Tag Archives: Star Quest

Album review: Kcee is not quite ready to ‘Take Over’

by Wilfred Okiche

KCEE-Take-Over-Jacket-front

Forget the title of this review, if there is one artiste who ‘took over’ the past year with his ready to play, endlessly catchy pop singles, then it has to be Kingsley Okonkwo, the taller, lighter skinned half of the now defunct pop-duo KC Presh who found fame on the reality singing competition Star Quest back when it was still relevant.

Since attempting the solo route 2years ago, Kcee has enjoyed a few minor hits but struck solid gold in 2013 with ‘Limpopo’, a sugary sing along anthem that gifted him with a new lease on life and catapulted his career to red hot territory. Follow up singles ‘Okoso’ and ‘Pull over’ with Wizkid have kept him in brisk business and the endorsement deals and high profile gigs have been rolling in steadily.

His debut solo album ‘Take over’ is no better than it has a right to be and no worse than it could have been. There is a theme. If it sounds like ‘Limpopo’, and is catchy, melodious making as little sense as possible, then it is in. Also if it sounds like Flavour considered it not good enough for his ‘Blessed’ album, then it is perfect for ‘Take over’. Somehow, because, it is Kcee, it works out well for him. On songs like ‘Hustle your way’ and ‘Ogadinma’. Not so for our beleagured ears though as we have to go through song after song of similar sounding jingles.

His favourite producer Del B does majority of the work here and while some applause should be sent his way for ‘Limpopo’, both of them owe Wizkid a big one for ‘Pull over’’s insane popularity. D’banj is no longer as popular as he once was but he makes a fair attempt with ‘Emmah’, a throbbing sensual affair that sounds like Iyanya could easily have carried it. It remains one of the bright spots on a disc that features uninteresting assists from Timaya and Davido and even Man of the year Phyno phones in a depressing appearance on ‘Vitamin C’.

Del B’s trado-highlife union with hip hop beats and swirling local instruments start to bore about midway in to the album and there is only so much akatako one can dance. Nothing in sight can save the album from tanking hard and it does with odious material like ‘Ifeneme’, ‘Had it been I know’ and ‘Chineke di nma’. There is some face saving attempt to sound like Flavour in some songs- with the accompanying rants-  but they are too feeble to yield much result. A tidy 10 track listing of the least annoying songs would have made far greater sense.

But making sense isn’t particularly ‘Take over’s’ primary objective. It plays like a collection of songs from an artiste under pressure to present a body of work. Something to get out of the way while putting in work on that next massive single. That is afterall what will pay the bills, win him the Headies trophies and book him the appearances at the big shows.

Another ‘Limpopo’. Another ‘Pull over’. Another anthem to dance to. Give the people what they want. Who cares that the album is a disaster?

 

‘Airtime’ reviews Comedy Central, Star Quest, MTN services and the anti-mini-skirt soldiers in Wuse market

Ayo Makun

I’d almost forgotten the entertainment that one gets from talent shows on TV.

by Onoshe Nwabuikwu

Before getting on Comedy Central
I’ve been meaning to write this since Comedy Central debuted on DSTV Channel 122 to plead with our comedians to strive to be on top of their game before the besiegement of the channel begins. It’s well within reason to expect that very soon Nigerian comedians will be on Comedy Central even if only watched by viewers from the continent. How to prevent our predilection for ‘Mo gbo, Mo ya’ which in transliteration means:  ‘I heard, I came’ or ‘branched’. That’s essentially the same thing as jumping on the bandwagon just because it’s supposedly “reigning” or trending just like in Fela’s ‘Follow-follow’.

However, my focus was somewhat broadened after I saw the award-winning comedian AY-Ayo Makun on Comedy Club Live in Lagos about two weeks ago on the MNET channel. The show usually features two comedians, one well-known and the other upcoming, AY was obviously the star while Funnybon must have fitted the upcoming bill. Having followed AY on TV and AY Show (via VCDs), I was expecting to have a hilarious time.  But Mr Makun didn’t deliver. Needless to say, it’s been difficult to laugh with Nigeria’s big boys of comedy on the Comedy Club series.

