A day after the premiere of East Africa’s Got Talent on Citizen TV, I still can’t get over the mind-blowing acts that featured on the inaugural episode.
Jugglers, acrobats, singers and dance crews all came out with one purpose - bringing out their A-game to prove to the judges, Jeff Koinange (Kenya), Gaetano Kwagana (Uganda), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania), and DJ Contact Makeda (Rwanda), that they had what it takes to bag the Ksh5 Million grand prize.
I knew East Africa has got talent but I wasn't prepared for what was presented.
The first act of the night was a dance crew ‘All Eyes On Us’ from Uganda, which left the crowd screaming after their jaw-dropping stunts. At some point, the judges could barely watch as they tossed each other in the air and landed perfectly, without any mishaps.
Their risky yet outstanding routine impressed the judges to get four yeses that helped them advance to the next round.
Cultural diversity was amply represented in the show. John Kibe from Kenya, brought out a traditional musical instrument referred to as the wandídí.
With the simple small drum, stick and wire strings, Kibe wowed the judges when he had a conversation with the wandídí that mimicked human sounds.
The judges enjoyed themselves so much, they asked to hear their favourite phrases vocalized by the traditional instrument.
“Somebody say oh my!” Jeff Koinange challenged, after which wandídí hilariously mimicked.
Safi Theatre Group from Tanzania performed an inspiring cultural dance. All through the act, they had smiles plastered on their faces, signalling that they were enjoying themselves on stage, which particularly caught Judge Koinange's eye.
Mariam, also from Tanzania, dazzled the judges when she juggled her drum using her feet. She even switched from the drum to a small table and got the judges to say Yes to her.
Also making it through to the next round were, Fidel, a smooth guitarist from Burundi; Uruyange, A traditional dance troupe from Rwanda; and Gloria & Vincent (a contemporary dance couple from Kenya).
The moment of the night must have been when Seven-year-old Leyna Kagere, from Uganda, took the stage. Poised, oozing with confidence and exhibiting control in her voice, like that of a professional singer, she belted out a powerful ballad by the name, “One Day At a Time.”
Not only did she enchant everyone with her angelic voice, but she also made history as the first golden buzzer act of #EAGT.
On the other hand, there were acts that were less than stellar and the judges did not spare them. 25-year-old Elvis Nyaruri was the first casualty. His ‘Elvis Presley’ impersonation was not the panel's cup of tea, terming his act as one that lacked originality and a knock off of the American cultural icon.
Also falling short of the judges’ expectations was Lingwana Chande from Tanzania, who played two bamboo flutes through his nose - You, read that right, through his nose - I mean - how? It was a shame he didn't make it through.
“For me, it’s a no, but I urge you to improve your act and come back next year,” Vanessa Mdee regretfully voted.
One act to remember, not because it was necessarily good, was when Daniel Ochieng' from Migori, came out and introduced himself as an aspiring professional mourner.
From the moment Daniel started performing, Judge Koinange could barely hold himself together as he burst out in laughter. Not even his palm could shield the tears gathering in his eyes from the cameras.
The other judges buzzed Daniel off in a bid to get him to stop but Jeff seemed to be having the time of his life and was torn between pressing his buzzer or letting Daniel finish his performance. That, however, quickly change with a nudge from Vanessa Mdee.
When it comes to the tallying, Uganda has the upper hand with one golden buzzer by Leyna who will head straight to the live shows. But the scores were very much level as all the countries had performances that proceeded to the next round.
I may not have had any influence over the show but a Kenyan act better get a golden buzzer in the next episode that will air on Sunday, August 11, 2019.
You can watch the full premiere episode here:
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