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UMA awards finalists selected



Ultimate FM station Director Mabatho Lithebe
Ultimate FM station Director Mabatho Lithebe

Mohalenyane Phakela

FINALISTS of this year’s Ultimate Music Awards (UMAs) were announced on Friday in Maseru, with the winners set to be announced on 19 November this year.

The awards were divided into 13 categories namely Kwaito, Afro Pop, Urban Contemporary, Hip Hop, Best Compilation, Gospel, Famo, Dance Album, Best Music Video, Best Newcomer, best Producer, Best International Breakthrough and Song of the Year.

Each finalist was presented with an SMS code through which the general public can vote for them.

Voting lines open tomorrow and close a week before the winners are announced on November 19 at Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.

The finalists were chosen by a panel of external judges drawn from different local print and broadcast media houses.

Ultimate FM station director Mabatho Lithebe said they had decided on external judges to avoid a repeat of accusations of bias the station received from artistes. Artistes claimed winners of the past two editions had been decided based on favouritism.

“The name of the radio station as well as mine was dragged through the mud by artistes who accused us of allowing our presenters to select their favourite artistes. The truth is the winners were decided on the basis of the number of votes an artiste received,” she said.

“We have selected people from different media houses who deal with local music on a regular basis who collectively selected those they thought were the best.

Lithebe added: “We did this because we want the general public to see that Ultimate FM staff have nothing to do with the nominations and did not influence any decision that was made by the panel.

“Again, we wanted to show everybody that these awards do not belong to Ultimate FM but are a national project.”

She also said winners should value the awards and use them as stepping stones to greater achievements.

“It is through initiatives of this nature that an artiste’s popularity and resume grows internationally.

“Congratulations to those who made it to the nominations list and to those who failed I urge them to start preparing for next year so they will come back more competitive,” she said.

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