By Nigel Nassar
Either the people of Arua sing a streak of music that is strange to the Coca-Cola Rated Next judges, or the region hasn’t yet fed another vocalist to represent it in the singing contest since Daniel Kaweesa.
In case you need a reminder, Kaweesa, it turns out, is a celebrity these days. He is that dark-skinned born of Arua who won the first season of the reality TV singing contest last year, taking home with him the staked jackpot of sh50m and a recording contract.
And so, under the impression that another Kaweesa might somehow materialize, the second season’s talent scouts pitched camp at Arua’s Golden Courts Hotel on Friday and Saturday. Close to 100 wana-be singers showed up for the auditions, hungry for the same jackpot and recording deal.
Winnie Natasha, 20, a first-year student of Uganda Christian University, Arua, qualified for the nationals.
At the venue, small groups of hopefuls could be seen huddled in some corner, rehearsing and fine-tuning their vocals, gearing up to belt a “yes” from judges Siima Sabiti, Sharpe Ssewali and Benon Mugumbya.
But for a bigger part of the two-day auditions, all the judges gave was a “no” – little wonder that ultimately, only one person, Winnie Natasha, a first-year student of Uganda Christian University, Arua, qualified for the nationals.
Of the five selected on Friday and advanced to Day Two on Saturday, she’s the only one who got a “yes” – a not very firm yes at that!
Contestants wait for auditions at the Golden Courts Hotel Arua after registering. PHOTO: Bosco King
With Arua, one couldn’t recognize a single song they sang, no wonder Judge Benon kept saying: “I thought I knew that song, you totally ruined it for me.”
Yet, most of them actually seemed to enjoy their own singing, with very committed looks on their faces and persistent unleashing of something akin to a dancing.
Where a singing voice came out, it was either too loud, or too mute.
There was that dude who imagined he was singing Enrique Iglesias’s Hero. The chap got to this point in the song where he just went mute, but his facial expressions and body movement showed the song was still going on in his head.
Contestants registering at Golden Courts Hotel for auditions
The judges got concerned, probably thinking he had a seizure or something. Then suddenly, he hit a crying note: “Would you cry, if you saw me crying” – by this time Judge Siima was already crying – from laughter of course.
Lots of jokers, just, including 40-year-old catering lecturer Farouk Arike, who, after just talking the lyrics of Rubben Studdard’s Sorry 2004, insisted that he is a talented singer. Thank God Judge Sharpe had already told him he was sorry for 2014.
Bottom line: there were no singers in Arua. But those chaps sure gave us a good TV show, and even filled Arua Hill stadium for the after-party where Cindy and Eddy Kenzo wowed them. Keep on a look out for these moments every Sunday on Urban TV and TV West, 7:00pm. This weekend, the search goes to Lira.