Tom Close made history on Saturday night when he was declared the winner of the first edition of the Primus Guma Guma Superstar (PGGSS).
The highly-rated young artiste beat a field of three contenders that included King James, Jay Polly and Dream Boyz to emerge after a grueling three-month battle.
He won a grand prize of Rwf6million in addition to a one year contract with Bralirwa as a Primus Beer Ambassador and the chance to record a song alongside its video with renowned singer Sean Kingston.
There was palpable tension as soon as host Lion Imanzi was beamed on stage ready to make the big announcement as Tom Close stared into one spot and King James bowed his head.
As soon as Tom Close found out he was triumphant , he flashed a big smile, as King James walked away leisurely, sure that his luck had at last ran out.
Close capped the night by thanking his fans for making it possible for him to win, but his speech was interrupted by an irate crowd, who started throwing stones at him and the star had to immediately be whisked away by security personnel.
Saturday night was a rapturous moment when thousands of Rwandans gathered at Amahoro stadium’s parking ground as millions watched the show live on RTV.
Dream Boyz, who despite their popularity in Rwanda only managed a lackluster fourth position as Jay Polly took the second runners-up position.
The race then went down to the two to the wire as King James and Tom Close fought for the coveted position, with the latter, walking away with the big money, a big contract and a very big fan base.
How did Tom Close win it? Perhaps it had something to do with his unique musical style – R&B coupled with his personality.
“First and foremost I want to thank the Almighty God and all my fans for supporting me”, Tom Close said.
All the 10 Primus Guma Guma Superstar contestants, including those who were previously eliminated performed at the closing night.
Riderman was the first artiste on stage and he performed his rendition of “umwana w'umuhanda” and “bombori bombori”. Urban Boyz sang a love song “mbabarira” pleading for forgiveness and rounded it off with “ishamba”.
Rafiki, too, stuck his Coga trademark and wowed the audience with his “bigambo” hit and followed it with Jose Chameleon’s “kipepewo”. The enigmatic young star descended off the stage to join his fans but he was immediately led back by security guards.
Mani Martin had a great performance and impressed the crowd when he sang Enrique Iglesias’s “hero”, Impara troupe’s “cyogwino” and his popular “amazi magari” track.
On the flipside, Dr. Claude who was dressed in black trainers and sandals performed “Contre succes” and only a chorus line of “baramujyanye.”
During the thrilling performance, the four contestants Dream Boyz, King James, Jay Polly and Tom Close, did not fail to impress the crowd with their outstanding performances.
“I am so disappointed because I wanted Jay Polly to win,” Olivier Namasitula, student at the National University of Rwanda.
Throughout the competition, the contestants were supported by a back up live band composed of nine artistes: Jackson Kalimba (vocal), Charlotte Rulinda (vocal), Eric Mucyo (vocal), Fifi Ntaziyaremye (keyboard), Richard Nzosabimana (bass guitar), Chrisology Ruzamba (lead guitar), Zawadi Rweshya (keyboard), Karim Habimana (drum) and Marcel Mico (music director).
The Primus Guma Guma Superstar was organised by the country’s largest alcoholic beverages manufacturer, Bralirwa, in collaboration with East African Promoters (EAP).