Calypso Finals Tonight – A Testing Time for the Judges

TONIGHT is calypso finals, an event on the island’s carnival agenda that has generated much drama and controversy over the years.

To many calypso lovers and ordinary Saint Lucians, the judges of calypso finals never seem to get it right. Forget that the judges are highly qualified and have particular competencies to judge the show, the average Saint Lucian always fancies himself or herself as better judges than the qualified ones. Hence the perennial dissatisfaction whenever the results are broadcast.

But this has not always been the case. There has been general satisfaction with the judges score cards in times past. It’s just that such times are few and far between. We hope that tonight general satisfaction reigns and that the people and the judges see eye to eye. We are aware that things can happen tonight that can affect a good calypso, thereby placing that calypso at the lower end of the judges score card. But that does not mean that disparity should exist between the judging panel and supporters of the various calypsonians who will take to the ‘Big Yard’ tonight.

But should there be disparity, we are hoping that the debate that usually follows such incongruence will be balanced and that good comes out of it to strengthen the judging process moving forward.

That being said, it augurs well for the calypso fraternity to be aware, (just a reminder to them) that the quality of a calypso has a lot to do with delivery when it is being performed and that forgetting or repeating a line can spell disaster for the singer and that song. At least that has been the case here on more than one occasion.

We are calling on the calypso fraternity to have some faith in the judging panel tonight and not descend into the abyss of condemnation. We believe that over the years, the competencies of judges to adjudicate our calypso competitions based on the various criteria they have  to follow has improved a hundred-fold. And while they are human, prone to the many subjective influences that impact the process, we are of the strong belief that the majority, if not all the judges for tonight’s contest will do their very best to see that the deserving calypsonian is crowned tonight.

We have come a long way in the judging of calypsos. Let’s not forget the perceptions and allegations in the calypso arena in the eighties and nineties that led a stalwart like Herb Black, in 1991 to sing his masterpiece of a calypso ‘Calypso jail’ which led many to believe that unfair decisions, biased judging and the inability of judges to look beyond his dread locks caused him not to be monarch during this era, despite his delivery of several superb calypsos.

A lot will, as always, depend on the criteria set for the judges and their competency level. We want to believe that tonight’s judges will be astute and well-trained both theoretically and practically thereby making it easy for them to discern weaknesses in the structure and lyrical content of a calypso.

Tonight’s calypso finals is supposed to be epic because the sons of two former monarchs will be competing. Not only that, both sons have won the monarch title already. Last year’s monarch Dezral is the son of the Mighty Pep, a multiple monarch winner. The other son is Ti Carro, son of Lord Carro (deceased). A calypso legacy is being fashioned right before our eyes.

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