By Ayo Onikoyi
The first broadcast of the new MTN Y’ello Star project gave us seven contestants who got a “YES” and made it to the house, seven more contestants secured spots to the Y’ello Star Hub last Saturday after impressive performances during the national sing-off. Contrary to the initially announced 13 spots in the Y’ello Star Hub, the judging trio of Omawumi, Banky W, and Olisa Adibua made a surprise selection bringing the number of finalists to 14.
Rakel and Innocent were the first pair to grace the stage for Saturday’s sing-off to secure a spot in the Y’ello Star hub. They performed a blend of popular Nigerian songs. Afterwards, the duo of Caesar and Rael took to the stage and impressed guest judge Olisa Adibua who rated their performance highly.
The pair of Gideon and IBK was applauded by Banky W for their synergy in delivering their song mashup. Before carrying on with other performances, the judges had a little chit chat about music distribution, sharing opinions about what drives virality. They reached a consensus that all music distribution channels play a role, from radio, visuals and social media.
After three more pairs of contestants performed for the night, all 12 contestants were invited individually to the stage for a final verdict. The MTN Y’ello Star team has added some colour to how final verdict are passed, designing different doors which light up based on the judges’ decision.
David, Rael, Caesar, Uzezi, Fay Fay and Gideon all received a nod and walked through the ‘Yes’ door. A highlight of Saturday’s show featured the judges using their veto power to select a 14th contestant, Jesse Drumz, the visually impaired singer who had wowed everyone right from his audition days.
Sunday’s opening gala kicked off with a performance by the 14 contestants who performed the Y’ello star theme song, after which the hosts, Tobi Bakre and Hilda Baci officially welcomed everyone to the Y’ello Star Hub. Each of the judges also highlighted the opportunity to groom the next generation of Nigeria’s music stars, with Banky W saying “For me, it’s the education in the Berklee College of Music and the Henley Business School. The show is really about empowering the entirety of the artist experience, it’s called show business for a reason and MTN Y’ello Star is taking care of both sides.”
Each of the contestants performed a song of their choice and were scored. The highest for the night was nine and the lowest, three. David Willz who performed Ed Sheeran’s, ‘Beautiful People’ scored the lowest, while David Garland who performed ‘Uptown Girl’ by Bruno Mars impressed Omawumi enough to get a 9, as did FayFay who performed ‘Memories’ by Maroon 5. All the contestants will be looking to improve on their performances as they keep their eyes on the ultimate prize.
MTN Y’ello Star is one of the initiatives to support the economic recovery drive by investing in the nation’s youth. The music reality show airs every weekend on various stations across the country.