Thirty-two-year-old worship leader Mercy Akoth Opande was the winner of the inaugural I Can Sing talent search show that aired on KTN.
Mercy emerged the best in the crowded field of singers, taking home the crown, a Sh1 million cash prize as well as getting a recording deal.
As the judges made their decision known, the auditorium went silent. The five singing finalists had given it their all, hitting all the right notes in their three-month journey to the finals.
And here, after three months of persistence, destiny awaited the ultimate winner; a Sh1 million prize prize money and a recording deal at stake. The judges had made their verdict and with the results having been verified by an audit firm, in another second, the drums were rolling.
The winner was announced by Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu.
Mercy, a Sunday School teacher shed tears having overcome initial doubts by many who underestimated her talent and saw her as just another worship leader.
Her final performance was an own composition, Prophet, that captivated the audience, holding them in a trance as she belted out note after note, submitting her all to the Almighty, who she credited for the win.
“I owe it all to God and the people who voted for me.
The best way to show them that their votes were worth it is by going to the studio and giving them music,” she said.
Before the magnitude of the win sunk in, the stage was turned into a mosaic of colour and light as the fireworks announced the arrival of Kenya’s newest music star.
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The finale was broadcast live on KTN Home. Her family members, among them her elder sister Caroline Opande, wept with her.
“I never saw this coming. I had even given up on the competition as the judges were so hard on me. I come from Nakuru. Who knows me?,” the former untrained school teacher who now serves as a Sunday School teacher at Jubilee Christian Church, Nakuru told the Sunday Standard as she slowly came to terms with her win.
The Friday evening grand finale had been a spectacle and it was a top trending topic on social media hours before the defining moment.
With thousands having lost their voices, so to speak, along the way, the final moment belonged to Mercy and Dennis Baraza, 21, who rejected his admission to campus to pursue his music dream, Amani Mbui, a 23-year-old who is training at Sauti Academy, the petite and vocally-endowed Soila Purity who is a student at Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) and Eddie Seymour, an upcoming singer.
They didn’t disappoint. Supported by a live band and back ground vocalists, the five took to the stage, one after the other, their voices filling the room as they belted renditions of local and international songs.
The audience egged them on, cheering them towards victory and eventually, the winner was voted for on account of vocal prowess as well as overall talent. Mercy dedicated her win to the children she teaches in Sunday School. “I have a reason to tell them they can make it,” she said.
Mr Lyomu congratulated participants in the I Can Sing Season 1 and pledged the company’s support in talent development.
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“All of you have made it through this. Today, we have witnessed dazzling performances.
“We have seen talent expressed and I believe without such a platform, such talent would have been wasted. That is why KTN Home is here for you having brought you great shows such as The Presenter,” he said.
Managing Director, Broadcast, Joe Munene thanked Mamu Travels and Safaris, Voyager Beach Resort, Tamarind Hotel and other partners for making the competition a success.