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All set for Fantastic Friday
A precedent has been set for the Fantastic Friday showdown after some 84 performances at the Greens, Queen’s Park Savannah, during the semifinal stage of the Groovy Soca Monarch and Lotto Plus Power Soca Monarch semifinals where the competition made its Port-of-Spain debut.
The switch in venue coincided with a record number of semifinalists, 47, competing in the Groovy Soca Monarch competition from Sunday afternoon into the night.
A further 37 performances followed in the Power Soca Monarch category, closing by early Monday morning. Sixteen artistes competed in both, increasing their chances of claiming the respective prizes of $2 million and $1 million in the Power and Groovy categories.
Defending Power Soca Monarch Machel Montano was not required to perform in semifinal stage given his automatic berth into the finals. Du Bois previously announced that he was not competing this year. His announcement came after a rule change by the promoters that did not require the reigning monarchs to defend their crowns.
The judges are expected to name the finalists today.
The number of finalists in each division has not yet been confirmed and will be determined at the judges’ discretion.
The programme saw electric routines in abundance, namely from some of the other traditional favourites in Benjai, Farmer Nappy, Denise “Saucy Wow” Belfon and Olatunji who brought the weather-beaten crowd to life.
Songwriter, producer and son of the late Calypso icon Lord Kitchener, Kernal “Kitch” Roberts made his debut with Soca Stage and was among the most appreciated by the bouncing masses. The international competition also continued its showcase of regional talents in Skinny Fabulous, Fireman Hooper (St Vincent), Biggie Irie (Barbados) and others.
The move from the Arima Velodrome to The Greens seemingly worked well for many fans, most of whom expressed content with location and vast layout. Patron Ricardo George, who lives near the traditional venue, said he would have been present for the event regardless of its location.
“(I’m) from (Sangre) Grande, so the velodrome would’ve been more convenient for me but I don’t mind it here. I like the crowds. The location is good. There are enough facilities and it’s safe,” George said.
He thought the current location of the semis made more sense as it offered a more convenient and larger venue for the general public, whereas Arima would cater more specifically to citizens of east Trinidad.
George said he and his crew would make the journey again into Port-of-Spain to the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Wrightson Road, on Fantastic Friday for the grand finale on February 13.
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