Blaxx with "Leggo" and Iwer George singing "Bubble." Again, no one is sure what song Montano will strike with, "She Ready", "Fog" or "Possessed". What is known however is that he will not be easily taken down.

Just a few days ago Jamaican dancehall artistes Popcaan and Cham were added to the lineup of guest performers taking the stage after the competition and while the results are being tabulated. One wonders at the wisdom of having Jamaican acts in what is the biggest platform for soca music and at the climax of the Carnival season. There are some artistes who have very good, popular songs such as Olatunji Yearwood, Chucky and Prophet Benjamin but they did not make it into the finals. Asked if they deserved the opportunity to perform as guests rather than dancehall acts Munro said he was featuring the Jamaican artistes for a reason - that is a part of his vision for soca music dominating the world music scene.

"I am doing this to show that dancehall can't stand up to soca. Popcaan, Cham and these other Jamaican artistes can't move a crowd better than Machel, SuperBlue, Iwer, Bunji or Fay-Ann. That is why I wanted Bunji and them to be there, even in the after party to show the world the power of soca. These artistes will have thousands of people coming with them to see them perform. The hotels are all booked for people coming in for Soca Monarch and you can't even get a flight in now. Come out on Friday (tonight) and see what I have done for this Soca Monarch. You will be amazed," Munro said.

This year the competition comes of age as it celebrates its 21st anniversary. The theme is "The People's Event" and the producers, the Caribbean Prestige Foundation, promises a number of special treats for the patrons. For those who will be viewing on television or online there is the celebrity commentary team that includes Vivica Fox, Tatiana Ali, Damian Dante Wayans, Darin Henson and Lisa Wickham who will serve as the moderator.

So, whether you are walking with your rags, flags, water and powder, from tonight the bouncing starts.

Order of appearance

Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch

01 - Drupatee Ramgoolai

02 - Nadia Batson

03 - Denise "Saucy" Belfon

04 - Ravi Bissambhar

05 - Rodney "Benju" LeBlanc

06 - Darryl "Farmer Nappy" Henry

07 - Destra Garcia

08 - Patrice Roberts

09 - Machel Montano (Defending Monarch)

10 - Neil "Iwer" George

11 - Dexter "Blaxx" Stewart

Play Whe International

Power Soca Monarch

01 - Shivonne "Lil Bits" Churche

02 - Lornette "Fya Empress" Nedd

03 - Wilt "Tallpree" Cambridge

04 - Devon Matthews

05 - Shurwayne Winchester

06 - Rodney "Benjai" LeBlanc

07 - Destra Garcia

08 - Jason "JW" Williams & Ancil "Blaze" Isaac Jr.

09 - Machel Montano (Defending Monarch)

10 - Marvin "Swappi" Davis

11 - Austin "SuperBlue" Lyons

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