Four time Power Soca Monarch champ, Neil Iwer George described his win at Friday’s 2020 International Soca Monarch competition – “It’s a real sweet feeling. It’s a feeling I didn’t have for a very long time. My victory is the people’s victory.”
George won with this year’s smash hit, Stage Gone Bad and took home the $1 million prize. He said he’ll definitely be defending his title in 2021.
The competition was held at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
He said while his ultimate goal is to create history, he just wants to “continue giving the people love.” He is already anticipating a second win, this one for 2020 Road March king or second runner up. He is very confident and says,” 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.”
Having been crowned in this competition three times before, but has been known as “the man with the most second wins.”
This year, second place in the competition went to Lyrikal, who 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 center of the crowd.
Olatunji rounded off the top three 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.”
In his first year of entering the competition, College Boy Jesse (Jessie Stewart) was crowned 2020’s Groovy Soca Monarch 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. In third place with Outside, was Viking Ding Dong.
After a 13 year gap, Neil “Iwer” George has finally been crowned the Power Soca Monarch once again. George sealed his fourth win in the competition with a performance supported by a surprise appearance from his Stage Gone Bad cohort Kees Dieffenthaller.
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 a 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 and was marred by audio problems throughout. The first contestant Leadpipe abandoned his performance twice due to microphone and monitor issues.
Swappi handled a similar problem differently, as he signaled 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.
The original article can be found here.