The 2018 Carib Soca Monarch, Brandon Harding, has managed to edge newcomer Steven Ramphal by a mere point to retain the title when the competition was held at the National Park Tarmac on Saturday evening.
Harding performed “Alone” with a full complement of backup dancers and props while Steven Ramphal performed “Soca in meh vein”. Ramphal bagged $750,000 for copping the second spot while he will receive another $100,000 for the best newcomer. Harding walked away with a whopping $1.5 million.
Coming in third was the lone police officer in the competition, “Vintage” who performed “Soca King” and in the fourth position was the three-time monarch, Jumo “Rubber Waist” Primo.
The top performers have definitely set a high bar for those who have aspirations coming into the competition in 2020.
Speaking with Guyana Times, Harding noted that he was confident in retaining the title. He posited that a lot of work has been put into his performance which, without a doubt, was enough to win the judges’ hearts.
He explained that going into the competition, Jumo Primo was his biggest competition but after seeing the performance by Steven Ramphal, he knew that it would be an uphill task.
He noted that Saturday evening definitely did not go well for Primo, but he is cognisant that the former monarch is still one of the greatest and most energetic Guyanese performers onstage.
Nevertheless, he was ecstatic when he was named the winner in the wee hours of Sunday morning. He thanked his team for the support and is expected to successfully defend his title in 2020.
Speaking to this newspaper, the second place winner said that he was surprised to have been awarded the second position and more so, felt accomplished to have only lost by one point.
He explained that on the night of the competition, everything was on point – from dancers to props. “This is definitely an encouragement to stay in the Soca competition… I think I will stick around for a while,” Ramphal said.
He thanked his wife, SAS Designs, and Ramdial Construction for the support they have provided to him during the Soca competition.
He started his performance with a video introduction that explained that the birth of Soca was as a result of the sounds of Africa and India coming together.
This was followed by the African and Tassa drummers coming on stage thus creating a fusion of togetherness.
On the other hand, Harding appeared in the centre of the stage on a throne and proclaimed that he came ‘Alone’ to represent his crown after receiving the support of his hometown.
Brandon’s performance was undoubtedly flawless and with his excellent vocals, he shifted the foundation of the National Park. Dressed in red and gold as Ramphal, Harding and his backup dancers set the park on fire.
Meanwhile, following the announcement, Jumo reportedly left the venue while the Monarch and the first and second runners-up joined hands on the stage as they sang each other’s songs.