Funny aside, there’s the critical issue of telling relevant jokes to suit the environment. Why would AY begin a show before a mostly non-Nigerian audience with, “Everybody say, un hun, un hun?” Nigerians know that’s his Pastor Chris Okotie shtick. But what’s that before a Ugandan audience? And what’s with dissing Nigeria outside of Nigeria especially to non-Nigerians? Our reputation is bad enough as it is.

Star Quest on TV-Not a laughing matter

Star Quest judges grand auditions

We’ve been talking about Star Quest for a few weeks now and feel as if we are familiar with happenings on what’s Nigeria’s only band-based talent show. Nothing beats watching the show on TV. Underscoring this fact, Obabiyi Fagade, brand manager, Star, said: “The idea behind bringing Star Quest to the screen is to bring the Star Quest excitement home to people.”  This would also help in, “Engaging followers as well as sustaining the excitement” around the competition. That engagement started March 31st. I’d almost forgotten the entertainment that one gets from talent shows on TV. You’re at least sure of comedy from contestants, real and unintended. For the most part, I was awed by the sheer courage of some wannabe stars. I know the 2012 Star Quest slogan is ‘Dare Yourself on Stage’ and it’s like some took this too literally. ‘Can’t sing to save their lives’ hovered over them like a smelly cloak but as the pidgin saying goes: ‘Dem no wan know’. Now, that could be commendable.

Nonetheless, the Star Quest auditions are not all about people with musical delusions. Right after giving the judges: Paul Play Dairo, Waje and KC a hand for sitting through it all, we must be happy for the truly talented. On the Tuesday 3 April show, the contestant wearing tag LA 331(rapper Romeo Ugwudike) impressed the most. KC and Paul Play were quick to go hug him on stage. I’m no rap fan but Romeo was effortlessly impressive. With the performances slated for April 6 by the six bands formed from the chosen 36 in the Star Fameland, real business has begun.

…QUOTABLES…FROM STAR QUEST

   “I’m da bomb, my father is a terrorist.” (Romeo).

“All swag and no punch line makes you a wack emcee,” Paul Play to the ‘Rude Boy’ representing Ebute Metta (LA 640). “That sounds like somebody high on cheap drugs.” To which new judge, Waje quipped, “Saridon P, Panadol Extra.”

Perhaps, the funniest would have to be these lyrics: “I was asleep and I heard my friend say this is star quest…’ which reminded me of a Klint da Drunk joke on how reggae musicians write songs: ‘I woke up one morning, I was going along the road …, I hit my leg on a stone’ to which the I-Threes (á la Bob Marley) would chorus ‘stone, stone, stone’. .

OFF AIR

MTN’s BlackBerry Blues

Almost every GSM company running the Blackberry service has had its fair share of complaints. So, let’s agree that none is perfect. However, I’m amazed at the sheer indifference shown by MTN to a customer’s plight. I first got on MTN’s BBC (1,500) plan around the third week of February 2012. That didn’t work. I was bothered enough that I subscribed the next day to another provider. After a month, I thought it wise to re-subscribe to MTN’s higher and presumably better plan (N3, 000). But as I write, I can’t access Twitter, etc. Not even the blackberry messaging works. I’m told I’m on a plan that doesn’t allow that.

It isn’t the magnitude of the problem but the fact that I spent two days at the Efab Mall (Area 11, Abuja, FCT) MTN Centre trying to resolve this problem to no avail. And the fact that everyone, even the advertised expert would happily tell me: ‘It’s network’.

Anti-mini-skirt soldiers in Wuse market               

This is a warning to anyone planning to visit Wuse Market Abuja anytime soon. On Sunday 1 April (no April fool), some boys in the market wanted to strip a young lady who dared to wear a long-sleeved but short clinging dress made from some jersey-like material. Before confusion broke out, I’d seen the girl and noticed how ‘barrow’ boys gathered to ogle, lost in lust. It took the intervention of a Good Samaritan female trader who gave the girl a wrapper and eventually a policeman who was called in to lead her away still tying the wrapper-while a quickly ballooned mob followed.

Yes, the dress left little to the imagination but who’s running the ‘anti-mini skirt army’ in Wuse Market?

The FCT minister needs to look into this matter. The next time someone, an important perhaps ‘international someone’, may end up dead.

