King James wins PGGSS II as Jason Derulo crowns it all
People had started flocking the venue as early as 2pm for a show that started at 8pm.
At some point, police had to use force to ward off a huge crowd of people that was threatening to break into the overcrowded venue. It seemed Bralirwa’s decision to hold the finale of the Primus Guma Guma Superstar Season II competition outside the main stadium was an oversight.
Even the main stadium would have struggled to swallow the massive wave of anxious people, who were determined to catch a glimpse of the two finalists Jay Polly and King James, but most especially the guest artiste, American R&B singer Jason Derulo.
It was disheartening for the hundreds, if not thousands, that were turned away to avoid a human catastrophe, yet they were ready to pay any amount to be part of the show. Police, of course, did a massive job to keep overflow at bay.
The show kicked off well, with upcoming singer Bruce Melody using the opportunity as a back-up vocalist in the band, to showcase himself before the huge audience, by performing his hit single “Tubivemo”.
The MC, Lion Imanzi, then smoothly started off by inviting last year’s winner Tom Close to perform.
Last year, while appearing on the same stage, he was pelted with stones, but the “Komeza Utsinde” singer performed a couple of songs before winding up with the message ‘Music is not War’.
After Tom Close, it was time for finalist number one King James to perform. Clad in a black tuxedo, a white linen shirt and black Jeans, King James looked calm and confident, as if he knew already that he would walk away with the grand prize of Rwf24 million.
King James, with the support of the band belted out “Buhoro buhoro”, “Ndakwizera” and “Parapara” amidst a cheering crowd. If he was not sure of what the night would turn out like, the reaction from the crowd gave him assurances.
The R&B singer is arguably one of the most sought after artistes in Rwanda, whose songs have a huge influence on the public. From every line and every verse, the crowd sang along.
Despite King James’s imminent might, the other finalist Jay Polly was not relenting, counting on his chances and depending on his huge fan base for a surprise to see him crowned the winner. Even last year, the two finished head-to-head behind the winner Tom Close.
The rapper hit the stage smartly clad in a khaki suite, flanked by his whole crew of Tuff Gangs, including, Bull Dog, who left the competition earlier, as well as Fireman, among others. Jay Polly performed “Nge Nawe” and “Iwacu”, to the delight of the crowd.
At around 10:43pm, R&B sensation Jason Derulo hit the stage in the typical entry of an international star.
A big entourage of back-up singers, guitar and keyboard players, as well as security aides were the first on stage to lay ground for the star to perform, checking the sound and ensuring that by the time he hits the stage, everything was in order.
The Haitian-American singer was welcomed by a huge applause especially from the youthful female fans, who screamed wildly upon seeing the athletic figure of the singer.
Clad in a black leather jacket, a shiny white T-shirt and black jeans, Jason meant business, together with his onstage DJ firing up the crowd. The billboard star sang some of his popular hits including “Show Me Love”, “Riding Solo”, “Fight for u”, “It Girl” and “Whatcha Say”.
Emotions, nervous energy, tears of joy and excitement ...
“I love Jason Derulo so ...so much,” said Grace Umuhire. “I can’t believe I’m attending his concert. I’m totally excited.”
The “Don’t Wanna Go Home” singer then upped ante, stripping down to a black vest, revealing well-toned biceps, triggering massive animated screams from the mainly female fans, but he was not done yet.
Jason proved that he could as well do more than just singing, pulling rare dance moves on stage only seen in music videos.
The energetic singer/songwriter proved that he has acrobatic skills similar to those of the likes of Chris Brown, at some point throwing his legs in the air, balancing his weight on his arms amid a deafening applause in awe of his dance abilities.
Excitement hit the climax when the singer tore the black vest off to reveal well-toned abs and a body worth envying, as he performed “Dont Wanna Go Home.”
Jason Derulo, who earlier in the press briefing said that it was his first performance in Africa, made it a memorable one. The R&B singer also told of his admiration for Rwanda and Rwandans for their resilience and determination.
“This country has come a long a way in a very short time,” said the 23-year old said. “The story of Rwanda is inspirational.”
Crowning the ‘King’
After Jason Derulo’s mesmerising performance, it was time to crown the winner of the Bralirwa-sponsored competition after three months of a gruelling journey that started with the announcement of the second season back in March.
Tension was high when the country manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers Samuel Kariuki delivered the envelope containing the name of the winner of the coveted competition to the MC Lion Imanzi.
“I’m happy for King James, though I had wished Jay Polly to win because his music is real and sings about terrible things that happen in society,” said Ronald Mudenge.
Chaos hit the climax when the Managing Director of Bralirwa, Jonathan Hall, announced the winner King James.
Loud screams lasting for minutes swept through the massive crowd as the 22-year-old got down on his knees and thanked God.
Jay Polly stealthily vanished off the stagenafter congratulating King James, amidst the excitement that gripped the audience, and he was not seen again.
“I would like to thank all my fans who have been behind me throughout this long journey, I owe you a lot. In God we trust,” King James said after receiving his prize from last year’s winner Tom Close.
The singer said he will dedicate his victory to advancing his music beyond the Rwandan borders and also support charity and development activities.
The singer received a cheque of Rwf6 million, while the rest of the money will be given out in monthly instalments of Rwf500, 000 for a year.
The beer-manufacturers will also offer King James Rwf10 million for his album launch and also pay for his recording – with the total package coming to Rwf24 million.
As curtains fell on PGGSS II, the Bralirwa MD pledged the company’s commitment to the development of the music industry in Rwanda. And the fireworks were the icing on the cake.
The beer makers will announce at a later date whether the competition will enter the third season. The second season was not short on controversies and shortfalls though.
Contact email: linda.mbabazi[at]newtimes.co.rw