With one of the best performances in years on the stage of the Soca Monarch Competition, this first time entrant on the calypso scene smashed his competitors on Friday night (20th December, 2013), to win the coveted title of Power Soca Monarch of St. Kitts and Nevis, for carnival 2013/2014, with the infectious musical piece, titled, “Wuk It”. And Wuk it he did.
His chances in the Groovy segment however were not as prosperous as this category belonged to Delly Ranks, who despite being distressed by technical difficulties with the sound system, managed to transform potential into victory, with the popular hit, “We love de festival.”
Though it was never explained, Delly Ranks was allowed to perform this Groovy selection twice. The only plausible explanation may be connected to the failings of the sound system, in particular the mike. The young and dynamic Khyla also had her share of technical complications, in her first round, as well as her second.
There was also some concern expressed by the audience over the fact that King Meeko, was allowed to sing as much as a full verse and chorus while accompanying Delly Ranks on stage. The song is actually a duet that originated in the 2013 Nevis Culturama celebrations. Duets are allowed in the contest but the artistes would have to so register. Whether Delly Ranks registered as a solo or part of a duet for the Groovy segment is not known but the fact that he emerged as the winner, quite deservingly, was very well accepted by the audience.
But truly the night was a signal moment for Mr. Hype. Even before Friday night the song was already the most popular calypso (not just soca but any form of calypso) for Sugar Mas 42. He was not daunted by the negative talk that was obviously designed to detract him and his mission. He was always the target to destroy. Even some of his fellow competitors tried in their songs to derail him with their attacks, but Hype remained focused with a strong will to achieve the desired goal of victory, and that he did.
In fact Friday night Finals was reminiscent of the calypso attacks that are well known in the Senior Calypso Monarch Competition. But Mr. Hype took off the gloves on Friday when he added a third verse to respond in kind to his friends in calypso and this only created more love for the young artiste as the crowd responded by jumping and waving.
The entire choreography for Wuk It was professional in its approach and execution and impactful. This was evident when the crowd came alive, waving jumping, singing and misbehaving in true Kittitian style as they do on J’ouvert morning.
His cast of dancers was superb and their routine was well choreographed to add value; not just appearing to jump and wuk up. Then when Hype challenged the biggest dancer but failed to measure to handle her size and wuk up abilities, he was crushed to the ground, (sending the crowd wild). But this was all part of the act as it became evident when the emergency (EMS) team appeared on stage to administer medical attention, though their patient refused to settle as he kept belting out his tune, singing, Ah want to wuk it!
When Mr. Hype was carried away into the audience on a stretcher, it became obvious that he had sealed his victory. The crowd was again thrown into frenzy; and even the biggest non supporters were jumping. It was indeed a performance with hype, energy, dexterity and class, not seen in a long time in the competition.
“I am really excited, I am really happy about the way the crowd received and responded to me. We decided to take it to another level and I believe that we really brought it tonight and I have to give much credit to my entire team for the outstanding supporting role they played. It’s not just about Mr. Hype; I have a whole team behind me so I am very happy about the outcome,” Hype told MiyVue.com in an exclusive interview.
“It was not always easy though, because we faced many challenges, especially at first with our dancers. We went through so many dancers who first committed themselves to be part of my team and then pulled out. So it was last minute that we had to get these dancers and they pulled it off by mastering the routine in just two days. And they just came out and they nailed it tonight so I am really grateful I am very thankful and appreciative of their hard work and their efforts,” he added.
When asked by MiyVue.com how he felt knowing that this was his debut into the arena of the competition, but yet doing so well, Mr. Hype was candid and stated, “To me it’s, oh gosh, its beyond words, it’s heartening but I love it; I love soca and I don’t see myself ever stopping. It’s just going to get better and I am gonna come with more and more hype.”
MiyVue.com also aksed how he felt about his victory, and the future, “With this victory I now intend to produce more soca music that people could love and appreciate, not just the politics and all the confusion that’s happening in St. Kitts, people want something that they could turn on at the end of the day and that they could enjoy and laugh and just enjoy themselves. I want to continue producing music that everybody could enjoy and appreciate, no matter their age.”
With respect to the reaction of the crowd, the Power Soca King said, “I was blown away. And when I was going through the crowd on the stretcher, we were to go on an emergency vehicle and exit, but I decided no, people want more and I decided to go back into the crowd to satisfy their desire for more. The vibe was nice. The love was nice. I really loved the soca addicts because this victory was all because of them.”
Other outstanding performances came from Fantastic Tunda who placed Second Runner-up in the Groovy, with Ali Dee in First Runner-up. Down in the Power segment, finally Queen Kibi made a place in the Soca contest. She deserved it and worked really hard for this moment. What many were not aware of, because she masked it very well on the stage, was that two days before the contest she suffered a foot injury that was a source of much pain while on stage, though she did not let it show.
Mr. Bagnal, who delivered a truly superb performance, took honours as First Runner-up in the Power segment. He too was exceptional and hard hitting.
The biggest disappointment Friday night was the defending king in both categories, Mighty Takeover. He was easily taken over by Mr. Hype and Delly Ranks. Not because he is not a great artiste and not because he did not have good songs. He simply ‘killed’ himself with his late release of music only days before the Finals. This is a guaranteed formula for failure, as he learnt the hard way. One should not count him out though, because next year, if he corrects his mistakes, he will be a force to contend.
Sadly though, the overall quality of the production of the show left much to be desired. It was again a poorly orchestrated production, with many unnecessary gaps, mike failures, and simply a show that was much too long and drawn out.
Members of the audience showed their displeasure with many leaving before the end. Already the Semi-finals on 15th December, was the longest carnival show ever in the history of the festival. It ran for 10 hours. As if they wanted to out-do themselves, Friday night’s Final show took just under 9 hours to complete; ending with the clock heading to 5:00am. This is not good. A speedy remedy is required.
There is still hope for this competition though because with the young artistes doing so well, the future of soca looks bright, especially looking at the commendable performances of Khyla and another new-comer, Ma’Diva.
Groovy Soca Monarch- Delly Ranks
1st Runner Up- Ali Dee
2nd Runner Up- Fantastic Tunda
Power Soca Monarch- Mr. Hype
1st Runner Up- Mr. Bagnall
2nd Runner Up- Kibi
The carnival celebrations continue Saturday night with the Talented Teen and Junior Calypso competitions, also at the Sugar Mill.