For many young Nigerians, reality TV is a goldmine. A proven strategy to fame irrespective of cultural background and affiliation, it gives citizens the opportunity to showcase their talents to a global audience and opens them to a world of fortune.
#FeatureByNigerianIdol – This is why when upcoming Nigerian singers get the opportunity to be on a music talent show, they “sing like their lives depend on it”, Gerald Ifechi, one of the Nigerian Idol season 7 top 12 contestants, said in a recent interview.
The effort many people put in to be on live broadcast programmes is understandable when one examines the transformative power of reality TV in the lives of ordinary Nigerians. Gerald said, “they’ve made many superstars and changed lives.”
A typical instance of the benefit of music talent shows is how Nigerian Idol, one of Nigeria’s biggest reality TV shows, improved the lives of 12 musicians. Gerald, Abigail, Jordan, Itohan, Banty, David Operah, Zadok, Faith, Progress, Debby, Precious, and Joel had their lives transformed in just ten weeks.
The platform, created to help incredible singers, organised renowned voice coaches like South Africa Coach to the Stars Founder Malie Kelly, to help the singers improve their singing.
“I have not had a voice coach before Nigerian Idol. The voice training the coaches offered at the show was really good. It helped me realise my strengths and weaknesses.” Abigail Okara, a vocalist from Bayelsa state, and one of the Nigerian Idol Top 12 contestants said.
Beyond helping young singers improve their voice, the platform also catapulted them to fame. “The exposure was massive. I had about 3000 followers on Instagram before I got on Nigerian Idol but now I have about 13,000 followers,” said Gerald.
Precious Oki, who had been singing since the age of 16, and made it to the top 12 of the reality TV singing platform shared similar sentiments. “Nigerian Idol has brought me very far and made me get more people that would listen to my sound. When I started the competition I had 600 followers. I have over 8,000 followers now.” Revealing that the platform further helps musicians be more confident singers and gives room for socialisation, she added: “It helped me make friends, make good memories, and notice human nature. I noticed everyone was different in their own way.”
Abigail Okara on her part said: “Nigerian Idol brought out the boldness in me. I’ve never been the bold girl that would stand up in front of many people to sing. I usually prefer to perform in my own space but Nigerian Idol helped me to be confident and show myself to the world.
Through Nigerian Idol, musicians who had been on the show are further flooded with career-making opportunities. “I currently get messages for collaborations from artistes and the press constantly invite me for interviews,” Gerald revealed.
Other Nigerian Idol stars’ lives have incredibly improved via the platform. They’ve earned large fan bases, made more friends, and learned new singing techniques. Itohan Agbator, a musician who can sing and play the keyboard and Esther Banty Temiwum, a soulful singer who has been singing since she was 8-years-old, would attest to this. Others like David Operah, who has been performing at events for years, Faith Afiemo, who has been singing since 2016, and Debby Felix, who constantly performs music on social media, have also experienced an improvement in their music careers since getting on the show.
The top two stars of the show have perhaps had the most life-changing moments this season. Zadok Aghalengbe – entertainer, businessman, and first runner-up of Nigerian Idol season 7 has gained a massive fanbase across Africa. His performances have been shared far and wide, with legendary singers Michael Bolton and Timi Dakolo sharing his cover of their songs on the show. Despite not winning, Zadok is light years away from where he was at the show’s start, with over 53,000 followers on Instagram and a ‘Crowd Controller’ ranking by Plaqad’s Social Cred. He also won an EP recording paid for MultiChoice and one music video shoot.
On the other hand, 21-year-old Progress, who had his life completely turned around when IK announced him as the winner of Nigerian Idol season 7 on Sunday, May 22, has probably had the most changes. He walked away from the competition with a cash prize of ₦30 million, a brand new SUV, a Bigi branded refrigerator and a year’s supply of Bigi drinks. He will also get to record an EP and six music videos, a weekend getaway from TravelBeta, and a DStv Explora fully installed with a 12 months premium subscription. That’s without adding his brand new massive fanbase of over 76,000 Instagram followers and bragging rights.
In the words of Progress, and a sentiment shared by many of the other contestants this season, “So definitely from here, I’m making music – great music. I’m going to express myself in the best way that I can.”
Nigerian Idol Season 7 premiered Sunday, 6 February with the weekly shows covering the auditions leading to theatre week before the live shows started in March. The show was sponsored by Bigi Drinks and Binance.
Visit www.africamagic.tv/nigerianidol for more news, scoops and backstories on the season. You can also follow the official Nigerian Idol social media pages with the hashtag #NigerianIdol on Twitter @nigerianidol, Instagram @nigerianidol and Facebook at www.facebook.com/nigidol.