By Nigel Nassar
No doubt, Season Two of the Coca-Cola Rated Next Sing It competition has picked steam already.
Over the weekend when the search team screamed into Masaka, the auditions venue, Maria Flo, got chockablock on activity as want-to-be singers took a stub at the coveted sh50m and a recording contract with Swangz Avenue.
From boda bodas all the way to farmers, soldiers (yes, soldiers sing too), teachers, students and your everyday man on the street, the town’s dwellers embraced the auditions.
The eight who made it to the Kampala finals Photo: Roderick Ahimbazwe
With about 130 hopefuls this time around, the Masaka turnout has gone up by leaps and bounds compared to last year, when barely 90 showed face.
And much as the recording contract should be the big deal here, turns out the sh50m jackpot was the main attraction for many in Masaka, seeing as it’s all they talked about when asked by the judges why they had joined the singing competition.
It was interesting to hear how some contestants, out of excitement and perhaps naivety, launched into an array of stuff they would do with sh50m in case they won it.
One talked of how he would travel to Kampala, buy land in the city centre and build a mansion before investing the rest in agriculture. Really? That’s how exciting sh50m can get!
Contestants during the Coca-Cola rated next auditions in Masaka. Photo: Roderick Ahimbazwe
That aside, the Masaka auditions were somewhat a breath of fresh air compared to those in Mbarara the previous weekend. Reason? Well, at least we didn’t have chaps sauntering in with dirty attire and dusty feet in slippers and car tyre flip-flops (read lugabire).
Even without much of singing talent to talk of, most of them dressed up for the occasion and actually looked good, and clean too.
Granted, there were moments of serious jokers close to about 15 in number, with none able to sustain a single musical note. Interestingly, they all looked cut from the same cloth, probably brought in from the same village in a truck to prank the judges. But we still had fun seeing them kicked out within seconds of opening their mouths.
On the whole though, the Masaka people sang better than those in Mbarara, so much so that the judges, X FM’s Siima Sabiti, Sharpe Ssewali of First Love Features and Swangz Avenue’s Benon Mugumbya, had the luxury of denying some okay ones a “yes” to proceed to Day Two.
Day One on Friday had 15 let through to Day Two on Saturday, which ended with eight making it to the impending Kampala showdown that will pit all regional winners against one another in some weeks to come.
A contestant entertians others during the Coca-Cola rated next Auditions in Masaka. Photo: Roderick Ahimbazwe
But before that, here come the top eight from Masaka: Grace Arabela, a Makerere University first-year student of Mass Communication, Lydia Nabisubi, an accounts clerk with Love In Action, Catherine Mutambiza, a single mother of two, Titus Kuteesakwe, a farmer, Sally Luzinda, a third-year BBA student of Uganda Martyrs’ University, Sasha Brighton, a Kyambogo University second-year student of Information Technology, Harriet Ndagire, an S6 vacationer and Daniels Rajj.
The auditions culminated into an after-party at Recreation Grounds, where artistes Aziz Azion, Rema, Khalifa Aganaga, last season winner Daniel Kaweesa and runner-up Rebecca Nanziri performed.
Look out for the Kampala auditions this Friday at National Theatre. Screening on Urban TV, TV West and Bukedde 1 and 2 commences on February 3rd.
At least the Masaka hopefuls could sing…some of them