Having captured the 2010 International Soca Monarch title with their infectious song Palance, JW and Blaze seem likely favourites to romp home with the Road March crown on Carnival Tuesday. Before a maddening crowd on Friday, Jason Williams (JW) and Blaze (Ancil Isaac) walked away with a $630,000 first prize and a Toyota Hilux at Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, knocking their main rival, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, into second place. Yesterday, stakeholders in the Carnival and music industry predicted a runaway Road March victory for the pair, who have been leaving audiences ecstatic. Palance was written and produced by Kernel Roberts. Fete promoter and popular deejay Joel Morris, Signal to Noise, said having listened to people at Carnival parties, “I am quite certain that they will win that Road March. I am rooting for them.” Morris also disagreed that this Carnival had a poor crop of songs, which left people with no choice but to accept Palance as the favourite song.
“I think there was really good music. What is happening is another generation is taking over again. We are seeing new faces in the business.” Asked if the song could be a one-hit wonder, Morris said he did not see this happening. “They are known for creativity. And this is not the first year they have been singing,” Morris pointed out. While many see JW and Blaze as new faces of soca, Morris noted that the duo had been around for years, having competed as finalists in the 2007 Soca Monarch competition. The duo has become a household name on the airwaves, through the morning show Red Hot on Red 96.7 FM. Ken Marlon Charles (KMC), who squared off with JW and Blaze in the competition on Friday, said even before the results were announced, he congratulated both men, stating that they had the crowd spellbound and restless. “They have the biggest song for the Carnival. They really put out a good presentation.”
Well-known fete promoter George Singh said his Road March choice was Palance. “The fact that they won Soca Monarch sends a strong signal that this is the song people want to hear on the streets for Carnival.” Fete promoter Cliff Harris said so far JW and Blaze were in a class by themselves to win the Road March title.
Harris said what gave the men the edge over their rivals was the difference in their song. “People have grown so accustomed to the jump and wave lines for Carnival that the word palance made a difference.” Kwesi Hopkinson, managing director of Scorch Magazine, and a former programme director, said: “I think it is ground-breaking.” Hopkinson said within the last few weeks JW and Blaze won the hearts of fans, which placed them in a position to topple Fay-Ann. With regards to the Road March, Hopkinson said JW and Blaze were no doubt a cut above the rest.