Kagwe Mungai on the decks on Maisha Superstar.

The Maisha Superstar stage on fire as competition among contestants intensifies.

This past Monday (and every Monday at 20:00), six young rookie talents took to the Maisha Superstar stage for the very first time (Maisha Magic, DStv channel 161), and blew away fans and industry insiders with confident, charismatic performances whilst their celebrity mentors cheered them on.

Produced for M-Net East Africa by Endemol Kenya, the show is set to deliver weeks of great music entertainment if the first show was anything to go by, as the contestants compete for prize money of Sh1.2 million and a recording contract.

Stylish in dazzling silver and grey, host Amina Abdi, a natural in front of the cameras, kicked off the show (episode five of 13) by introducing the week’s esteemed judging panel. The panel comprised industry experts - outstanding media personality Edward Kwach, loved hip-hop reggae dance-hall performer Nazizi, hit-making music producer Kevin Provoke, unforgettable P-Unit star Frasha,respected Grandpa Records founder/producer RefigahGhafla Kenya website legend Majani and Capital FM radio super-producer Joe Muchiri. 

Standing centre-stage on a sensational new studio set, Amina also introduced the show’s live band including the talent that is Chris Adwar; resident DJ and assistant series music producer Kagwe Mungai; as well as the series music director Eric Wainaina. Then it was the big moment and the contestants got their chance in the spotlight!

First up was Uganda’s Richy Kaweesa, mentored by Mwooyo star Maurice Kirya. With his smooth voice and baby faced charm, Richy set hearts aflutter as he took on the Bruno Mars hit Billionaire. After he finished, he waited on stage because, thanks to the wonders of technology, the studio audience and the expert panel cast their vote there and then! Within minutes of his performance, Richy knew his fate – he had scored 69 for his efforts.

Next up, Damian Soul from Tanzania, who is mentored by massive Bongo Flava/hip hop supremo AY, took on Asa's hit Jailer. Damian’s stirring rendition had the crowd moving as he commanded their attention but once the votes were counted, his score of 69 tied him with Richy as they both received criticism and praise from the judges in equal measure.

Standing tall behind a single microphone and draped in a shimmering gold gown, Tanzania’s Myra was next, mentored by Wakalisha star turned solo diva Shaa. Performing the soulful Flaws and All by Beyonce, Myra owned the stage as her beautiful voice poured out over the audience. The judges and studio audience quickly rewarded her efforts by giving her a score of 86.

Following her on stage, was Kenya’s Phy mentored by Kichinjio and Leta chart-topper Rabbit King Kaka! Sitting at the microphone, playing her own guitar, styled in simple black and gold, she took a daring decision and performed her own composition, Taabu. The gamble paid off for Phy as the entranced studio audience and judges gave her 94 for the lyrical, melodic ballad which showed off her writing and vocal skills.

Next up was Kenya’s Fil-ah, mentored by pop megastar Nameless. Suave in a black suit, taking on the up-tempo hit Sura Yako by Sauti Sol, Fil-ah belted out the lyrics and jived his way across the stage and straight to the fans who were only too happy to dance with him.  But when the scores came in, Fil-ah had scored just 65, the lowest score of the night, which seemed to really motivate him and mentor Nameless…so watch out for them in the future.

Rounding off the night was Uganda’s SpiritSoul, mentored by Afrobeat king Jose Chameleone. Performing the vocally challenging hit Someone Like You by Adele, SpiritSoul literally brought the house down as her powerful voice and dynamic stage presence truly wowed the judges and won her the top score of the night, a breath-taking 96!

Now as the rookies work toward their next Maisha Superstar appearance, fans are buzzing about them on social media, thanks to the inclusion of the StarMeter tool into the show.

The unique StarMeter tracks the social media commentary that each of the contestants are generating, and then based on their influence online gives each a weekly score. That weekly score can then be used to persuade the voting judges and studio audience to consider the talent of each contestant more carefully because if a rookie has a high StarMeter score then one thing is certain – they have a big fan base. And given that stars are only as good as their fans…it means that StarMeter is a very, very influential tool for the rookies. So remember to hashtag your favourite star to get your thoughts and opinions about the show counted by the StarMeter!

Meanwhile, ensuring that fans can get their hands on the weekly contestants performances, waabeh.com will be offering all the music as downloads. Simply sign up to waabeh.com, top up your account with either Mpesa/Orange or a Credit Card, and buy your track! What could be simpler?

So with the Maisha Superstar rookies now well and truly on the road to fame, you too can join the conversation online. You can tweet @MaishaSuperStar plus visit Maisha SuperStar on InstagramFacebook and YouTube!

Tune in every Monday at 20:00 on Maisha Magic DStv Channel 161. Maisha Superstar episodes will be re-screened on Maisha Magic every Sunday at noon EAT and on Maisha Magic Swahili (DStv channel 158) every Tuesday at 15:00 EAT.