E-RAVE SPECIAL REVIEW: REALITY SHOWS IN NIGERIA, STILL PLAYING TO THE GALLERY?
By Seun Apara (www.eraveng.com)
There has been controversy over the extent to which reality television truly reflects reality. In many cases the entire premise of the show is a contrived one, based around a competition or another unusual situation. However, various shows have additionally been accused of using fakery in order to create more compelling television, such as having premeditated storylines and in some cases feeding participants lines of dialogue, focusing only on participants’ most outlandish behavior, and altering events through editing and re-shoots.
There are so many reality shows in Nigeria at the moment but this article will major only on music and movie reality shows aimed at discovering the next big thing in their industry. The likes of Gulder Ultimate Search, Maltina Dance Hall, Big Brother and the likes will be looked into in another article.
Star Quest- JUST A COMMERCIAL GIMMICK
Star Quest is a musical talent hunt and the contestants are drawn at random into various bands. Basically, one can describe Star Quest as just a commercial gimmick.
Makers of Star are carving a niche for themselves in the promotion of music and throwing in some entertainment to boot. Why does their website require visitors to be over 18? It literary means the competition are open for those who can consume the alcoholic brand, Star and you have to be above 18 years old to participate. What happens to the abundance talents below the age of 18 who are not officially aged enough to start consuming alcohol?
One of the side effects of the show is how the end products of the competition are being handled. Nigerian Breweries, makers of Star try to sign up the winners with seasoned record labels to help nurture the inexperienced winners to stardom. The labels, we can say are however not discerning enough to understand that the management and marketing of an artiste is different from that of a band. Their failures also contributed to failures of the winners and the bands breaking up due to lack of direction and frustration. The best thing that ever happened to Star Quest was KC Presh because they were able to hold their own in the industry before their eventual break up.
Star Quest is strictly for people that are musically talented to display or market their talents. They should however be commended for trying to promote live music not the lips synching we have now a days.
Project Fame- WHEN THE WINNING PRIZE TURNS OUT TO BE A DISTRACTION
In the last five years, MTN Project Fame has recorded considerable success with the talent hunt competition. The show is dubbed West African but only Nigerians have consistently won the competition. The West- African is more or less a marketing gimmick by MTN to propagate its brand message across the West African countries.
The organizers of the competition have however improved considerably in the staging of the event. In Project Fame, the winning prize turns out to be a distraction to the actual purpose the show was initiated, the reason why they end up having more winners than artistes. The fact that one can sing or has a good voice would not make the person a good artiste. Passion is a heavier force than mere ability.
Today, two of their alumni, Iyanya and Chindinma are doing very great in the very competitive music industry winning fans in droves. Aside the platform, Project Fame cannot however lay claim to Iyanya’s recent musical success as the artiste toiled for over three years before luck finally smile on him. But for Chidinma and other winners, the organisers looked beyond winning the competition and thought clearly of proper artiste management. This actually gave Chindinma a great opportunity to work on her acts. Other past winners such as Mike Anyasodo (season 2), Monica Ogah (season 4) and Ayoola (the last winner) are still trying to find their feet.
The reality has dawned on them and they have realized that there is so much more to be a musical powerhouse than just copying established acts and singing their songs. Now, they need to write their songs, work with a good producer, get a publicist, engage in marketing, industry relationship and all that. These things are actually more that what the reality show prepared them for. Reality show was concerned about grooming a talent while the industry requires being much more than a talent
Nigerian Idol- LOST BETWEEN GLAMOUR AND MARKETING
Ngerian Idol is the local version of the Idol franchise and it starts its first season in 2010. It is the second Idol franchise for the country as it was already part of Idols West Africa which, shot and produced in Nigeria.
Firstly, Nigerian Idol got it right from the beginning in the aspect of musical judges. Musical judges should be resource persons drawn from reputable music institutions, industry professionals who know their onions and music instructors with results.
In its first edition, the intention to outshine Project Fame was eminent with borrowed concepts from Project Fame. The organizers put up a good show that is very entertaining for TV viewers but little attention has been paid to the eventual winner of the competition. The sponsors of the event, Etisalat and Pepsi are also doing everything possible to achieve their marketing objectives without marketing the winners.
The level of originality in the show is not very encouraging. It is high time the organizers understand that you don’t have to sound like Celine Dion or Mavin Gaye to be the next Nigerian super star. One wonders what the fate of popular Nigerian super stars, D’Banj and 9ice sound alike will be at the auditions. You don’t have to be the best vocalist to be a successful artiste and history has proven that. In Nigeria, D’Banj is not a better singer compared to Banky W or Darey but he is a better performer and has more international presence. Aside, he earns more money than them all. The organizers should look inward more deeply to identify these innate talents in their quest of searching for the next ‘Nigerian Idol’. In all the successful editions held, three years after, they are yet to produce anything near a fast rising act, not to talk of an ‘idol’.
Aside the marketing objectives of the sponsors, the organizers are also more concerned with the glamour and media buzz of the show and thereby forgetting to consider a proper management or label to help transform the inexperience newly discovered ‘vocalists’ to become the next Nigerian Idol. They are not professionals, they are inexperienced and most of them are not even well groomed musically. In 2011, it was reported that the first winner of the competition, Yeka Onka got a recording deal from Sony but there is nothing to show for it. It’s high time they looked inwards. If after the fourth and fifth edition of the show, and they have nothing to show for it regarding musical presence, then it will be a shame.
