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International Soca Monarch 2020: Iwer George Cops Power, College Boy Jesse, Groovy {VIDEO}

Neil Iw­er George

“It’s a re­al sweet feel­ing. It’s a feel­ing I didn’t have for a very long time.”

This is how four-time Pow­er So­ca Monarch champ, Neil Iw­er George de­scribed his win in the 2020 In­ter­na­tion­al So­ca Monarch com­pe­ti­tion at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, Port-of-Spain.

George won with this year’s smash hit, Stage Gone Bad.

A ju­bi­lant George pro­claimed, “My vic­to­ry is the peo­ple’s vic­to­ry.”

POWER SOCA RESULTS

3. THANKFUL - OLATUNJI

2. RUKSHUN - LYRIKAL

1. STAGE GONE BAD - IWER GEORGE + KES

GROOVY SOCA RESULTS

3. OUTSIDE - VIKING DING DONG

3. JUMBIE HEAD - SWAPPI

1. HAPPY SONG - COLLEGE BOY JESSE

In­di­cat­ing it was very spe­cial to him as he had been buoyed by the feel­ings of love, ex­cite­ment and en­cour­age­ment from the crowd and oth­er sup­port­ers, George is an­tic­i­pat­ing even more suc­cess dur­ing the re­main­der of this Car­ni­val sea­son.

Fol­low­ing Fri­day’s win, George is more con­fi­dent than ever that he will ei­ther be­come the 2020 Road March king or sec­ond run­ner up.

He said while his ul­ti­mate goal is to cre­ate his­to­ry, he just wants to “con­tin­ue giv­ing the peo­ple love.”

He said, “The Road March is a for­gone con­clu­sion. Any­how it goes, I will come first and sec­ond when you look at the choic­es for the Road March.”

George had pre­vi­ous­ly won the crown three times, but has been known as “the man with the most sec­onds.”

He said he’ll def­i­nite­ly be de­fend­ing his ti­tle in 2021.

Tak­ing sec­ond place in the com­pe­ti­tion was Lyrikal with a the­atri­cal per­for­mance of Ruk­shun, while Olatun­ji round­ed off the top three with Thank­ful.”

In his first year of en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, Col­lege Boy Jesse (Jessie Stew­art) was crowned 2020’s Groovy So­ca Monarch.

Jesse led the way with a stun­ning per­for­mance of his Hap­py Song, which he lat­er said holds a spe­cial place in his heart.

Sec­ond place went to last year’s monarch, Swap­pi, who gave a rous­ing ren­di­tion of Jumbie Head.

Viking Ding Dong took third place with Out­side.

George gets $1 M prize af­ter 13-year hia­tus, Col­lege Boy Jesse takes Groovy ti­tle

Af­ter a 13-year gap, Neil “Iw­er” George has fi­nal­ly been crowned the Pow­er So­ca Monarch once again. He took home the $1 mil­lion prize. Bol­stered by a sur­prise ap­pear­ance from his Stage Gone Bad co­hort Kees Di­ef­fen­thaller and a mes­sage from Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith, George sealed his fourth win in the com­pe­ti­tion ear­ly Sat­ur­day morn­ing.

Lyrikal placed sec­ond with the pop­u­lar Ruk­shun, while to the sur­prise of some, Olatun­ji placed third.

The greater shock, how­ev­er, came in the Groovy Monarch cat­e­go­ry.

Col­lege Boy Jesse (Jessie Stew­art), who de­liv­ered ar­guably the most com­plete per­for­mance of the night from an au­dio and vi­su­al stand­point, gave an im­pres­sive per­for­mance to de­throne Swap­pi, who placed sec­ond.

“I just went out there to do my best and rep­re­sent my­self the best way I can and rep­re­sent my team and the judg­ing, well, I left it in God’s hands. And this is the re­sults,” he said af­ter earn­ing the $500,000 prize.

