Calypso Monarch John Gotti Wins the Crown Again

Super T and the singer known as John Gotti await the judge’s decision. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

The official opening of St. Thomas Carnival Village has yet to come, but Saturday night brought the Fort Christian Parking Lot to life with the 2024 Calypso Monarch Competition. Nine calypsonians brought their creativity to the stage with lyrics, humor, political insights, costumes, stagecraft and a house band.

A crowd of about 400 filled the seats and milled around in groups near those vendors’ booths opened to serve refreshments.

Four hours and two rounds of entertainment later, the 2018 monarch hailing from St. John had again won the crown. Going by the stage name John Gotti, the singer left the audience howling with a satire about female body enhancement called Inflate It.

The now twice-crowned calypsonian also won the prize for Best Humor.

Veteran calypsonian Myrel Tonge, performing under the stage name Super T, took first runner-up with a bouncy tune about power outages. Tonge also won honors for Best Commentary, while the title of Best Political Song went to Lady Mac.

Mac — known by her given name as Karen Mc Intosh Bruce — is the reigning St. Croix Calypso Monarch. She also won second runner-up in the overall contest.

Tonge also captured the second top spot twice before and said he thought he had it in the bag on Saturday but was satisfied. “I write my own songs, I compose my own lyrics, I compose my own melody; I came up along with Daddy Jones from St. Croix. Daddy Jones is my producer as well, and my arranger and musical engineer.”

Fans, family and friends rushed the stage moments after the announcement was made. They danced, celebrated and hoisted the winner’s trophies high in the air.

The winner was clearly exuberant, accepting hugs and fist bumps backstage. He thanked his supporters, his musical team and his wife for helping him. “And I am representing Love City,” he said.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach congratulate the singer known as John Gotti early Sunday morning. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Among those congratulating the monarch was four-time Calypso King Louis Ible Jr. When he was asked what made Gotti the judge’s choice, Ible pointed to several qualities that make a winning performance. “Diction, clarity, humor,” he said, “attainable to the audience. Some of these guys act like they’re afraid to reach out to the audience. (Gotti) reaches out with his lyrics and his humor.”

Several members of the audience showed their appreciation for a night of entertainment under patchy clouds and moonlight. “Everybody’s been doing their thing with the lyrics. The band is good,” said St. Thomas native Earl Haynes, visiting from Tampa.

“The performances are better than I’ve seen in a while,” said Carnival fan Francis Wenner. Four-time Junior Calypso King Kyza Callwood sat close to the stage to savor the performances.

“I enjoy the show. The orchestration is very important, and of course the lyrics and the message is in the music. You also have to go up there and have fun, because if you don’t have fun it’s not a performance,” Callwood said.