Just who are the Presenter finalists?


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By Matilda Nzioki

The three remaining Presenter Show contestants might have purely entered Reality Show by accident but one will be happy to land a job as the live final episode is aired on Sunday.

The controversial 24-year-old Koome Gitobu had no plans to audition for the show. He had escorted his pal to audition but the dude left the queue to attend to a call. And as fate would have it his name was called and Koome was the one holding his number.

Koome, therefore, auditioned and is now still is running for the grand prize. For his pal who was attending to a call all is history. “Every time I made it past an eviction, it sunk in that I could actually do this, and look at where I am now,” he says.

And Koome is not alone, 23-year-old James Karani on the other hand — fully dressed in a suit — showed up for the auditions, thinking it was a one-day affair like any other job interview. He was shocked when he found out that qualifying at the auditions meant getting into reality show. “I had never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be in a reality TV show, especially after watching the ones from abroad,” he says.

His desire to join the media drove him tojoin the show.

As for the youngest and only female finalist, 20-year-old Edith Kimani, it took a lot of convincing from her sister to turn up for the auditions. “I thought I was too young plus I have braces — it’s not a normal TV look!” Now she does not regret her change of heart. “As long as you have the talent, brains, discipline and drive, nothing should stop you,” she says.

The final show is set to air live this Sunday at 8pm and the contestants are counting on the viewers’ SMS votes to 8040 to give them the chance to be the next big thing in your leading station, KTN.

In the meantime, it’s only fair we know something about them:

James Karani

I did not know that I had a passion for journalism. As a young boy, I loved explaining things to my friends. I used to stand before guys and relay any information needed, I loved researching and watching CNN! I always knew things like names of countries, capital cities. My first stint in the media industry was when I auditioned for the 2007 VJ search and became a finalist.

I have an interest in business. In fact, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics at Kenyatta University. I would have gone for a journalism course but I had qualified for a cheap degree course in a public university. So I was glad when this opportunity came my way since public universities don’t offer a degree course in Journalism for Module 1 students.

Bloggers should stop criticising The Presenter show. First, reality TV in Kenya is still at its formative stages, and second, we are the same people who ask to have our own shows instead of watching those from abroad. We should stop shooting it down, and instead give ideas to make it better. Finally, it is a grand idea by KTN, because it is the first reality show in Kenya giving professionals a chance to get employed at a leading company!

My chances of winning are 33.33 per cent, simply because the finalists are all super-talented in their own way! But no one gets into a competition to lose. I have given it my best, and no matter what happens on Sunday I know I have a bright future, thanks to The Presenter.

The next time I see participants of a Reality TV show, I will give them the respect they deserve, because I have been there and I will not take it for granted. It is hard to try and pull through tasks, at the same time the other contestants are putting you down because all your eyes are fixed on the same prize. And all this time the whole country is watching, so you have to be on your best behaviour. Oh, it’s crazy! I don’t think someone would go through it willingly for a second time.

I am not as serious as I appear on TV. It’s just that I went to the auditions expecting to do an interview, and it’s only normal that you will be formally dressed. If I win, I would prefer to handle hard news and business, and I have never seen the anchors dressed in T-shirts and sneakers. I was just playing safe when I kept my cool during the show, to avoid controversy.

Edith Kimani

I am an International Relations student at USIU and I think the course is in line with journalism, since it teaches one a lot about current affairs. I plan study journalism later. I love performing arts so I think if you can do it on stage, you can probably do it in front of the camera.

With regard to other contestants, Isabella (Izzy) and I got along well. I was shocked to find out that she bad-mouthed me off camera. Cindy and Sidney are extremely talented. I also found it hard to forget that we were in a competition, with the friends I had made during the show.

I have come to learn that broadcasting is not about standing in front of the camera and looking good. You need to do your homework, and a lot of it!

Koome and I have been close friends for almost a decade. If he wins, it will be bittersweet feeling for me. He is my friend and I want the best for him, but then again, I have gone through so much last month. I recently lost my dad so winning would be the beginning of healing, because at least I will be reminded that good things still happen. I dedicate the last show to him. If Koome wins, he would owe me shoes, a bag, and dinner and…just kidding.

I had several highlights during the show. My best is the task whereby we went to the KTN anchoring studio. I sat there and for the first time, felt that this is where I belong professionally! Apart from that, the rides from Utalii Hotel to the studio were fun. I can’t also forget the first day Ayimba threatened to kick me out! As if she had the power. Ha ha ha! Oh, also gate crushing people, wedding receptions at Utalii Hotel and chilled on the hotel’s roof counting cars in traffic was great! Yeah right, there was nothing else to do!

Koome Gitobu

I am not arrogant. Being confident and sure of yourself does not mean you are arrogant. When other people feel under pressure and are tripping on themselves and walking on egg shells while around each other, but you are relaxed, that is not arrogance. When you crammed your piece a long time ago and you are basking as others are getting stressed trying to catch up with you, that is not arrogance. I’m an easy person, just that I can’t please everyone.

Izzy and Ayimba were the hardest contestants to deal with. On the very first day, Ayimba was made task manager and she said “I did not choose you people to be in my team because there was no one else left, I just want a job done!” How do you start off by offending people? She also could not differentiate between professional and personal. Izzy complained about small things and she could not take criticism positively. We liked her as a person, but not as a professional. She thought if you didn’t support her ideas in the field, then you were against her, which caused two camps in the show: ‘pro-Izzy’ and ‘anti-Izzy.’

Me, I’m just easy!

I appreciate The Presenter because I have learnt to use and operate a camera. It is one thing to watch something on TV, and it is another when you are actually the one who has shot what is airing. Oh, such a great feeling!

Just like Edith and Karani, I think my chances of winning are one out of three. Each of us is well versed with different things.

It was also a nice gesture by KTN, as it was like any other job interview where you have to think on your feet, only that this time you get training and mentorship by big names in the industry like Njoroge Mwaura, Linus Kaikai, and even Lilian Muli. I’m also grateful to the lasting friendships I made, especially if we all end up in the media world or in related fields.

I was once an events organiser. After high school, I worked with Insyder. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Kenyatta University. I love performing Arts and would love to venture into the arts and entertainment world in the media, and bring a new approach to it, because I have the heart for journalism. My role models are Trevor Nelson internationally, and Eve De Souza locally.

Oh! Imagine I don’t know how to rock suits! I actually have only one pair of trousers, and it is jeans. The rest are shorts. (Pulse: Yeah, we remember when the stylist had a hard time dressing you because they just couldn’t find anything official in your closet!)

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