I know we are familiar with the very popular singing contests; American Idol, X factor (USA and UK) and The Voice. These are very successful competitions which have produced equally successful musical acts. Now let’s bring it home where we have competitions which include; Project Fame, Nigerian Idol (which was an epic flop) and The Voice Nigeria.
The Voice Nigeria is a show brought to Nigeria by its maiden show, The Voice US and it is sponsored by airtel (a Nigerian telecommunication company). We are familiar with the ridiculous antics and characters that accompany the audition process of the other singing competitions in Nigeria but the same cannot be said for The Voice Nigeria. TVN came on the scene with an element of seriousness and comedy perfectly conjoined. After watching the first episode I just knew that it was a new day for singing competitions in Nigeria.
For those who are unfamiliar with the layout of this show let me break it down. So we have two hosts IK Osakioduwa and Stephanie Coker, who are there to usher in
contestants and sort of interview them. Then we have a panel of four judges who are usually reputable recording artistes in the country that the show airs in. The judges are: Waje, Timi Dakolo, Patoranking, and 2Baba (formerly known as TuFace Idibia).
The judges are backed to the stage making them “legally blind” i.e. they are unable to see contestants when they begin their auditions. You might be thinking “isn’t that a stupid idea?” It really isn’t because The Voice Nigeria -as suggested by the name- is a reality singing competition for contestants who have raw talent to be refined; it doesn’t judge contestants by their appearances. The judges also double as coaches for the contestants, so if they like what they hear from the contestants, they press the buzzer in front of them which turns their red chairs around and indicates their interest for the contestant. If only one judge turns for a contestant, they are automatically in that judge’s team. However if more than one judge turns for a contestant, they have to make a choice between the judges who are interest them and I feel this choice may enhance or destroy their experience and chances of winning in the show.
I’m an avid supporter of this show but I have just one thing I don’t agree with. If the judges are going to be coaches to the contestants (who have very good voices) doesn’t that mean they should be able to sing? Of Course yes! Now let’s analyse the judges. Waje is vocal powerhouse who is a professional singer (check). Timi Dakolo was the winner of West African Idol (2007) who took some time off after winning to properly sharpen his skills (check). 2Baba, a legendary musician in the African Entertainment Industry and a great singer (check). Here is the metaphorical K-leg ; Patoranking. Some may disagree but in my opinion he is the weakest link. All the other judges will be able to hold their own during vocal performances but can the same be said for Pato? Yes Patoranking is a seasoned Entertainer, of course he is one of the biggest artistes in Nigeria and yes him being on the show may increase ratings and popularity, he also appeals to a certain kind of contestants but is he really the man for the job. There a great lot -maybe not a great lot- but there are a number of art recording artistes who would have been a better fit such as Adekunle Gold, Kiss Daniel, Bez, Praiz just to name a few. You want to say “but Patoranking is a bigger artiste than the ones you mentioned” I agree he is but Adekunle Gold and Kiss Daniel are making waves in the Nigerian music scene, Bez and Praiz I believe are considerably stronger singers than Patoranking. I think it would have made a difference if any of the above mentioned were picked to be a judge/mentor on the show.
You’re opinion still matters though, so let me know what you think about Patoranking being a judge in the comment section below.
Apart from my one disagreement, I really think this show is an amazing show and it has taken singing competitions in Nigeria to another level entirely. You can catch The Voice Nigeria on DSTV channel 153 (Africa Magic Urban) and channel 151 (Africa Magic Showcase). For those in Diaspora or those curious in the overseas you can check https://www.youtube.com/c/thevoicenigeria
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