 

 

 

 

Cashless or Clueless? Onoshe Nwabuikwu’s ‘Airtime’ reviews Starquest, Tinsel and that annoying CBN commercial

Now the PDP convention is over

I would have avoided the much talked about PDP convention if I could. As an Abuja resident, I thank God the thousands of policemen for the event was not tested. I managed to avoid most of the traffic caused by the closure of roads around the Eagle Square, venue of the convention. But as far as watching it on TV goes, I’m always happy to be the fly on the wall.

The square looked full—presumably with party faithful, decked out in brightly coloured attire. I wasn’t expecting to hear any world-changing speech so I could only entertain myself, seeing as the ruling party hasn’t really improved life very much. Even Nollywood (which Bob Manuel Udokwu, co-compere must have been representing) couldn’t come up with some of the stories and characters that have come out of the PDP. Two ex-governors kicked out of office because their ‘elections’ were proven to be fraudulent have now been rewarded with positions in the party.

Speaking of characters, they were everywhere. Leading the cast were OBJ and Mr Fix It. No, they were not a sight for sore eyes. OBJ seems to have regained some of his power while Tony Anenih didn’t look so mysterious anymore. As someone pointed out, losing out in Edo State can’t be helping him. There was a moment when he was shown talking with an uncharacteristically animated President Goodluck Jonathan. The president was obviously miffed about something and he was going to let Anenih know! Ahmadu Ali was overly interested in unravelling the PDP branded hand fans being shared at the venue. Time was when Ali was like God. No, actually ‘after him, na God’ as ‘Bedel’ people say. And Sarah Jibril (presidential adviser on ethics?) looked very happy. Should Nigerian women thank God there are other female politicians?

There were the obligatory rounds of greetings and ‘eye service’ which just created confusion, which  couldn’t have been good for security. Why couldn’t people just stay in their seats? We do this even at closed-door events when walking around only inconveniences other people. But we are so concerned about being seen or talking to some powerful oga, what we are wearing and have the least concern for how others feel. And one very big man who looked like Chief Iwuanyanwu nearly toppled over near the president.

No PDP convention is complete without the ‘fee-dee-fee; ‘fower-to-the fifool-’ moment. A new one: senator as ‘sin-ator’. Usually, at these events our politicians have a look of triumph, like the cat who got the milk or the politician who got the GMG. You don’t see a determined look to improve Nigeria. If it were about Nigeria, why waste all that money on empty slogans? What exactly are we celebrating? And being decked out in agbadas doesn’t communicate an immediate readiness to do anything. I have to agree with a friend who says that any country with the agbada as national dress is not serious.

In the end, my time ‘at the convention’ was cut short by what else, power outage. Pray, does the D in PDP stand for Darkness? I didn’t get to see Bamanga Tukur emerge chairman by consensus. I didn’t also see Mallam Garba Chiza, the 60-year-old national youth leader. But I did hear how candidates were suddenly ‘reconsidering their candidature’. In fact, in one such case, the acting chairman announced without a hint of irony that out of three candidates, ‘a few of them’ were rethinking their candidature. What’s ‘a few’ out of three people?

STAR QUEST

36 stars make 6 bands

Finally, the thirty six contestants going to morph into six contesting bands in the ongoing Star Quest have been unveiled. Thanks to the well-attended grand auditions two Saturdays ago at Zinnia Hall, Eko Hotel Lagos, the quest is now in full swing. As expected, there were fifty-five hopeful contestants who had passed the first stage of the competition out of thousands of aspiring musicians who had thronged audition venues from across the country.

The task at the grand audition—to further prune down to thirty six—wasn’t as simple as subtracting nineteen from fifty five. Confessing to having seen “the best crop of musical talents from this country” at the grand auditions, Paul Play Dairo, one of the judges, said the elimination process still had to be done. But he insisted that the nineteen were “going home not necessarily because they are not good enough but simply because the standard of this competition is very high. I can tell you here that we just saw. It is so painful but the show must go on”. Well, learning to take and bounce back from rejection is almost the first thing anyone hoping to survive in entertainment must learn. Tomorrow after all is another day.

With Paul Play’s words as guide, the thirty six chosen contestants must indeed be truly gifted. So, how will that affect what viewers see in the rest of the competition? You can go ahead and dream, no one can blame you for being very expectant.

