By Denis Dibele
Rated Next judges Siima Sabiiti, Sharpe Ssewali and Maurice Kirya over the weekend took tough decisions sieving the contest’s hopefuls from 125, down to 10.
The venue, Ndere Centre, was full of activity. Several hopefuls, who made it from the countrywide regional search in the Urban TV-Cola Cola singing contest, turned up to try and make the Top 10 cut.
The three-day trimming activity had the hopefuls reduced to 73, and then to 30 on Day One. Each trimming was, of course, preceded by sing-offs, in which those who didn’t impress were dropped.
Contestants reacted on stage, some getting quite overly emotional, like this young man in yellow who dropped to his feet.
There were those moments of Judge Siima making a decision to drop a contestant and then wanting to rescind it, only for judges Sewali and Kirya to interject, sending the axe flying without butting an eyelid.
Notably absent from the auditions was a one Maria, an Austrian working as a volunteer in Mbale. Her audition in the Eastern Uganda town weeks ago had impressed the judges and set her apart from the crowd as formidable competition.
Even the judges were disappointed by her absence.
Day two was even harder, as the judges were faced with tougher decisions axing highly talented contestants in a bid to come up with the Top 10, an exercise that went on into a third day on Sunday.
Now with the top 10 contenders selected, the nail-biting moments, drama and glamour, are just beginning.
The Top 10 will be taken through musical drills, make-up sessions and pep talks in a residential boot camp that should groom them into stars, with the winner getting selected in April, to walk away sh50m richer.
The top 20 Rated Next participants before the axe chopped them to 10. PHOTOs/Denis Dibele
The audience shall participate in the voting process for their favourite contestants, runners up of whom will also take home some prize money and iPads, among other goodies. Look out for the grand finale coming in the third week of April.
But for now, be sure to catch the auditions from previously visited places on Urban TV every Friday at 2:00pm, or Sunday at 7:00pm.
The show also airs on Bukedde1 every Wednesday at 3:30pm, while Bukedde 2 screens the show Mondays at 7:30pm and Saturdays at 8:00pm.
On TV West, tune in Sundays at 10:00pm, and Mondays at 1:00pm.