Day 2- First Day of Auditions Arua
We had an early start today. After a delicious but slightly rushed breakfast washed down with copious amounts of coffee, it was time for the judges to sit in front of the camera for their Q&As.
I normally dread sitting directly in front of the camera, but there was so much joking around and photobombing by the crew that it was over before I even knew it. After explaining what I personally was looking forward to on the first day of Arua auditions, I found a quiet corner and called the Xfm studio to deliver my Luganda tweet. My co-hosts Rudende and Libolo clearly thought they would get away with it, seeing as I was in another part of the country but no chance.
Once I had successfully translated my Luganda tweet to the benefit of the nation at large (ahem) it was time to head to Arua 1 for a quick interview. I am happy to report that I learned how to say 'good morning' and 'my name is Siima' in Lugbara! Don't ask me to prove it here because I can't quite remember how to say it. (It's been a long day, don't judge me.)
If you are ever in Arua and decide to pass by the station, do look out for the coffin makers next door, and their purple coffins. Bizarre. But interesting. I wonder if I can put in an order for a pink one for when my time comes? Hmm.
Once the radio interview was done, Bush Baby made us walk up and down Kampala Road (yes. there is one in Arua!) for what he called street shots. Esther, Ken and I looked like a lame attempt at recreating the infamous scene from Reservoir Dogs. Reservoir Judges, oba? But as always, we chose to trust Bush, who always seems to know what he is doing.
Unlike DJ BK, who became the official handbag carrier for the lady judges. The less said about that, the better.
Back to Golden Courts for the auditions. We settled down for a quick make-up retouch- it was really hot today and I literally felt like my face was melting. Just before we started, I took a quick peek at the contestants outside and wondered if the next big thing was sitting out there, waiting to come in and blow us away.
The auditions started.
Without giving away too much, I will say that Arua easily has the most diverse collection of interesting stage names than any other town in Uganda. Among the people who came to sing for a shot at the 50 million shilling grand prize, we had some incredible names. My Top 5 are as follows:
Under Raise (so-called because, in his words, 'God raised him from under'. Erm...)
Stella Kenzo (a self-professed Eddie Kenzo fan. Who auditioned a song by Lilian Mbabazi. Go figure)
Grand Christopher (who sang a hilarious song about jealousy being a virus, and God being the anti virus. I wept)
White Stone (who looked like he maybe should have done his laundry before turning up for the audition)
Ronnie Brown (a die-hard Chris Brown fan. You see the pattern, right? Prove you are a true fan by adding your idol's name to yours. Siima Jackson, anyone?)
And finally, the one, the only...
I'm not kidding. This dude calls himself Black Jesus. And he wore mismatched sandals. And is a butcher by trade.
I love my job.
We did come across some gems though, diamonds in the rough, and I just can't wait to see if they bring their 'A' game tomorrow.
For now, I think I've earned a glass of wine.
Catch you tomorrow.