Friday, April 19, 2024

Semis hits and misses


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There was the sound of music, but also controversy over the sound at the MQI/Banks/LIME Pic-O-De-Crop semi-finals at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on Friday night.
It was not only about silent monitors but memory loss and missed cues which added spice to any debate about why some made it – and others didn’t – through to the finals.
A&B, the entity behind the sound system, told the SUNDAY SUN a check of the monitors did not reveal any problems.
Notwithstanding that, one calypsonian, Smokey Burke of All Stars, was given clearance to do over his opening song, I Wid De NCF Dis Year, in the second half, in which he also delivered Bajans Too Love A But. 
The first version of I Wid De NCF Dis Year was better rendered in comparison to the second attempt.
New boy Biggie Irie, known for Need Ah Riddim, found himself out to sea when the band went along and left him in his first song, Corruption.
Notwithstanding that, his professional approach and experience kept him grounded as he was rescued by a calm and collected band director, Superintendent Keith Ellis, on his second attempt.
With the dust settled, hopefully, over what took place Friday and the judges having made their final cut from the 18 semi-finalists, the make-up for the finals point to one big Kadooment at Kensington Oval.
Through are Ian Webster, Chrystal Cummins-Beckles, Colin Spencer and Adrian Clarke from All Stars; Aziza and Sir Ruel from House of Soca; TC, Serenader and Mr Dale from De Big Show; and Blood from Headliners. Smokey Burke is the reserve.
Talk about whose lyrics were too cumbersome to get the maximum 40 points, whose melody was too “samey-samey” to make an impact on the 35 points or even whose rendition was so powerful that it took all 25 points from that category has been aired. 
Colin Spencer has been a dark horse for as many times as there was a competition. This time he is a horse that should be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel unless he bolts off somewhere in panic.
One could not have wanted a more confident Spencer Friday night. He even admitted that after his first song, I Done Singing ’Bout Politicians, done quite well.
But his camp had a scare when he came back in too soon in the second song, Parang Fun Crop Over. Was it going to be Spencer all over, promising so much and giving so little? The old hand held his nerve and lived to fight another day.
Sir Ruel kept things steady with his tribute to the Sirs and Gi Dum Wha Dum Want.
Adrian Clarke then entered the fray with Leave De Politicians To Me. His coming after Spencer’s I Done Singing ’Bout Politicians was sweet commentary and theatre. Clarke relishes one-liners and repartee. So when he told Spencer to leave the politicians to him, Clarke gave them the treatment.  
Serenader was equally infectious and flirtatious on stage with Sophony In C Minor and Pulling Down, respectively, moving from the sublime in the former to the ridiculous in the latter to the delight of the audience.
He was resplendent in hat and swizzle coat doing Sophony In C, while depicting himself as “dibby dibby girl” in short dress in Pulling Down, occassionally raising a leg in the air.
Webster, whose first song was One Blood, will be keen to take the top prize comprising $10 500 and a Ford Focus this year after being edged out by last year’s ten-time monarch RPB, who is not contending this year. Good on technique, Webster must take care of his vocal chords because he has a tendency to shout, as evidenced in The Things We Do For Love.
Cummins-Beckles performed two powerful numbers – I Ain’ Giving It Up and One Day. She was in good voice and has every reason to feel that she can land the crown for the girls for the first time since Rita did it in 1988.
Mr Dale, doing Walkie Talkie and Nobody Business, told this writer he came out to have a good time. He could not have had a better feeling after landing a place in what would be a competitive arena.
And then there is Blood. He does not go down without a fight and he showed his intention in his stronger song Recession, following up his first half act with a party number, Can’t Wait.
TC was, as usual, in good voice in Time For Healing and Masquarade but did not seem to connect in the former.
Aziza might be mentioned last but she certainly earned her place with two well rendered pieces – Guardians Of Calypso and Barbados I Pray For You.


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