The International Groovy and Power Soca Monarch competitions ended at almost 4 a.m. yesterday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
No decision has been made yet with regard to how the total prize money for 1st and 2nd places will be divided between Montano and SuperBlue the Sunday Express learned yesterday. The first prize was TT$2 million.
Montano also retained his title from 2012 as the Groovy Soca Monarch winner.
The crowd of more than 20,000 people seemed to not have any problems with the tie result.
Many of them said they would not have been upset if either had been declared the winner and the other had come in second.
Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons and Montano each delivered the night’s best performances as the majority of the other competitors failed to keep the audience’s attention throughout their performances.
For much of the long night the crowd was subdued, at least by Soca Monarch standards, and patrons were marking time for the presentations of SuperBlue and Montano.
Performing in position nine, Montano was phenomenal as he delivered a well choreographed, smoothly delivered presentation of “Float” in the Power category.
With the stage darkened and dramatic music playing, a boy appeared on stage shouting that Superman was falling to the Earth.
Then suddenly, there was Montano wearing a padded and chiseled superhero suit and the letter “M” on his chest.
The crowd went wild.
On stage alongside Montano were dancers in other superhero costumes such as Robin, Batman and Wonder Woman.
As the performance moved along other dancers joined Montano on stage, adding to the excitement as he worked the crowd. At one point Montano stood before a large disc on a corner of the stage and he levitated, aided by what seemed to be magnetic devices rigged behind the disc and his costume.
As he neared the end of his performance, Montano put on a harness to which cables were attached that allowed him to not just be lifted up from the stage, but to hover above the first several rows of the audience.
This sent the people wild with excitement and they cheered as Montano sang above them for a couple minutes before returning to the stage and making his exit.
After he left the stage, people in the crowd began to chant, “Super, Super, Super, Super”.
From the moment the horn from the recording of “Fantastic Friday” was sounded, the crowd went absolutely wild. They quieted for a bit as an introductory video montage was shown with Ras Shorty I’s anti-drug anthem, “Watch Out My Children” playing in the background. Then the music began and the crowd set off again as SuperBlue appeared amidst dancers dressed in blue with red head ties.
For whatever reason SuperBlue’s microphone levels were lower than they were all night, but this may have worked well for him as it made it obvious that he was actually singing on his own and not being assisted electronically.
With white-winged angels, moko jumbies and other characters, as well as rapso group 3Canal accompanying him on stage, SuperBlue worked the crowd.
Then as was expected, SuperBlue headed for the scaffolding by the speaker boxes and began to climb the ladder, but instead of standing on the boxes he went to a platform from where he told the people that he was thankful to Ras Shorty I for the gift of soca.
SuperBlue also thanked God for the music and life before singing a couple lines of “Get Something And Wave” and making his exit with the people cheering him and calling his name.
Of his win, SuperBlue said he was happy to be sharing the title with Montano.
He said he has always been proud of Montano.
He said it was a long, hard road back to the level of musical excellence he was known for and he had treasured every moment over the past several weeks.
“I am happy, content and I give thanks to God and to the people who have been around me and have had the confidence in me. This is only the beginning,” SuperBlue said.
In the International Groovy Soca Monarch competition Montano also retained his title with an impressive performance of “Fog”.
In this presentation the band kicked off with vintage-styled kaiso brass as fancy sailors danced across the stage.
Then one of the sailors took off his garments, revealing his identity as Montano.
This immediately sent the people into frenzy as he went on to perform the Jouvert song.
Like his Power presentation, there were several dancers including various mas characters on stage with Montano. This included several giant puppets created by Peter Minshall towering over him.
By the time Montano was finished with his performance it was almost a forgone conclusion that he had successfully defended his title.
The Groovy opened with Drupatee Ramgoonai who performed “Indian Gyal” failing to move the audience as her vocals seemed flat and she was out of breath at times. Nadia Batson was shouting in the microphone during her performance of “Manager” which caused the crowd that was initially waving and jumping to quiet down.
Iwer George who placed second in the Groovy category with “Bubble” delivered a simple performance that featured him in a ship captain’s outfit and fancy sailors, dame lorraines and other characters.
Iwer invited a patron to come on stage to sing a verse and he got the people excited when he sang “Put up your hands if yuh want Iwer to win Groovy and take Munro money.” Hands shot up to the sky and the people cheered.
Prophet Benjamin then appeared and sang a verse in which he said Iwer had gotten him in trouble with the law for singing that he was selling a herb in order to take care of his family.
With Iwer looking on laughing and the patrons calling for Prophet to sing more, the reggae artiste turned soca star sang that he was selling his product and cleaning out the seeds right on Iwer’s boat rides.
Possibly the night’s most disappointing performance was that of Swappi who many expected would have placed third in the Power category.
Singing “Cha-os”, Swappi kept on stopping the band at intervals and stood watching the crowd.
Making things worse for Swappi was him going over the eight-minute time limit when he had magician Kes the Illusionist come on stage to perform a disappearing act.
The results as provided by Caribbean Prestige Foundation Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch 1. Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons 1. Machel Montano 3. Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc 4. Destra Garcia Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch 1. Machel Montano 2. Neil “Iwer” George 3. Dexter “Blaxx” Stewart 4. Ravi B
Reprinted from TrinidadExpress