Nigerian Idol

The curtain was finally drawn last Sunday 11th July on Nigeria Idol as Kingdom Kroseide emerged as the season 6 winner after several weeks and months of intense fireworks from 3000 hopefuls across the country.

A few months ago, after a five-year hiatus, organizers of the foremost music reality show, Multichoice Nigeria, had announced that the show was making a return this year, with lots of associated fun and entertainment for viewers and audiences.

With on-air personality, Ik Osakioduwa, as host, and Obi Asika, Seyi Shay and DJ Sose as judges, the show was enriched with breathtaking performances by the contestants, and enjoyed in the UK, France, Italy and 23 other countries through the online streaming network, Showmax.

On 9 May 2021, there was a live show, which featured the 11 contestants that made it to the finals. Public voting by fans has since been going on. It will be on for 10 weeks to allow for the eviction of contestants.

But now that this year’s edition has been done and dusted, there are concerns about the continuity of the show after this season considering that the show could not go on for five years.   

The general notion is that after the conclusion of the season 5 in 2016, the show was put on hold for reasons other than administrative and technical that the organizers may want the people to believe.  There is a precedence as Idols West Africa, another franchise which later birthed the Nigerian idol, was also marred by controversy when it debuted in 2007.

Back then, the Idols West Africa held Nigerians and other Africans spellbound during the entire duration of the music show as fans and the audiences were treated to scintillating renditions by upcoming stars. Sadly, however, after its debut, the show failed to afford prospective participants another opportunity to exhibit their music talents and potentials because its second edition never saw the light of the day, even till this moment. Despite producing a winner, Idols West Africa failed to live up to its rating and ended up in a controversy that has refused to go away fourteen years after. The Idol, fast rising gospel and inspirational songster, Timi Dakolo, who got away with the star prize of an international recording deal with a multinational music group, Sony BMG, never had the opportunity of recording and releasing his new album as promised. 

The entertainment editor with The Nation newspaper, Victor Akande, feels the problem of inconsistency witnessed in reality shows is quite multifaceted.

He said:”the problem of inconsistency and discontinuity of our reality shows is indeed bigger than what we think. I was there in 2007 at the announcement of Timi Dakolo as the winner of the Idol West Africa Season 1. So, I can easily relate well with what happened during and after the show. The young man was promised an international recording deal and other mouth watery prizes but unfortunately, he never nothing. What we gathered from the grapevine is that the show was not particularly staged with the intention to discover a singer to help launch his career, as in other Idols around the world, but to make money from messages sent during voting by viewers.

We learnt that the firm tasked with the authentication of the votes, Alexander Forbes, never released final results in each of the stages, but just percentiles, without the grand total. This is quite unacceptable when one considers the fact that for the American Idols for instance, the actual votes cast were announced and not the percentiles. No doubt, this tells a lot about the lack of transparency and openness in the entire process which is bound to erode confidence and faith in such career building shows.”

Akande noted that the fact that there was a prolonged delay in the announcement of the winner also revealed that all was not well, as the show was just going to be a one-off thing.  He therefore concluded that with good intention, culture of transparency and commitment by the organizers and sponsors, most TV reality could run for many years uninterrupted thereby sustaining the achievements made in enhancing the careers of music talents in particular and the entertainment industry in general.

Like Idols West Africa, other reality TV shows, including Project Fame have also walked the path of obscurity after just few captivating editions that produced rising stars. Sponsored by telecommunications giant, MTN, Project Fame took the streets and most homes by storm as viewers were glued to their TV screens at the various stages of the competition. After its debut in 2008, the reality show however came to an unexpected end in 2016, after nine editions and producing music stars that included Iyanya. Although there is a consensus that the telco may have successfully replaced Project Fame with the new Yello Stars, it’s worth mentioning that the five-year break was said to be actually caused primarily by franchising issues as the music talent show was believed to have been conceived by MTN from South Africa based on the Spanish Star Academy.  Despite witnessing huge viewership, other reality shows, including Glo’s Naija sings and X Factor, Airtel’s The Voice Nigeria and Nigerian Breweries’ Star Quest at various times, were also rested, albeit, temporarily. And so, for music reality shows in Nigeria, the culture of inconsistency may not be over yet for as long as the factors responsible for it are not adequately addressed by the organisers  stakeholders.  

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