Wayne Chiridza, Showbiz Reporter
AUDITIONS for the Zimbabwe leg of the Old Mutual Amazing Voices singing competition kicked off in Bulawayo at the Large City Hall yesterday with hundreds flocking the venue to try their luck.
Among those who auditioned were school students, acapella group Focus, Sisters in Christ, Sons of Soul and Family Voices. Some travelled from other towns to attend the auditions.
From the Bulawayo auditions, 12 groups will be shortlisted today and will battle it out in Harare this weekend for the final selection. In Harare, three groups will be chosen to represent Zimbabwe at the regional finals. The music search, a first for Old Mutual will see groups in three genres, gospel, afro pop and RnB from four countries – Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ghana and Kenya competing for a grand prize of US$100 000. At yesterday’s auditions, the hopefuls were in good spirits as they had high hopes that they would qualify. Some, after being told they could not audition individually but as groups of four, six and eight, immediately formed groups outside the City Hall.
The auditions which were meant to kick off as early as 8AM ended up beginning at about 11AM. This made the hopefuls more anxious as most wanted to get it over and done with, before likely forgetting lyrics. However, some were dealt a major blow as they were rejected at the first stage of auditions which was interviews. Some fell in the audition room and it was clear as they walked out as their spirits were dampened.
Speaking before they auditioned, Ronald Sibanda of Family Voices commended the reality show’s sponsors, Old Mutual for coming up with such a concept and extending it to Bulawayo, a city which is often left out.
“We’re happy that this event has come to our city as this platform will help us showcase our talents to the world. I’m optimistic that we’ll make it to the regional finals and that’s all we hope for,” said Sibanda. Focus group who also have their eyes on the prize said: “The prize money would change our lives and if we’re chosen, we’ll represent Bulawayo and Zimbabwe with the best we have to offer.”
Auditioning the groups were musicians Takura, Selmor Mtukudzi and Tembalami from Zimpraise. ZiFM Stereo host, MisRed was the presenter.Mtukudzi said she was confident that the winner of the show will be from Zimbabwe as the country is well known for its musical talent. “It is (singing competition) such an amazing opportunity that has come to Zimbabwe and I know the talent is there. I’m very confident the winner will be from Zimbabwe. As a selector, I’ll be looking out for amazing voices who are confident and original,” said Mtukudzi. After the Bulawayo auditions today, the next round will be in Harare on Friday where 12 more groups will be shortlisted. On Saturday, the 12 from Harare will compete with the ones from Bulawayo with the top three being the ones to represent Zimbabwe at the regional finals in South Africa. – @waynecas.