Big turn up at East Africa’s Got Talent auditions in Kigali

Comedian Anne Kansiime, host of the East Africa's Got Talent, attended Kigali auditions. / Emmanuel Kiza

Hundreds of youth turned up Kimisagara Youth Centre, on Saturday, to take part in auditions to represent Rwanda at the first ever edition of the East Africa’s Got Talent competition.

The talent search crew is touring participating countries namely Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, looking for 30 talented individuals or groups from each country.

From the look of things, it will not be an easy task as the turn up is overwhelming. The auditions in Kigali turned out to be extremely hard for judges to pick through the thousands who turned up to select the very best who will represent the country in the regional competition.

A contestant (L) registers for the talent show. / Emmanuel Kiza

After Uganda a week before, the team was in Kigali last weekend and at the same time in Dar es Salaam before they conclude the auditions on June 2 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Plenty of familiar faces in the entertainment industry were seen looking to present their talents at the auditions. Some include comedians, dancers (traditional and modern), performing artists, singers and some doing magic, with the hope of taking a shot on the$50,000 grand prize.

From the conference hall where the auditions were taking place, no cameras or recorders were allowed in, apart from those of the show producers.

East Africa's Got Talent crew during the registration exercise. / Emmanuel Kiza

South African-based production firm Rapid Blue Productions has full rights to East Africa’s Got Talent as the producing company along with Clouds Media, which holds the Got Talent franchise in East Africa. Local media were only allowed to conduct interviews from outside.

Though local media had limited access to the goings on in the hall, Lee Ndayisaba, the Executive Producer of East Africa’s Got Talent, said that the auditions in Rwanda went pretty well and that he has no doubt that Rwanda will be represented well at the regional level.

“It’s an exciting journey. We’ve been to Kenya, Uganda and today [Saturday] here we are in Rwanda. We have got lots of amazing talents. In terms of quality of talents, East Africa is undoubtedly the best. I don’t want to spoil our audience’s excitement because they will see the shows soon on their TV screens, but we [in Rwanda] have very amazing talents,” he said.

“I don’t have any expectations about anybody but I have strong belief that Rwanda can actually reach very far in the competition and, probably, even win, it is quite possible. That is the beauty of Got Talent, which is all about discovery,” Ndayisaba added.

Some of contestants showed up for the auditions in costumes. / Emmanuel Kiza

Each of the contestants would enter a room designated for auditions and present their talents before the recording camera in a two-minute, or less, performance.

Ventriloquist Patience Uwiringiyimana, who made it to the finals in last year’s Art-Rwanda Ubuhanzi talent search is also among the talents vying for the mega-money prize as he appeared presenting his talent using puppet art before the jury during the auditions.

Uwiringiyimana said he is confident his unique puppet art can take him far in the competition.

“I did my best and it was obvious that Got Talent team members were impressed. I, with my puppet Golizo, did our best and we chose to use English today to give our performance relevance to the competition because I guess, we are going from local to international.”

“I am definitely looking at the money but most importantly, such a platform is even more important for me because it gives one exposure and visibility,” he said.

A journalist interviews a ventriloquist during the auditions. / Emmanuel Kiza

Top 30 successful participants will be announced in the next three weeks to join fellow contestants from Uganda Tanzania and Kenya in the next round, known as ‘Theater auditions’, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

They will have time to face judges and show their talents where the best will progress to the semi-finals.

People in Rwanda will watch the semi-finals and the finals live on Rwanda Television.

The winner of the regional talent competition will be announced at the series grand finale slated for October 6, and will walk away with $50,000 (Rwf45 million).

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