Naija Sings- CUT OUT FROM THE PEOPLE
Telecomunication giant, Globacom recently terminated the sponsorship of the show to support X-Factor. To say the least, Naija Sings has the lowest popularity among the music reality shows reviewed in this edition.
At first, the show was limited to only subscribers of DSTV before the addition of NTA last year. The show was definitely not as impressive as we thought and the eventual execution in the aspect of producing winners has not been anywhere near great. In a situation where the prize tag is more important and the purpose for which the show was initiated has already been compromised, Naija Sings winners are lost among the sea of reality show winners struggling for attention.
LUCOZADE FREESTYLE- ABUSE OF A TALENT HUNT
The only thing that gives this competition recognition is by the virtue of the host, Julius Agwu who is one of the most talented entertainers in Nigeria. The show cannot be placed as it lacks a definite direction. Your talent doesn’t not count if you can’t diffuse lots of energy while performing. In her speech at the unveiling of the first winner in Lagos, Oyebanjo Hannah, marketing director, GlaxoSmithKline Nigeria Consumer plc, said the company was set to help many Nigerian youths to do things they enjoy doing, by increasing their intake of Lucozade Boost to enhance energy. “This will help the youths to be able to achieve a lot as they are able to discover their God-given potentials.”According to her, the idea is to celebrate whoever emerges as the most energised Nigerian as well as celebrate Lucozade Boost, the product that made the talent hunt possible.
The show is a marketing gimmick for relevance. Talent hunt was greatly abused on this side and the eventual execution was disappointing. GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Lucozade Boost was more interested in achieving their marketing objectives than marketing the talent.
NEXT MOVIE STAR- THE MAKING OF NIGERIAN HOME VIDEO STARS
I won’t dwell much on the organization of this show but the ultimate reason for staging the show. Regarding the organization, a whole lot much more still needs to be done to raise the bar.
The Next Movie Star is a TV Reality Show aimed at discovering the future Nigerian home video stars. It is a reality show with lots of actions, excitement, training, losses, ejections and victories throughout the duration of the reality show.
The Next Movie Star has produced the likes of Tonto Dike, Tamara Eteimo, Annie Macauley and Porrtia Yamhan. The three Nigerian big brothers winners, Kelvin Chuwang, Uti Nwachukwu and Karen Igho are all alumni of The Next Movie Star.
Aside the fact that the initiator of the show, Sola Fajobi has not been able to get corporate body to finance the project on a yearly basis, his doggedness has kept him going and he is making a difference. Thermocool once sponsored the show but later backed out as the official sponsor. If the Next Movie Star can secure a major sponsorship of a brand that believes in the dream of the organsiers and not just marketing the show, it will definitely be greater than what it is now.
Amstel Malta Box Office- Balancing Company’s Marketing Objectives With Talent Marketing
Some might have a contrary opinion, but Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) is a well thought out reality show sponsored by Nigerian Breweries. To some extent, marketing the malt drink, Amstel Malta and the talent, the eventual winner of the competition was symbiotic.
The AMBO concept is very remarkable as it supports the star by financing their first major movie. AMBO was a platform which not only gave opportunity for the target audience of Amstel Malta but also to showcase their acting talents.
Previous AMBO sponsored movies won several awards at African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). The first movie, Sitanda starring the first winner, Azizat Sadiq received 9 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2007, including Best Picture, Best Nigerian Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The second winner, OC Ukeje who is today one of the most popular actors in Africa won ‘The Most Promising Actor’ at AMAA in 2008 as the lead character in White Waters, the second movie sponsored by Amstel. The third sponsored movie, Cindy’s Notes featuring the third winner, Bhaira McWizu was nominated for several AMAA awards including one for Bhaira who received a nomination for Most Promising Actress at the 2009 edition of the awards. The fourth winner of the competition, Wole Ojo was also nominated for the Most Promising Actor at the 2010 AMAA Awards, for his role in ‘The Child’, a movie also sponsored by Amstel. Today, Wole is one of the industry’s finest and he has featured in several films in lead roles capacity including Tunde Kelani’s Maami. The AMBO 5 winner, Ivie Okujaye, a graduate of Economics from the University of Abuja won the fifth and last edition of the Amstel Malta Box Office in 2009. She starred in ‘Alero’s Symphony’ which was premiered on April 21st 2011 at the Genesis Deluxe in Lagos.
It will however be nice to see the show back and discover more stars.
Glo X-Factor: What are the chances?
As usual, the heavy media buzz that normally characterizes the advent of every reality show-massive billboards, print adverts, online adverts and lots of radio and TV commercials have been made used of to advertise this reality show. As usual, auditions will be held in different regions across the country and later assemble the finalists in one house and generate TV contents. A winner will emerge and will go home with fabulous prices.
Having backed out of Naija Sings probably due to inability to realize the full marketing objectives of the brand, Glo is going all out this time around to propagate the company’s brand message with an unequal passion.
X Factor which is an international franchise still has the opportunity to re-write all the wrongs and mistakes made by other music reality shows.