The seventh Season of Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall is in full swing with the 5th and final auditions set to take place this Sunday (December 15) at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.
With over 2000 talented Jamaicans Auditioned so far in Sav-La-Mar, Ocho Rios, May Pen and Portmore, Kingston is expected to carry the biggest crowd; attracting all those who have tried and failed to secure a place at the other four auditions as well as those who have waited until the last minute to show their talent.
Marketing Director, Wines & Spirits at J. Wray & Nephew Limited, Gary Dixon, says Kingston is the heartbeat of Dancehall so it is only natural for it to host the biggest and most exciting of the 5 auditions: “Every year Kingston continues to impress and this year we expect no different. Over the past 6 seasons some of the best talent to grace the Magnum stage were unearthed at the Kingston Auditions. Kingston will be the last chance to get Into the competition this year and based on history people from all over Jamaica will be there to show the best of their talent.”
Judges Miss Kitty, Skatta and Professor Nuts select the best from each auditions. These auditions’ finalists are placed in a pool for the Judges to then deliberate and select the Top 28 Live Show finalists (14 Princes and 14 Princesses) who will compete for the title of 2014 Magnum King and Queen of Dancehall.
The Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre will be buzzing with activity this Sunday December 15 between 9am and 3pm when talent from all corners of Jamaica will seek their final chance to Be the Boss by taking the first step towards Magnum stardom.
Last Saturday, Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall was mostly about strong performances, as the remaining 10 contestants showcased their talent in the second week of ‘the Magnum Mansion’.
The night had its surprises, including GLAMITY (Professor Nuts’ Wild Card) who was featured heavily in the contestants’ lyrics the previous week, was sent packing as she had the lowest votes. We all were in for another surprise as two of the better contestants, JAH BOUKS and TURBO J, agonizingly had to face-off for a single spot in the next room of ‘the Mansion’.
In the end JAH BOUKS was given a pass by Professor Nuts and Miss Kitty, for what they termed his “consistent performance”.
Fresh from his face-off, JAH BOUKS started ‘the Mansion’ show and earned top commendations from the judges. MINORI and PAYNE followed; earning a modest though notable response from the D’Entrance.
MAKARIE performed a song from her 2011 appearance in the competition with much more confidence and versatility, as she proclaimed herself to be a lyricist and the female version of Kartel.
BUCK 1, the contestant many believe should have been sent home, had to contend with an almost stiff audience. Skatta Burrell knocked him, “da performance nah buck a swear… It was almost annoying. You never settle pon di riddim.” The audience agreed, paving the way for a grieving KONFODENCE who took the stage. However, she fell short in connecting with the crowd and the judges.
It was star-boy SHACK who got the tempo going again with his “clean, ever fresh” chorus. Champion rider Charlene Skylar followed suit fully loaded with punchlines and better breath control than previous weeks.
JONNAH diverted from his usual theatrics to capture Miss Kitty’s heart with an Usher-like performance. In the midst, dancing, singing and popping a ring as he proposed to Miss Kitty on stage, which earned him several salutes, ‘farwuds’ and audience requests for more.
SASSY SILVA, whose relatively advanced age has been a mocking discussion by fellow contestants on stage, stepped out in a look we barely recognized backstage to show her 29 year-old age. She too received several salutes and found favour with the judges to cap a spot among the 10 contestants in ‘the Mansion’.
The show ended on a high, as guest judge for the night I-OCTANE took rounds as he performed several of his top singles, while TANYA CARTER, out of Belize, treated the audience at D’Entrance to her chart rising single “Ex-Boyfriend” produced by Christopher Birch.
With just two weeks before ‘the Magnum Mansion’ the 7th live show in the Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall talent show was nothing short of emotions, as the top 8 of Castle Red displayed their talents.
Pressure got mounted on the unfortunate contestants in the bottom two in the beginning for face-offs and followed by the night’s performance. CHARLENE SKYLAR and SEXY KAYDA got the ball rolling first. However Charlene’s lyrics gave her the nod over Kayda. While the judges had a little difficulty choosing between MOVAC and CHECK who to send forward. Miss Kitty initially said, “the two a oonu get mi vote,” while Professor Nuts voted MOVAC. Host Yanique wouldn’t allow diplomatic immunity and insisted Miss Kitty selected someone. Kitty balance the scale, however, it Skatta’s vote that gave CHECK another chance at the crown. The decision saw mixed responses both from D’Entrance and Social Networking site Twitter. Many felt the decision was motivated out of biases because it is said that CHECK had linkage with the label Skatta works with, Down S
The music industry is tough business, and for the past 4 years the Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall judges have the task of getting these contestants ready for the crown and prepared for the reality of the Dancehall industry.
