For the first time in the 44-year history of the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, a mother and her son will face off in the final. They will join four former monarchs, two junior monarchs and a number of first-time finalists vying to dethrone defending calypso monarch King Quon at the Courtesy Garage Pic-O-De-Crop Final at the new amphitheatre venue at National Botanical Gardens on Friday, August 4, 2023.
Finalists who will challenge the reigning monarch King Quon, who hails from the House of Soca, are: All Stars Calypso Tent’s Donella Weekes-Oliver and her son Don-Ross Ross Oliver from Shining Stars. Also, from All Stars are: John Yarde, former Junior Monarch queen Teri, Charisma, Eric Lewis and Niqa; former monarch Bumba of Shining Stars; from the De Big Show three-time king I-Web, two-time winner AC, former monarch Mr Blood, Chrystal and Nathalee; and from The House of Soca past Junior Monarch champion Ranaan, Billboard, Raheem, Coopa Dan and Keerah.
A tie for 17th place meant that there will be no reserve and the Finals will see a total of 19 contestants on stage. The results were tabulated by our auditors Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Still basking in excitement, 21-year-old Ross described reaching the final on his first try as surreal, even more because he gets the opportunity to compete against his mum. Weekes-Oliver noted that the occasion is especially fitting and a wonderful feeling because it has always been a dream of Ross to compete against her, but never did they think it would be on the most prestigious calypso stage.
“The feeling that I have, enough words can’t explain it but I am feeling really, really good for him. I feel good for myself too but mainly for him. It is his first try at Pic-O-De-Crop and he has made it all the way and for me that’s an achievement already,” Weekes-Oliver said.
In addition to the advice Weekes-Oliver has shared with Ross throughout the Crop Over season on preparation and focusing, Ross credited his experiences in the Scotiabank Junior Monarch Competition for preparing him psychologically for the rudiments of competition.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Raheem, who placed second in the aforementioned competition in 2016. Expressing how blessed he felt to reach the Pic-O-De-Crop stage, the 25-year-old maintained that the achievement would not have been possible without the solid foundation established in the junior competition. So even though he will make his debut in the big yard, Raheem said he was not intimidated but was currently drawing up strategies for his performance.
“I had a goal set this year and that was to reach the final of the Pic-O-De-Crop and I did that. So, in my mind I already won. From here I [am] just going out to put on as good a show as I can and the judges’ decision is final. Win, lose or draw, I will forever be grateful, because to reach the final stage is a big achievement for me already.”
Another new-comer is Coopa Dan who may be a more familiar face in the bashment and soca scene. However, many would be surprised to know that he is no stranger to social commentary having begun his career in this genre when he was about 17 years old. For him, reaching the Final is the pinnacle and he believed that his chance at victory was as good as any of the other 18 in the line-up.
Likewise, former monarch Brian Bumba Payne, last reached the Final’s stage in 2009 when he placed seventh, however he was excited though reserved about the big night.