It is what it is: Karessah is Kaiso Monarch
In his illustrious career ths only the fourth time that King Dice been defeated, first by Observer, followed by Hunter in 2007, Tasha P in 2011 and now in 2015 by his arch rival, King Karessah. Gregory "Karessah" Riviere really deserved his crown as he presented two witty socio- political satires, brilliant presentations and one of the few to maintain his high standards in both rounds with "Call me Name" and 'Flush it'. The jury will continue to be out as to whether King Dice fell a couple notches because it is suggested that he muddled a few lines.
However, I pose a bigger question: how much does a calypsonian have to "mess up" before points are deducted and how severe is the penalty? I have futilely posed the question several times as we see artistes denied a semi-final place with good compositions based on simple errors which do not necessarily interfere with the cohesiveness of the story line. Or even more baffling is why when some make mistakes of similar gravity they are still favorably considered? Be it as it may, mistake or not, in my mind Karessah deserves the monarch so I will leave these queries for a Kaiso post mortem or a judge's workshop for a ruling.
The dream 19 year-old former three-peat Junior Monarch 'Sheldon De professor' Alfred, was finally jolted to reality as his composition, more than his performance, did not measure up in the first round in my opinion, and so I could understand why Jama B, when he rolled the dice, came up with the fourth spot.
Nonetheless De Professor this calypso season did create a stir and even went on to be the youngest King of the Stardom Tent and one of the privileged few newcomers to walk comfortably from Eliminations straight to the Finals. In his best year thus far, writer Pelham Jno Baptiste also deserves some commendations this fantastic effort.
Meanwhile, veteran Picky was not to be outdone; though he was a bit shaky in his lines and timing at times, he compensated strongly and if he had a better first round composition to support his "World cup" composition, he could easily have forced his way into the top four. Daddy Chess' consistency and brilliant lyrics particularly in round one in "It is what it is" made him a contender, though the lyrics of "Calypso Jail " was a bit all over the place, the bounce and chants of " dangerous" was infectious.
The Lloyds did not pose much of a threat despite the heart rendering performance of Sting Ray's "Abuse" in the first round; she never matched up anywhere close in the second. Her brother, Black Diamond, on the other hand, had a lyrically strong composition, and though well executed, it was the least familiar song in the competition because it was the only song which was not performed live before the big finals. Worst still, his entrance on stage signal the rains and in "Pat we Down" the judges did not find anything that would warrant his placement.
Booplay tried hard with his strong voice but I think the composition required some innovativeness for the finals in terms of the lyrics which by that time had lost their initial gloss. Well, for me, 'Cranana', apart from being bouncy, did not fit the billing.
When we all thought Intruder's extreme act a few years ago of bringing a live donkey on stage in a presentation was the last we would have seen of this, the Bobb revisited the idea, perhaps in a desperate attempt to bolster one of the weakest compositions in the competition. The ploy I thought was unnecessary and could not add anything in terms of points to his presentation or song. The calypsonian that is easily among the top three in diction on island and one who has been knocking on the door for some four years, fell from grace on the judges score card, a foreshadowing of the fate of the persons he pointed to in his own composition. But knowing that he is the "People's King", as he once referred to himself, he will bounce back.
All in all, the calypsos 2015 were again fantastic and yes, what is required is marketing, marketing, and marketing! We can't have phenomenal calypsonians as the Dice or Karessah keep it a secret from the region and the world. The innovations by Stardom Tent, the influx of the youth into the art by way of Dice, Professor, Sting Ray, Black Diamond all indicate the art is on a sound footing.
One thing is certain, the crowning of this new Monarch will make 2016 even more interesting as Dice battles his way from the quarter finals for the first time in quite a few years. Furthermore, a dominance of one performer is never good news for anything whether it is music or sports. Congratulations judges, and yes, for in-depth coverage by DBS with Cecil Joseph and Daryl Titre plus the Q95 crew particularly my ace, most balanced and analytical calypso critique, Duncan Stowe. You all got it right again and again.