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St George out front

Kings and Queens prelims free of usual mix-ups
Published: 
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Tracell Frederick portrays Carnival Is from the Colorz Fuh So band’s presentation of Masquerade—The Gathering during the NCBA’s senior Queens preliminaries at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Thursday night. PHOTOS: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

A veteran masquerader and a former national track and field athlete are leading the way in this year’s Carnival Kings and Queens competition. The preliminary round of the hotly contested annual competition was held at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain on Thursday night. Although there was a poor turnout of spectators at the Grand Stand of the venue, those present were nevertheless treated to a regal display of mas design and craftsmanship from the 88 participants. 

Unlike in previous years, the contestants’ performances were free of costume malfunctions, background music mix-ups and strong wind—a usual problem for those opting for grandiose portrayals. Most of the costumes were noticeably smaller than in the past, with a large majority of participants opting to go down the traditional route of carrying the weight of the costumes on their backs instead of being aided by large metal frames on wheels.   

This year’s Kan Kan Riddim featuring Benjai’s collaboration with H2O Phlo, Phenomenal, and Olatunji Yearwood’s  Ola were the two most popular compositions chosen by the masqueraders to cross the stage with Machel Montano’s Like a Boss trailing third. At the end of the night, Roland St George, of D Krewe Carnival Company, emerged on top of the judges’ score sheet in the Kings category with his costume Ahtwaje, receiving 430 points. St George last won the competition in 2012.  

The costume, consisting of a giant armoured fighting cock with a multi-coloured serpent on its heels, captivated both the audience and the judges as St George’s movement made it appear as if the two creatures were sparring. In second place, but with the same number points as St George, was Zatog—The Invincible played by Fernando Marchan of Trini Revellers. Marchan also won the approval of the crowd with his ability to gracefully control his menacing crimson dragon-like creature. 

Fareid Carvalho captured third place with his presentation Death-Desolation Despair-Keeper of Souls, which was aided by theatrics of almost a dozen dancers in equally intricate costumes. He scored 425 points.The Queens competition was far less of a neck-and-neck affair than the Kings, with forerunner Roxanne Omalo leading her closest competitor Gloria Dallsingh by seven points. 

Omalo, who represented T&T in the Carifta Games in 1998 when she was a teenager, expertly portrayed her costume The Phantom Queen. The costume, depicting a giant skeleton riding a red and gold phoenix-like bird, appeared even more terrifying as its intricate design mingled with the lighting on the stage. Dallsingh’s costume made of fabric and reflective foil in different hues of blue mimicked a huge wave crashing onto a shore as she jerked her body back and forth while crossing the stage. 

Reigning Carnival King Wade Madray and Queen Peola Marchan will have to work on their presentations in the second round if they wish to retain their titles as neither appeared to impress the judges, placing them at seventh and ninth place, respectively. The semifinals will be held on Tuesday at the same venue with 20 participants in each category. The show is set to start at 7 pm with tickets costing $100.

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