Ra­dio per­son­al­i­ty Viking Ding Dong placed third af­ter div­ing in­to the crowd to close his per­for­mance of Out­side. The re­sults left the crowd dis­mayed that Skin­ny Ban­ton, a favourite, failed to win the ti­tle.

There nev­er seemed to be any doubt over George’s win. George emerged the win­ner to much fan­fare and had the crowd eat­ing from his hands from the first note. His per­for­mance was in­ter­rupt­ed by the com­mis­sion­er, who gave a warn­ing to the pub­lic about the stage via video mes­sage. When the mu­sic re­turned, Di­ef­fen­thaller ran out to meet George to whip the crowd, which was al­ready hyped, in­to a greater fren­zy.

Most con­tes­tants in the cat­e­go­ry ac­knowl­edged that the Point Fortin vet­er­an was the man to beat, and his ap­pear­ance in po­si­tion sev­en sparked a se­ries of well-craft­ed per­for­mances which was a strong cli­max to the event which had more than its share of is­sues.

The event start­ed more than an hour-and-a-half lat­er than sched­uled, as the venue was far from filled. Mean­while, au­dio prob­lems plague the event through­out. The first con­tes­tant Lead­pipe aban­doned his per­for­mance twice due to mi­cro­phone and mon­i­tor is­sues.

Swap­pi han­dled a sim­i­lar prob­lem dif­fer­ent­ly, as he sig­nalled for a mi­cro­phone change mid per­for­mance be­fore ask­ing the crowd if they could hear him. While he nev­er stopped per­form­ing, he on­ly start­ed his sec­ond verse af­ter the crowd proved they were hear­ing him through a call and re­sponse.

Prob­lem Child, who had one of the largest crowd re­ac­tions all night, al­so vent­ed on stage: “I can’t even hear my­self,” he ex­claimed.

The late start of the show saw some as­pects of the Woman Pow­er seg­ment of the show—set to fea­ture Patrice Roberts, Nailah Black­man and Jadel—be­ing dropped. The Zess ses­sion, how­ev­er, proved suc­cess­ful, as the lo­cal dance­hall acts were a hit with the crowd. Prince Swan­ny and K Li­on, in par­tic­u­lar, re­ceived thun­der­ing ova­tions.

Po­lice of­fi­cers in ri­ot gear, who had been pulling in­di­vid­u­als out of the crowd all night, were par­tic­u­lar­ly busy dur­ing the 12-minute dance­hall seg­ment, search­ing nu­mer­ous peo­ple.

The Pow­er cat­e­go­ry, how­ev­er, fea­tured some of the show’s strongest mo­ments.

Prophet Ben­jamin had the not-so-easy task of fol­low­ing George and Di­ef­fen­thaller, but man­aged to win over the crowd as he ad­mit­ted that the vi­ral video in which he claimed to be bit­ten by a cat was part of a ploy to win the So­ca Monarch com­pe­ti­tion. The crowd had been most­ly sta­t­ic dur­ing his per­for­mance un­til he pulled off a chore­o­graphed fight and rechris­tened the Black Pan­ther in­to the Ras­ta Pan­ther with a se­ries of wit­ty vers­es—this raised pa­trons off their feet.

Olatun­ji fol­lowed with Thank­ful and won over the judges with a strong set which in­cor­po­rat­ed dra­mat­ic py­rotech­nic and dance moves in­spired by the late Michael Jack­son as he quipped in the song, “This is not a Pow­er so­ca, it is a pow­er­ful so­ca.”

Lyrikal de­liv­ered a for­mi­da­ble per­for­mance of Ruk­shun as he re­worked his verse to ad­dress his com­peti­tors to the crowd’s de­light. Lyrikal was car­ried through the cen­tre of the crowd.

He lat­er passed through the crowd as he left the stage and was seen giv­ing high fives to fans on the way back­stage.

But it was George who even­tu­al­ly reigned supreme.

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