Michelle 'Big Red' King who was declared the Carib Soca Monarch on Sunday has had her crown taken away and handed to defending champion Adrian Dutchin following a tallying error.
King will however still receive the original top prize which will also go to Dutchin. King has suggested she might move to the courts over the crown.
Ansa McAl sponsored the contest and its Brands Manager Troy Cadogan in a prepared statement at a press conference yesterday noted that on Sunday at the National Park King was adjudged the champion with the 2005 monarch Dutchin occupying the second position. An objection by the runner-up's team led to an audit of the scores. "Adrian Dutchin through his manager Burchmore Simon requested an independent audit which was agreed and at which the respective judges were present. The audit revealed that a blunder was made during the tallying of the score," said Cadogan as King and Dutchin watched on.
The final result as of yesterday for the Soca Monarch 2006 crown therefore has Dutchin in first place, King second and Wilbur Levans third. On the night of the competition before a large crowd King was awarded 268 points while Dutchin got 267. However after yesterday's audit King remained on 268 while Dutchin gained 17 points to jump to 284. Cadogan went on to say that both parties: Dutchin and King were contacted and informed of the findings of the audit and a decision was made to give the winner's purse to both parties. Dutchin and King will both receive $550,000.
King, who came third in 2005, expressed disappointment and a desire to have the matter resolved in the courts. "You (the judges) say I won by one point and the tally sheet is saying you (Dutchin) won by 17 points... I will not prolong the issue," said King. She added her desire to receive her prize money while with regard to the crown she said she would approach the courts.
Dutchin said, "I respect Michelle King personally we are friends and competitors." However, "we were surprised at the result and it was important for my team to find out where we fell down, and found that the second score was taken away from me...I thought I defended (the 2005 monarchy) well."
Cadogan in response to King's announcement that she would take the matter into the legal realm stated that he did not see how a court case could develop out of the matter.
The explanation for the incorrect scoring was that after the scores were finalised a mistake was made at the tallying stage. The five judges on Sunday were Courtney Noel who has the song `Arrowhead' to his credit; Sean Bhola one of Guyana's music industry stalwarts; Fojo who is an entertainer, producer and musical trainer and who has done work for Militant in Trinidad; Mark Dover an ex-member of the Police Force Band; and Michael Smith who has been in the music industry for 30 years playing in the Sheriff Deputies and is a one-time deputy leader of the Police Force Band. The individual doing the tallying was Charmayne Jones who was not present at the press conference.
Noel said that as far as he knows none of the judges was involved in any "jiggery-pokery" but simply tried to execute their jobs on the night in question. "Each of the judges involved agreed to affix their signature to a declaration stating that the scores on the individual score sheets were accurate and in keeping with the original score on the night of the competition.
"The judging criteria for the competition stated that five judges would be used with the highest and lowest scores for each competitor being removed. The remaining three medium scores would then be summed up giving the final score. This form of judging was used to avoid any possible bias." The criteria as set out for the judges was lyrics, 15 points; melody, 25 points; lyrical performance, 25 points; stage presentation performance, 25 points; and crowd response 10 points. According to the audit done by an independent auditor used by the Soca Monarch organizers for the last two years, two of Dutchin's highest scores were removed when it should have been only one.
On the night of the show Shelly `Shelly Belly' Garraway, last year's runner-up, hit the stage first doing `We Tired' with some fanfare at the beginning but could not sustain the crowd's excitement to the end. The same could be said for most of the other performers who followed including the second artist Jon 'Mighty Blue Flame' Persaud, Joann 'DJ Madonna' Goodluck, Mark 'Super Markey' Harris and Carlos 'Lucky B' Williams.
Then it was King's turn to wow the crowd with a contingent of several dancers who stepped out of a stage prop designed to look like an airplane featuring a red-coloured theme to compliment King herself who was sporting a tight fitting fire-engine red and gold outfit. Her song `Jump in Unity' went this way:
"Jump, united and mixed
Jump, celebrate in six
Jump, jam in unity
Jump, Freedom fuh all of we
Jump, celebration time
Jump, time to free yuh mind
Jump, six races we free
Unity is we key."
She had the crowd going for most of her performance and closed her performance with an appeal for unity to much approval by the large crowd gathered to witness the finals.
Dutchin followed and it took a few minutes for his stage props to be set up. When the lights were finally dimmed for Dutchin's entrance he entered riding a white horse escorted by a member of the Police Force. This in itself prompted a wild reaction from the crowd most of whom were already rooting for Dutchin. Dressed in an all-white outfit with gold trimming and a hat he belted out his song `One' stopping to denounce hatred, racism, violence, murder and poverty which were represented by five of the younger dancers in his contingent.
"I love to see my people
Jumping like they don't care
I love to see my people
Swinging rags in the air
I love to see my people
Celebrating under the sun
To let them know that we are all one
We are all one!"
Closing his piece Dutchin released a dove brought onto the stage by two of his dancers.
Wilbur 'Little Man' Levans followed with `Invasion' using fewer props but relying on dancers to maintain the hyped up atmosphere. Levans who is an ex-Junior Calypso winner did manage to keep the crowd jumping especially with some particularly energetic dancers in his troupe who caught the crowd's imagination. Levans chorus went like this:
"This is a Soca invasion, clear the way
Yes is madness, it's time to break away
If yuh don't have a rag inside yuh hand, then get out de place
Look man, yuh don't belong."
Next up was Clifton 'Passion' Adolphus who brought the show to an end with 'All West Indian' though he was not as impressive as some of his colleagues who performed earlier.