From the auditions to the very live shows, the comments of the show’s three resident judges, veteran dancehall performer Professor Nuts, internationally renowned producer Skatta Burrell and popular media personality Miss Kitty, seem to be the driving force for the King and Queen hopefuls.
Scatta Burrell explains that their job is to mentor young talents and give them the tools to deal with the unforgiving entertainment world: “When we comment on a contestant’s performance it’s not that we want to be harsh, cruel, bring them down or whatever, but it’s because we want the best or we see and believe that they can do more.”
For its fourth season, Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall shifted gears, increasing the number of finalists, chosen only by the judges, to 28, which forced them to split into two groups: Castle Red and Castle Blue, giving more fresh talents a chance at the crown and mounting competitive spirit. So what do the judges think of this year’s contenders for the King and Queen of Dancehall?
The Fluffy Diva Judge affirmed: “Openly I have no favourite, but Castle Red is obviously stronger than Castle Blue…and certainly when you hear the talks on the streets and look back at the contestants they coincide with persons from Castle Red.
“I would like to see the contestants working on their clarity, which is very important, because the judges as well as the viewing public need to hear what they are saying. Harder lyrics, they need to leave us with that punch-line, leave the audience with something that when they go to vote they remember.”
Agreeing, Skatta remarked: “Castle Red has some stronger contestants particularly the males and you can see that the competitive spirit is somewhat stronger than Castle Blue. Not to say that Castle Blue isn’t delivering, but they need to step up. Not to say Castle Red is doing everything well, but they have certainly been the group that have grown with the show and that’s something I would like to see Castle Blue doing, more than just delivering as if they are still at the first live show…we expect the contestants to be assertive, project, controlling their breathing and working on their clarity.
“Your breathe control is a serious part of your stage presence and much more of the contestants need to work on that to give a smooth comfortable delivery. Don’t exert too much lyrics at the beginning and lose yourself half way and fight to finish…work on your 4 gears…relax, start smooth, and then increase and cruise in.”
Professor Nuts, the lone successful artiste on the judges’ team had more to say about lyrical content, performance and appearance: “As a contestant in this competition your lyrics have to constantly be outstanding. But outside of that you have to have a signature.”
Explaining that ‘signature’ the comedic artiste notes: “Actions speaks better than words. So you have to dress the part. Make your appearance or swag, as the young people call it now, by adding something else to your performance. This could be your first forward that helps build your confidence and gives you the energy to make you less nervous to tackle the stage.
“Nervousness can affect a performance. Sometimes you find that if the contestant was anticipating a response from the crowd and not getting any there is that fall in confidence and not everything comes across as how it should…not getting that reaction makes them lose the concentration.”
Voting and Campaigning
Miss Kitty also addressed issues that sometimes talented contestants get voted off early: “It’s always hard to see good contestants leave the show, but we have to reinforce if you see someone you like, vote for them, even if it’s just one time. It all boils down to the voting and that is the causality that you have with shows like this. So, if you as the public see a performance you like, support the person. Outside of that the contestants have a part to play…this is like their job now, they can’t stop at a performance on a Saturday night, they have to get that pan to beg, go on street and campaign to ensure people know them.”
Miss Kitty also mentioned: “This is the beginning of the training as an artiste and so they have to hit the pavement running, because at times it’s not going to be easy, they will have to take that CD to wherever just so that disk jocks get it or do an interview at a radio or TV station. This is the beginning of their publicity, the sooner they know they better.”
Beyond the Competition
All three judges agreed that they were all looking forward to continuity from the winners of the competition.
Skatta noted: “Really looking forward to seeing someone going out there, after six months I want to see them standing
strong and moving forward.”
In the meantime Miss Kitty confessed: “Magnum is a platform to start your career and I hope to the winners, both male and female, make a solid ground for themselves after the competition like a Tanto Blacks or a Chozenn.”
Professor Nuts: “Longevity, not just come and go. Also I want to see a lot more of the Queens and females doing much
better, when you look at it mostly the males have been doing better…Press Fyah, Tanto Blacks, Chozenn, Juggla and Singer Jah. Since the 2000s females have been dominating dancehall but it’s not reflected in the competition.”
Skatta: “Don’t let the support that you getting now make you feel comfortable, keep going stronger each week.”
Miss Kitty: “Always be consistent and never be complacent. Don’t be fooled, the same mouth that praise will boo you if you flop; so if you raise the bar, keep it up or raise it higher.”
Professor Nuts: “Build a performance character, fill it with the traits you want to be known for and get into that character before you go on stage, so that you can continuously deliver to expectations and beyond.”
Watch the judges advise the King and Queen hopefuls on 4th Season of the number one Dancehall show Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall every Saturday night on TVJ at 9:30PM.