BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
The Voice Nigeria has recently concluded its second season, and unlike its maiden edition that had Nigerians ‘carrying shoulders up’ and dissing its counterpart MTN Project Fame West Africa for being below par, the just-concluded edition has had people craving its counterpart and hissing to the heavens.
From its blind auditions, it appeared the selections were not tactically done, or perhaps not many skilled singers turned up. We had coaches (Timi, Waje, Yemi and Patoranking) turning for people just because they growled, and I remember saying how the show could have been named The Scream for how many times the singers screamed. As the show proceeded to its battle rounds, it got better, and the skeptic adjusted in his seat, convinced that he had judged too quickly.
Then the live shows began and the skeptic was tossed back into misery, shouting “Warrisdis?” all around his living room. The performances got worse as they advanced, with strong contenders getting the boot week after week. By the time they were eight, the skeptic had resigned. It was hopeless. The only consolation would be if a certain big lady or another slim lady went home with the trophy. Even then, the skeptic would still continually wallow in his disappointment at how the season panned out.
But to his shock, the two ladies were booted out yet again, leaving a crop of singers with dwindling performances all season long in the final four: Wow, Syemca, Ebube and Idyl, who became the eventual winner. That Ebube made it to the final two was perhaps the biggest shock of the entire season, and not in a good way. In the most recent season of The Voice USA, while Chris Blue (who finally won) narrowly made it on the show, he did, not because his skill was in question (as a matter of fact, the judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani wanted him so badly for themselves), but because three out of four judges had had full teams already. He went on to dazzle in each of his performances, eliciting winning predictions from virtually all the judges and viewers alike, and finally finishing in first place on Team Alicia. In Ebube and, I dare say, Idyl’s cases, however, their performances were never spectacular (the finale performances are proof enough) and they both never earned a save from their coaches, except one lucky save Ebube got from Patoranking on a whim (it has to be a whim because there is no way to justify choosing an Ebube over a Yimika, Afolayan or HighTee.)
What The Voice Nigeria Season 2 has successfully shown us the power of campaigns, and not necessarily the power of skill. In Nigerian reality shows, two things that have consistently been attributed to winners are how likeable or how talented they are. In Big Brother Naija’s case, Efe won because the audience liked him, not because he had skill. If there was any doubt, his singles since his return from the show have proven this. But likability is still fair, as compared to campaign. Campaign ignores every other factor and then attributes its eventual success to ‘grace’ which is in fact innocent. And while campaign isn’t so bad on its own for shows that require it, it makes one wonder what the point of the show is then, or why we should even be bothered.
Idyl Daniel Diongoli has emerged the winner of this season, following in Season 1 winner, Arese Emokpae’s footsteps. It has been difficult to find what being on The Voice Nigeria does to musical careers of its participants, considering that a good number of last year’s finalists are now into movies and TV shows. However, we can only hope that this season’s finalists, especially outstanding singers like Precious and Jahtell, would go on to make musical statements in the near future.