Welcome to Boot Camp!
The sixth episode of Nigerian Idol saw hopefuls converge at the Dream Studios in Lagos. This is the real deal as it was time to go hard or go home. I dare say that if the regional auditions created local champions, it was time for the contestants to prove that they could be international superstars. With boarding arrangements sorted out, the hopefuls attended to the business of the day….Singing! First up for our hopefuls was meeting David Ige the Vocal Coach.After a session with David, Dream Studio day one began. Host Ill Rhymz explained how this phase of the competition would pan out. Nicknamed sudden death, contestants would face the judges in batches of ten. They’ll perform and be graded individually.
Just like the regional auditions, contestants will get to know their fate as soon as their performances ended. The first batchof ten walked on stage and one after the other sang for the judges. Four out of ten hopefuls made it to the next phase of the competition. And that set the tone for the rest of the day. Batch two saw guitar player; Houston Grey make it through. For every yes there were several no’s. A puzzling moment during the show was when a contestant received a no even after she had been told by the judges that “It sounded like she had a bird in her throat singing”. It dawned on me that an okay performance would be insufficient and to make it past sudden death, contestants needed to sing like superstars.
If it was a roller coaster ride for me and all I was doing was watching, I could only imagine how hard it was for the contestants. For several of them this was the biggest break in their lives so far. Making it to the dream studios made the dream of stardom that much realer. And leaving at this point when one could almost taste it must be a tad bit more painful. As the show went on I sighted some of my favourites from the regionals and boy did I pray for smooth passage for all of them. It was a relief to see light skinned Michael from Enugu, Honey from Abuja and Tega from Port Harcourt make it through. Physically challenged Sylva also made it past sudden death. A bright spot on today’s proceedings was a group of ten that produced eight hopefuls. I cheered.
There is a saying that goes “always put your best foot forward”, contestant 2168, John Ezeuko must not have heard it. For his regional auditions he sang a song in fluent Spanish and had the Judges gushing. At the dream studios he chose to sing in English. His journey ended at sudden death. This episode was one for the judges and they were in fine form.Yinka Davies kept us entertained with her quirky comments on the performances. Most notable were; “you’ve got a quiver in your liver” and “I like your throat, it knows how to communicate”. Charly Boy decided to inject some excitement into the selection process as he had a batch of successful contestants “strike a pose” before he told them their fates.
As the day wore on and the No’s were handed out like candy on Halloween night, the contenders were separated from the pretenders. From over a hundred, sudden death left us with about sixty hopefuls. Exhausted partly from all the hard work they had put in mastering their songs and the highly strung state the contestants were in as they waited for their numbers to be called out, relief was the more prevalent emotion at the end of boot camp day one. It was disappointment andheartbreak for those who didn’t make it, but it was nice to see that their spirits weren’t broken. A few promised to be back next year and others said this wasn’t the end of their music journey.
Day one of the Dream Studios week came to an end. But before they could call it a day, they were briefed by the vocal coach who told them what to expect next. Round two of boot camp will involve another set of performances but this time they will compete in groups of three’s and four’s. Judging however remains individual based. It was evident that while they were happy to have made it past round one, the realization that they still had several hurdles to jump before they could compete for the crown of Nigeria Idol was not exactly comforting. All in all it was a very emotional episode and I can only imagine how much harder round two will be for the contestants and I. Everyone will need to bring their A-game.
Season’s greetings by the way and see you in a few as the search for the next Nigerian Idol continues’.