Twenty-year-old Kelvin Zalimba was on Sunday night crowned the winner of E Wallet, Malawi’s version of Idols, after his triumph over four other contestants. With the public and judges vote resulting in a tie, it was down to the
contestants—Kelvin, Sigele Akimu, Shanice Tandwe, Eunice Mhango and Jeremiah Chikhwaza to vote for each other.
The night started on a high note with a performance by Dan Lu before the finalists took to the stage to sing for the last time. Shanice dazzled like a superstar with One Step at a Time hit by Jordin Sparks, Sigere settled for Next to You by former American Idols winner while Kelvin went contemporary with Luther Vandross’ Buy Me a Rose.
Eunice settled for Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This while Jeremiah settled for Inconsolable by Backstreet Boys.
A second round of performances saw Shanice teaming up with Sigere for a cover version of the Phil Collins ballad Take a Look at Me while the remaining trio did justice to Michael Buble’s Haven’t Met You Yet
song. The audience, more especially the contestants must have forgotten of the main business of the day as they were consumed in Faith Mussa’s performance until the hosts, Chigo Gondwe Chokani and Robert Kaluwa
announced that there was a tie.
Even with the judges adding their 50 percent vote on top of the 20 percent from the public, there was no clear winner still, and as such, a tie breaking mechanism had to be used. Before that, the three judges revealed their vote, which saw Marvin Hanke settling for Eunice as she is “someone who will not give me
problems in the studio as a producer. I can still feel her music even after closing my eyes.” Rudo Chakwera voted for Shanice having seen her “improving each passing week through comments from the judges, coupled with the fact that she is hardworking. Recording her voice, will give you goose
Dumisani Mfune dropped his bomb by saying “musical aptitude is one of the key attributes I look for in a musician apart from interpretation. We don’t want copycats like what we have in the gospel music scene where most music is copied from South Africa, no disrespect but this is true. That unique voice is Kelvin.”
It was then left in the hands of the contestants to vote for one another and that vote contributed 30 percent of the total outcome. Kelvin was the only one who got two votes while the rest got one each. As events unfolded, things became more real when Eunice, who is the main vocalist at Mizu Band was announced as the second runner-up with Shanice taking second position. Even with the audience on its feet, Kelvin seemed lost as he sat still
in his chair, oblivious to what was going on.
It took the effort of Gondwe Chokani to announce for the second time that the Chilomoni-based youngster had won. At that moment, Kelvin buried his head on his laps before sitting up, with his face covered with his hands. Still in a state of shook, stood up and pranced around the stage as the MC announced that he should give a winning performance. For the first time in five minutes, the young man gave a smile as he grabbed the microphone to once again sing Buy Me a Rose.
In an effort to reach out to his fans, he moved from the stage to the audience, but the song did not go past the second verse as he turned emotional while hugging his brother. He was then mobbed by friends and fans until he was whisked back to the stage to get keys for the K3 million Nissan Tiida prize. In an interview, Kelvin who was still shaking his head in disbelief, said: “Words fail me to express the joy inside of me. I am ecstatic to
have won, it’s a dream come true even though I doubts.”