THE biggest reality show running right now is the Nigerian Idol which has entered the
‘make or mar stage. Now that the eventual top 12 have been selected, the die is now cast for a journey that may decide the next Nigerian superstar of the mic.
The top 12 who made it through the boot camp will be officially unveiled on Saturday, April 19th but just before the excitement really starts, here are the feelings of the three judges, Dede Mabiaku, Darey Art Alade and Nneka Egbuna on the top 12 who have made it and those who have had to go home because their luck could not hold.
I am not satisfied with the viewers’ votes —Nneka Egbuna
HOW were you picked to be a judge on the show?
I was approached through a friend that was supposed to handle my public relations and that was it.
Were you working on any project when you were approached to join the show?
I’m a singer and songwriter. They probably thought that it was going to be good to have an international artiste who is Nigerian on board. I also think it’s a way to give back to the country by supporting these talents.
Are you satisfied with the viewers’ votes?
Frankly speaking, I’m not. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with talents any more. It’s almost as if it’s based on connection. The more connected you are, the more votes you get. I think with time, things will change.
If you were opportuned to change anything about the show, what would that be?
I’ll make it more African – It’s called Nigerian Idol, but it’s very American based. So, I would bring in more African vibes, make it more Nigerian, traditional, cultural and colourful. There should be more traditional music, though, I think that’s coming up. Personally, I will invest more time in the contestants. The coaches and judges should invest more time in the contestants,encouraging and supporting them. I’m happy about the live band music that is coming up. I just want it to be more real.
Based on your experience on this show, how do you see the future of the Nigerian youths?
I think some of them are very good and courageous. They have a lot of talents that need to be nurtured in the right way. There should be more institutions investing in the youths, creating platforms for them to be creative. Our job on earth is to be creative and if that is blocked, it becomes a distraction. Distraction leads to stagnation. So we need to stop standing in our own way by not being creative.
I try not to have favourites — Dare Art Alade
ARE you satisfied with the Nigerian audience voting system?
I can’t do anything about it, whether I’m satisfied or not. My opinion about it has no bearing whatsoever on the outcome. We’ve done our own part which is to separate the chaff from the wheat. The audience are the real judges now, they determine who drops and who stays.
If you had the power to change anything about the show, what would that be?
With everything, there is always room for improvement. The organisers are doing the best that they can.
Any challenges with the contestants and co-judges?
We are one big happy family, though we have different opinions, but we disagree to agree.
How do you feel when your favourite act is dropped?
I try not to have favourites, that way, I don’t get heartbroken. You can’t get heartbroken if you don’t fall in love. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have some form of attachment with some of them, but I try to keep the distance so I don’t get too involved. That way, I don’t miss them too much. It’s always sad to see them go, but it’s not the end of the world. I never won the reality show that I participated in. I was a finalist, but where is the winner, today? So, when these contestants are evicted along the line, they should just count their blessings and use the experience they’ve gained on the show in the outside world.
You recently lashed out at a contestant, don’t you think you reacted harshly?
Did you expect me to say, “That was good performance, you can do better next time”. I’m here to tell them the truth and the truth is bitter. Sometimes, one needs to be harsh in order to help them. You are not being harsh because you want to bring them down. If you are too nice to them, they tend to think they are the best and that will ultimately lead to their downfall. The contestant had a terrible performance and it’s also annoying because you know that person can do better. So you begin to wonder what happened to the person’s talent, knowing fully well that the person has just two or three minutes to make an impression.
Some lost out because the pressure got to them — Dede Mabiaku
WHAT’s your experience so far on Nigerian Idol?
It’s been quite amazing and interesting. I’m impressed to see the level of talents we have. During the elimination stages, it became very difficult for us, because many of them were very good. It hurts me that most of them, due to the pressure they were going through could not really express themselves. A few of them lost out because the pressure got to them, though it could happen to anybody. So far, it’s been a great experience. Lots of interesting scenarios, interesting people and interesting deliveries. I love the one family experience in the production crew.
How’s your relationship with your co-judges?
For the first time in the history of Nigerian Reality TV Talent Show, we have three seasoned performers as judges. The three of us, interestingly have our different views about things. Nneka might come up with her subtlety and want to be Mother Theresa; Dare might come with his basic get-down-on-it attitude of the modern trend and I might come with my own view of wanting it to be strictly professional. At the end, we have three people who are trying to help these children nurture themselves the right way. I would say the contestants are very lucky to have us rub off on them. It’s obvious that we (the three of us) care about ourselves. I have known Dare since he was a kid, he’s someone I have taken care of in the past, so working with him is interesting. It’s a blessing to have two people who are like blood relatives, share the same table with me and I’m impressed with what they have to offer to the world. It’s a table of three judges who have mutual respect, love and understanding for one another.
The three of you are very opinionated, is that responsible for your attitude towards the votes?
When we listen and discuss with these young ones. We expect that what they deliver should be of essence to us. When they deliver well, we express what we feel about it. If at the end of the day, we now receive from the audience what they give to us. To me, it’s like a slap on the face. We heard the same thing the viewing audience heard at home and they now come to say it’s the one that is not good that has been chosen. It hurts because they’ve just killed the dream of someone who should have had the opportunity, based on the quality of what the person has delivered. People should vote for these children based on quality delivery.