Competition’s new format has brought calypso ‘back with a bang’

front 4 calypso
Kimmy is among the high-energy performers gearing up for Friday’s calypso finals (Photo by Johnny JnoBaptiste
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By Carlena Knight

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Vice President of the Qualadli Kaiso Collaborative (QKC) Edmond Blaize says the calypso competition’s new format has injected a fresh vibe into the much-loved Carnival staple.

The QKC is the local body responsible for calypso affairs and negotiating for anything calypso with government officials and other parties.

Blaize was speaking at the Calypso Monarch press conference this week when he addressed concerns from some over the alteration. The change will see two competitions – a social commentary and a bacchanal segment – taking place in one show, a shift from the original format which was a two-song contest.

Blaize said he understands there are some who feel the change is moving away from what calypso truly represents, but he is asking that they give it a chance as already they have seen great traction from the public.

“I believe that this year we have had a lot more vibe from the public because of the format that we are using. There are a lot of people who are purists and naysayers who are saying that we are destroying the format of the competition.

“To me, for years we have been doing the two-song competition and it hasn’t been getting as much electricity as we have from this format,” Blaize explained.

He continued that the new format has helped to widen the variety of singers for this year’s competition, and thus revitalised the event.

“You have Redding who was back in the days of Short Shirt and is up in it now. You have Byke, the ‘energiser bunny’ who just couldn’t seem to make it to the finals because social commentary is not his thing, but jump into the party and he is up in it now. Everybody gets a chance.

“You have Vicious and a lot of new faces that make the competition better and more exciting. You have Zacari making history with two daughters and himself in the competition; that in itself is something to celebrate. You have Ge’Eve who at just 16 is in the show. Calypso is ready and back with a bang,” he added.

He went on to say that the new format is not set in stone but is a test run and that a few tweaks here or here in the future are possible.

The Smirnoff Calypso Competition will take place this Friday at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) starting at 8pm with 10 contestants in each category.

Two winners will emerge from the pack with each copping a trophy, bragging rights, and $20,000.

First runner-up in each category earns $14,000, second runners-up get $10,000, and all unplaced finalists will receive $5,000.

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