The Tusker Project Fame (TPF) opening gala party last Sunday attracted East Africans in a night of glitz, glamour and music.
The top 18 contestants and faculty members were unveiled, as the three judges Ian Mbugua, Juliana Kanyomozi and Hermes Bariki made a comeback.
With 15 spots in the TPF Academy and only nine contestants having secured their positions, seven of the contestants had to battle it out for a spot with three of them facing possible elimination.
Steven Nyabwa from Kenya wowed the crowd with his rendition of ‘Marcelina’. His electrifying performance elicited positive remarks from the judges, with Judge Ian saying that he, “…could certainly stir up a crowd.”
Also fighting for the position, were Uganda’s Davis Ntare and Brendah Nankinga. This was not Ntare’s first time at TPF, having been sent home by the Judges at last year’s gala show.
He poured his soul into his cover of Ronan Keating’s “When you say nothing at all” and was overjoyed when the judges admitted him into the Academy.
Elizabeth Gaga from Rwanda, Amilena Mwenesi of Kenya, and Tanzania’s Leah Mwambogela impressed the judges and were able to secure their spots in the TPF Academy together with Steven and Davis.
Rwandan beauty Liz Mugwaneza and Cynthia of Tanzania saw their dreams put on hold when they failed to meet the judges’ high expectations.
The other highlight of the gala was unveiling the Academy’s new principal, Helen Mtawali, who gave a powerful performance of her own composition.
She also had a commanding stage presence, which is something that she is sure to impart to her young charges at the Academy.
The other members of the faculty include voice coach Kavutha, music director R. Kay and the choreographer/fitness coach Edu.
This year also sees the addition of band leader Aaron Rimbui to this stellar cast. Ng’ang’alito was also on hand to entertain the crowd, accompanied by Sarakasi dancers.
Atete Gaëlle, Gilbert Gabiro and Elizabeth Gaga from Rwanda will be gunning for the top prize, while Uganda’s Davis Hillary Ntare, Rachel Namubiru and Thomas Madooba Kirya are steady.
Tanzania will be aptly represented by Aneth Kushaba, Leah Mwambogela and Peter Msechu. The über confident Paleki Obur and Kuonck Deng will be representing Southern Sudan.
Kenya will have four representatives with Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda each having three contestants and Southern Sudan only two.
During the eight weeks in the academy, the remaining 15 contestants will be coached on how to improve their music careers including voice, instrument; dance and performing skills.
Contestants will strive to prove to judges and viewers they are the best music talent from the region with the hope of walking away with the grand prize money of five million shillings, a recording contract from South African based Gallo records and a host of other goodies.
Viewers can tune in every day for the daily shows to watch their favourite contestants fight for the top prize. TPF.