IN SUMMARY: The contest, sponsored by Coca Cola in conjunction with Vision Group's Urban TV, started in January, and auditions were held in Mbarara, Arua, Masaka and Jinja before coming back to Kampala. Ten finalists were then chosen and taken to reside in a house somewhere in Kampala. Live shows then began and there were evictions every week after that, till the final four were chosen last week, and ultimately the winner announced Sunday.
By Joseph Kizza
KAMPALA - An evening of vibrant performances inside Wonder World Amusement Park auditorium presented a befitting climax to a five-month countrywide search for talent with 14-year-old Ruth Grace becoming the second winner of the Coca Cola Rated Next: Sing It music talent search show.
Daniel Kaweesa, whose closing performance on Sunday evoked fond memories of his triumph last year, was the first ever winner of the singing competition.
Ruth Grace's jubilant fans stormed the stage immediately show host Danze Mosha, a show presenter on Urban TV, announced the teenage sensation as the winner of this year's competition. Amid efforts to overcome her shock, the youngster found herself even further engulfed by the group excited supporters on stage.
Dressed in a cute white dress, she had a memorable selfie moment with Vision Group's CEO Robert Kabushenga (he sure fancies a good selfie!) on stage shortly afterwards. She was then handed a dummy cheque of sh50m by Kabushenga and Century Bottling Company's sales and executive manager, Rob Davis, amid deafening applause from the crowd.
Season Two winner: Ruth Grace. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Season One winner: Daniel Kaweesa. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Ruth Grace's feat, which saw her join the millionaires club, on top of securing a recording contract with Swangz Avenue Studios, came at the expense of three other finalists – her closest challengers – the impressive Charles Ssekitoleko (second), Winnie Nakanwagi (third) and Cathryn Kuteesa Eseri (fourth).
Despite falling just short of ultimate victory, the trio will thrive on their own sense of success for having made it this far in such a tight competition.
A journey that started in January – with thousands of hopefuls auditioning from all regions of the country – was chiseled down to only a handful, and then to the final four, from which only one had to reign supreme.
The sensational Charles finished second overall. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
It took a while for Ruth Grace to recover from her shock. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
SAY CHEESE! Then came the selfie moment with Kabushenga
The event was keenly followed on social media, with many placing their bets on either Charles, whose unique feminine vocals had throughout the season earned him quite a huge following, and 14-year-old Ruth Grace to win.
And when the resilient Ruth Grace was announced the winner, fans took to Twitter to congratulate her.
One wrote: 'Thanx for spotting this talent. She deserved it'
Then came another's reaction: 'That's great for Ruth Grace' . . . and many more reactions kept flowing in.
It was a remarkable evening for those who kept their eyes glued onto their TVs for a whole two hours of screening, and for those who followed proceedings live inside the Wonder World auditorium in Kampala.
Musician Irene Ntale entertained the crowd. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Finalist Winnie came in third overall. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
After an amazing journey, sensational Eseri finished four. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
The finale was peppered with a cocktail of both individual performances (from the finalists) as well as duets by the other Top-Ten finishers.
They all featured in the opener, offering a bright start to the proceedings. Hudson and Pages did a duet You Make Me Say, with Hudson doing what he does best with his guitar and Pages showing off his rapping capabilities.
Apio and Joshua slapped more energy into the show with an original composition Syemi, before Lillian and Sharifah could inject effervesence with Nzijukira.
The final four contestants each sang twice before a full house, and they received their final remarks from judges Siima Sabiti, Sharpe Ssewali and Benon Mugumbya.
And when show host Mosha revealed the winner, it was Ruth Grace who spread her hands out and eased her head up in the air the very moment her name was sounded.
The men behind the scenes. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
The show was sponsored by beverage company Coca Cola in conjunction with Urban TV. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Elated fans took time off to jig a bit inside the Wonder World auditorium. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Show judge Benon Mugumbya (left) looked as sharp as his counterpart Sharpe Ssewali (right). PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Hundreds of fans showed up at Wonder World Amusement Park for the grand finale. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
And they came in all styles, colours, and . ..umh....shapes! PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
Charles does his thing before a full crowd that gave him full voice. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
This was Grace's opener for the night. . . doing Grey Naava's Aliba Wana. PHOTO/Roderick Ahimbazwe
A winner's smile indeed . .. sh50m and a recording contract, what more could she ever have asked for?
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Ruth Grace wins Coca Coca Rated Next season two