Thirty-four contestants were on Saturday eliminated from the ongoing Miss Rwanda 2020 contest which saw the top 20 progress to the boot camp during a tightly-contested pre-selection event held in PSF Expo Grounds tent, Gikondo.
The Saturday downpour did not stop a youthful audience showing up at the venue as sections of individuals and fan clubs came to root for their favourite contestants, brandishing banners and posters of their favourites as they sought to outdo each other.
Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) TV presenters Luckman Nzeyimana and Martina Abera moderated the glamorous event switching between English and Kinyarwanda at both ends as the contestants showed off their catwalk skills on the runway.
The event kicked off at 7.30pm before an ecstatic crowd who were singing the names of contestants they were backing. Tension could be felt in the room.
After weeklong preparations and rehearsals, each of the 54 girls wanted to give it their best shot but as any competition goes, they knew only 20 would progress as the contest got into its penultimate stage.
To determine their fate, a panel of judges made up of former Member of Parliament Marie-Agnes Mukazibera, The New Times' Managing Editor James Munyaneza, Miss Rwanda 2016 Jolly Mutesi, legendary Musician Mariya Yohana and economist Teddy Kaberuka, took their place on the bench.
Unlike previous editions, the judges did not ask any question to the contestants but instead waited for them to explain their projects one by one and in a language of their choice and provide marks based on the potential of the project (40%), public speaking (30%) and audience impression (30%).
English and Kinyarwanda were remarkably the most dominant languages during the pageant pre-selection exercise.
In a two-hour long session, each of the 54 contestants was looking to impress the jury while presenting their projects but 18 made the difference and were given green light to progress to the boot Camp.
The audience was tense
They include Denyse Mutesi, Gaudence Ingabire, Rehema Ingabire, Hense Teta Musana, Brune Rutaremara Kirezi, Rosine Mukangwije, Diane Ingabire, Jolie Ange Ingabire and Chanice Mutengwantebe.
Others include Nadege Rurangirwa Kamikazi, Hope Akariza, Anita Umuratwa, Josephine Mpinganzima, Nicole Ndenga Teta, Aisha Uwase, Delice Rwiririza Nyinawumuntu, Denise Umutesi and Phionah Umwiza.
They joined Alliance Irasubiza and Naomie Nishimwe who were the most voted contestants over the past week with 192, 986 and 186, 346 votes respectively to book automatic PASS to the boot Camp.
Kigali is leading with the highest representation in the boot camp with eight contestants while the Northern Province has only one representative remaining in the ongoing beauty contest.
The 20 contestants will go a one-week boot camp slated for February 9 at La Palisse Hotel Nyamata where they will spend ample time on their projects and civic education among other lectures.
The winner of Miss Rwanda will succeed Meghan Nimwiza who is Miss Rwanda 2019 and walk away with a brand-new Suzuki Swift courtesy of Rwanda Motor and a monthly salary of Rwf800, 000 from Africa Improved Food alongside other prizes from other sponsors.
She will also represent Rwanda at the 70th edition of Miss World beauty contest to be held in Thailand.
The finale is set for February 22 at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC).
Fans were animated
Ange Jolie Ingabire made it through
Brune Kirezi Rutaremara will go to the bootcamp
Contestant Hope Akaliza presenting her project
Rosine Mukangwije also got a ticket to the bootcamp
Phiona Mukabashambo got the ticket
Nadege Rurangirwa Kamikazi impressed the judgesFollow https://twitter.com/@Eddie_250