[UPDATED] Machel, Teja in Calypso Monarch final

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Machel Montano, singing Soul Of Calypso at Calypso Fiesta held at Skinner Park, San Fernando on Saturday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Reigning Calypso Monarch Tazyah O’Connor has his hands full if he hopes to hold onto his crown on February 11.

Photos of the Saturday event held at Skinner Park in San Fernando circulating on social media show the event was well attended. The performances also showed it would be a fight for the coveted title.

The 11 contestants hoping to dethrone O’Connor are Aaron Duncan, Brian London, Helon Francis, Karene Ashe, Kurt Allen, Machel Montano, Mical “Mical Teja” Williams, Chuck Gordon, Stacey Sobers, Gypsy and reigning Tobago Monarch Dillon Thomas.

Victoria “Queen Victoria” Cooper Rahim is the reserve with her song The Enemy.

In a Facebook post, soca superstar Machel Montano said he was excited about his performance next Sunday, adding, “It was a dream to be back in the historic venue performing at Calypso Fiesta, a real full-circle moment.”

Montano returned to his musical roots in January when he tapped back into calypso, releasing Soul of Calypso.

Previously, he said he would not take part in this year’s Carnival, as he was in the final semester of his masters in Carnival Arts at UTT. Montano began his 40-plus-year career with calypso in 1986 at the age of 12 with his classic Too Young to Soca, which he sang live at Dimanche Gras.

O’Connor, in a phone interview with Newsday, said he agreed with the judges’ picks.

“I am very confident in what I’m bringing on Sunday.”

Asked whether he believes he will keep his title, he said, “Of course I do, but everyone thinks they are going to win; that’s human nature.”

He said the audience can expect a great performance from him, adding that the carnival season has been a bit stressful since he has been getting ready for the finals, saying he has been preparing for the big night since early January.

He described his year as one filled with opportunities and a lot of success.

Before ending the interview, he wished his competitors all the best. The finals are scheduled to take place at Queen’s Park Savannah.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

TWELVE contestants will compete for the National Calypso Monarch crown on February 11.

The semifinals, held on February 3, featured 40 contestants vying for a coveted spot in the finals.

The finalists are Aaron Duncan, Brian London, Helon Francis, Karene Asche, Kurt Allen, Machel Montano, Mical “Mical Teja” Williams, Chuck Gordon, Stacey Sobers, Winston “Gypsy” Peters and reserve Queen Victoria.

Karene Asche at Calypso Fiesta held at Skinner Park, San Fernando on Saturday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

They will face reigning Monarch Duane Ta’Zyah O’Connor and Tobago Monarch Dillon Thomas.

The finals are scheduled to take place at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Mical “Mical Teja” Williams, singing DNA at Calypso Fiesta held at Skinner Park, San Fernando on Saturday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder