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Tie for Power title Machel soars, SuperBlue sends them wild
The superstar and the icon, Machel Montano and SuperBlue, tied for first place in the Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch competition held on Friday night, a decision that patrons felt was both vindicated and inevitable.
It was a two-horse race. Even some of the other artistes in the competition, such as Benjai (Rodney Le Blanc) and Tallpree (Wilt Cambridge) acknowledged this during their individual performances.
The crowd made it clear as throughout the Hasely Crawford Stadium, bottles of powder lay unopened in piles at the feet of patrons, waiting for that moment when the words “water and powder” would erupt from an icon’s lips.
The power category began shortly after midnight with a performance from soca artiste Lil Bitts (Shivonne Church) who dazzled in a gold Egyptian headdress and a white monokini.
During her performance, the young singer asked her “spiritual guide” to predict her future. Unfortunately, whatever the cloaked male said into the microphone came out in a whispered garble of words.
She then invited a young child on stage to “mash up Soca Monarch” for her. The little girl succeeded and was seen wining on stage.
St Vincent Soca Monarch Fya Empress delivered a stunning performance and was one of the few who didn’t shout into the microphone and actually delivered vocally.
Another artiste who delivered vocally and had a high energy performance was Destra Garcia, who placed fourth. Garcia also climbed the scaffolding on the stage and thrilled fans with her daring moves.
Even as the massive crowd enjoyed performances from Devon Matthews and Benjai, the atmosphere remained charged as they waited for their favourites.
After the performance by radio announcers Jason Williams and Ancel “Blaze” Isaac, the stadium was filled with a restless energy, which heightened when a large circular contraption was brought on stage during the setup of Montano’s performance.
Montano marks his territory
When the reigning king hit the stage at 3 am, he didn’t just float as in the lyrics of his song, he soared.
On stage Montano appeared, seemingly out of thin air in a Superman costume, surrounded by his backup dancers, who were also dressed as superheroes. Two Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats danced in mid-air.
Fans screamed as Montano stood in front of the circular contraption and seemed to float into the air, while actually being supported from behind by a crane. That trick had patrons jumping wildly and screaming out his lyrics.
Montano, however, was just getting started. He seemed to be feeding off the energy of the crowd as they dared him to give them more. He did just that. Nearing the end of his performance, Montano, who was attached to a harness, soared as far as 50 feet from the stage above a stunned crowd, diving toward the ground before soaring upwards again.
For a few seconds, faces in the crowd reflected shock before exploding in jubilation.
The reigning Soca Monarch champion seemed to mark his territory with the unspoken message, “I am King, and King I will remain.”
At the end of his performance, one young woman shouted to her friends: “Nah boy. That’s it right there. Machel win!”
Montano’s performance was followed by a “magical” performance from Swappi, real name Marvin Davis, who poked fun at Montano for flying on strings and then did a disappearing act on stage only to appear 40 feet away on scaffolding erected in the midst of the crowd.
After Swappi’s performance, that restless energy returned. Patrons kept their powder close, expecting the liberated madness that would ensue during the highly-anticipated performance of Austin Lyons (SuperBlue).
Standing on a dark stage, with an “angel” slowly moving its wings behind him, SuperBlue stood. The crowd waited. Then, instead of the expected madness, something poignant and beautiful occurred. The sound of Ras Shorty I’s voice singing Watch Out My Children burst forth. The artiste they had been waiting for all night became larger than life even more, before a word left his lips.
As Ras Shorty I’s lyrics sounded, warning about drug abuse, the artiste who is rumoured to have battled his own demons where drugs are concerned stood perfectly still.
Then, the horn sounded, and a soft wave of bouncing began with still no word from SuperBlue. When the horn sounded a second time, chaos erupted. The crowd bounced along till they resembled one indefinable mass instead of individuals. Powder blurred the vision and created a fog bank so thick it was hard to see at times. SuperBlue shouted the words “Rags and Flags! Water and Powder!” and the people rejoiced.
When the performance ended, the chanting of his name followed the icon off stage.
After some guest performances, police stopped the event shortly after 5 am before the results could be announced. Patrons started filing out of the stadium in disappointment, while others stood in confusion.
Minutes later, an announcer came on stage with the news, with the only possible outcome—according to most people—that would avoid riot. There was a tie. Montano and SuperBlue would share the cash and the title and return in 2014 to defend the crown they had earned.