4 years after winning the Junior Calypso Monarch Competition, a determined and passionate Dequon Quon Allyene gained his second crown late Friday night when he became this country’s newest Courtesy Garage Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso King at Kensington Oval, toppling defending champion Classic who didn’t place.
Even weeks before stepping onto the stage on the mecca of cricket to perform for the judges and the 1000’s of screaming calypso enthusiasts, Quon’s victorious Animal Kingdom had already stolen the hearts of his many ‘subjects’ because it gained a gentle rise in popularity on the airwaves, his House of Soca Tent, and within the nooks and crannies.
Despite this being his first time among the many veterans on the national calypso contest big stage, Quon demonstrated a maturity level that belied his 21 years by delivering ‘the products’ wrapped up in a package of charming lyrics, luring melodies and that sing-along sustained hook line ‘like a beeeee,’ which created a surreal sound of bees buzzing.
The effective use of a troupe of little female dancers outfitted like bees that graced the stage every time this exciting performer reached the punchline, added value to the presentation and by extension, the general offering.
Quon, a former Queen’s College student, took control of his vocals, and the stage, as he owned the song during his engaging rendition that brought sections of the audience to their feet singing, waving and swaying to the infectious kaiso, which compared and contrasted the lifetime of animals to that of humans with the intention to depict the social problems with the day.
So convincing and appealing was the general performance of this rising Barbadian singing star, that he was the one contestant to earn triple digits, beating his nearest rival and satirically Ian Webster, who co-wrote the song with television news anchor Cheyne Jones of Water Street Boys fame, by15 points.
Quon received 107 points and the highest prize of an electrical Nissan Leaf motor automotive valued at $92,000 and a trophy.
By the point MC Mac Fingall had announced the second-place position within the wee hours of Saturday, the new monarch was observed smiling broadly and nodding his head in apparent anticipation of triumph as he stood consistent with the opposite competitors on stage.
He was soon flocked by members of his tent team and father who lifted him off the bottom as they celebrated in dance and loud screams.
“It feels great. I even have been working very, very hard this 12 months and the exertions has paid off. I feel great,” a beaming newly-crowned kaiso monarch told the media gathered on stage after he was presented along with his giant-sized trophy by Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
“I thank my father, thank my mother, thank my management … I couldn’t have done it without the support … Water Street Boys, good, good songs on a regular basis from Junior Monarch until now, and obviously I’ll proceed working with them. The support from I-Web and Cheyne [Jones] has been tremendous. The House of Soca … should big up the posse on a regular basis. Thanks a lot guys, it means the world to me, and I’ll proceed making you all proud,” Quon promised.
He also gave credit to the late musical icon Adrian Boo Husband for giving him the chance to hone his talent within the very early stages of his singing life.
“Boo should be really rolling in his grave with joy … brought me to the Headliners Tent and from there I just went on and kept on keeping on and pushing,” he declared.
I-Web ended the pre-intermission segment of the show in a theatrically-filled rendition of Dear Lord.
His fit-for-purpose presentation saw him being led onto the stage by a choir procession whose members were clad like an actual Anglican Church choir in red and white with him bringing up the rear holding a staff, and draped in head-to-feet apparel typical of a bishop.
Dear Lord was a prayer for various personalities and issues on the island. While his performance was plausible, it didn’t hold my undivided attention lyrically. But he’s $40,000 richer.
One other contestant who didn’t stimulate my musical appetite and made me want more on a finals night was third-place veteran Crystal Cummins-Beckles. She rendered a Crazy song and was dressed and acted the part as she sang of things within the society that made her crazy. One notable standout in her visual presentation, nevertheless, was the inclusion of comments from City street character Ninja Man who provided some comic relief when he declared “being crazy is a serious thing.”
The multiple-time Pic-O-De-Crop finalist who was just one point behind I-Web, walked away with $20,000 in prize money, while TC, the Kaiso Reporter, and one other regular finalist and veteran was also one point other than Cummins-Beckles.
If I were a judge, I might have switched the places of those two ladies. For me, TC’s contribution was more impactful and attention-getting. She role-played a reporter for the kaiso art form and used that medium to tackle a spread of national issues. Her reward was $15,000.
The opposite 14 positions weren’t announced on the night, but amongst those that impressed were first-timer John Yard along with his nostalgic and powerfully rendered I Will Remember You that resurrected memories of a listing of outstanding Barbadian figures, and Doyenne whose Love Affair, was vocally and musically melodic and easily presented up until the very end when the verve appeared to have waned a bit. She used a double entendre title that focused on her love for country.
The defending monarch, Classic, who didn’t get into the highest tier, gave a classic showing with Duh Get In but seemed unable to supply that umph to pass the post in a timely manner.
Also performing were Rudefus ringing De Church Bell; Teri singing Who We Are; Colin Spencer suggesting If Yah Do These Things; Sammy G crying Dear Diary; Billboard recommending an alternate Recovery Plan; Mr Blood chastising Mr Skeptic; Raanan declaring If I Was To Win; Imara contending that We Come Here To Work; Jude Clarke, Struggling; Donella illustrating Dat Is Calypso; and De Announcer mentioning that Mia Loves Ds. (EJ)