Pomp, fanfare and youthful expectation. That was in the air at the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) grounds in Nakasero as auditions for season III of the Tusker Project Fame reality TV show kicked off on Saturday morning. Hundreds of aspiring young musicians thronged the venue, some as early as 6:00am, for the weekend-long auditions that kicked off at 9:00am.
To eliminate the chocking queues that plagued the auditions for the previous season, three different studios, each with a judge, were used simultaneously. Thanks to UBC TV, which won exclusive rights to air the contest, the gala was aired live. By midday on day one, over 200 contestants had auditioned. Each contestant was required to sing one or two popular English songs to impress the judges, and had to be at least 18 years of age.
The judges this time were singer Rachel K, Sanyu FM radio presenter Crystal Newman, and musician Mathew Nabwiso, a lead vocalist with the Misty Jazz Band and Soul Beat Africa Band. Describing Tusker Project Fame (TPF) as the biggest reality TV show in Africa, Hazel Twesigye, the brand manager of Tusker Lager, the showâ€™s official sponsor said: â€œJudging from the large number of applicants who have turned up, this yearâ€™s show promises to be bigger, better and challenging as well.â€
Last year, the contest, held at the Tusker Project Fame academy in Nairobi was won by Ugandaâ€™s Esther Nabaasa, who bagged a cash prize of sh130m, plus a recording contract with Gallo Records in South Africa. She has since dropped her maiden 12-track album, Rock In A Country Soul.
This year, there will only be four Ugandan housemates, unlike last yearâ€™s five, and the winner will walk away with a cash price of sh125m plus a recording contract with the acclaimed Gallo Records Studios.
Day two of the auditions saw contestants who impressed the judges on Saturday go for the second round. Here, they were sieved further, with the three judges sitting together this time.
TPF auditions jammed