Enter the lucky thirty-six in no particular order: Michael Asuquo, David Akinola, Willy Emmanuel, Chukwudi Okafor, Michael Leramo, Olayemi Obamuwasa, Edim Inyang, Omo Ehigiator, SamueAramogho, Alfred Ayokanmi, Stanley Ogbebor, Osigbeme Oghenakhogioe, Theophilus Otevwogbiku, Princess Eze, Romeo Ugwudike, Elizbeth Afolayan, Vivian Aluebho, Uyimwen Igiehon, Oghenetega Apochi, Amaka Nwoke, Naomi Oboyi, Ewoma Egedi,  Chris Aba , Nkem Alfred, Edafe Supply Moore, Omuovakpo Aghomishe, Chijoke Frederick, Nnam Eziechina, Oluwole Omotosho, Bamidele Fatola, Francis Igwe, Udonwa Ogbujah, Daniel Onibudo, Isaac Yusuf, Chinemerem Otti and Nkiruka Chima.

The story of the Star Quest journey has already begun (March 31st) on selected TV stations. Come April 6, there will be a grand performance from the brand new bands at the MUSON Centre, Lagos. Entrance is free.

 

CBN’s TVC: Cashless or … Clueless?

Have you seen the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’’s TV commercial about cashless banking? A man wakes up to discover the N750, 000 he kept inside his pillow is missing (along with the pillow). A woman, supposedly ‘Cash Madam’ visits and he can barely contain himself in his agitation, understandably. I’d like to think that even a billionaire would miss N750k. But before you can say Dangote or CBN, he’s recovered. All because of some wonderful news about ATMs, etc. from the CBN courtesy of Cash Madam. Then suddenly, this man (who doesn’t particularly look like he has N750 to spare) forgets his N750, 000. Just like that. Let’s call him Mugu A.

The trouble with our advertising is that we don’t stick long enough with the story. If you choose to tell a story or dramatise an idea, you have to stay true to your concept. Otherwise you could just run a straight announcorial. Perhaps an extra model who could’ve learnt firsthand from the Mugu A’s foolishness was called for. Mugu A’s recovery after a N750, 000 loss is as unreal (in real life) as it is unconvincing in the commercial. The CBN may need to have another talk with its ad agency. Or talk to another agency…

GUS winner, Okechukwu on Tinsel

Okechukwu Christopher Okagbue, the 2011 winner of Guilder Ultimate Search, GUS season 8 is the latest addition to the ever evolving Tinsel family on MNET. His character is Emil, son of World Movies ex-chief operating officer (either Duro Onabolu or an uncanny lookalike). Emil looks set to play Angela Dede’s (Matilda Obaseki) love interest. Quite a few story lines need rejuvenating and the Angela storyline needed some new life. I mean, how crazy can one person get?

    So far, Okechukwu Okagbue, the University of Lagos sociology undergraduate, is holding his own

Public hearings as TV entertainment? – Onoshe Nwabuikwu’s ‘Airtime’

by Onoshenuasi Nwabuikwu

Public hearings as TV entertainment?

If there’s any difference between the public hearings and other programmes on TV, it’ll have to be that the hearings are more interesting (invariably), for good or bad reason. However public hearings even though somewhat upgraded from the ubiquitous but toothless government committees, appear to be to (just) titillate (easily titillated) citizens with all kinds of revelations because in the end, few are held accountable.  Perhaps we ought to enjoy the drama, real and contrived, as that might be all we are getting.

You must know about the latest public hearing, the one being conducted by the Capital Market Committee of the House of Representatives. The first time I caught it on Channels TV; I couldn’t change channels fast enough which wasn’t very wise. I should be interested in what happens at the capital market if only because of my ‘teeny weenie’ shares. The next day, Thursday March 15,  I was ‘arrested’ by the forceful speech by the DG SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh at the end of which she levelled bribery allegations against committee chairman Iorwase Herman Hembe and generally accused the committee of lacking credibility. A lot has happened since then with the most current being the stepping down of Hembe and the entire committee replaced by an ad-hoc one.

But let’s look again at that TV outing on March 15. Did anyone remember to beware of the Ides of March? I was shocked that it degenerated into a ‘do-me-I-do-you’ farce. There ought to be some rules of engagement for the ‘probers’ and ‘probees’ regarding mutual respect and things like that. People should be presumed innocent by the House Committee until otherwise proven. And we expect better treatment of our elected representatives especially by government officials no matter how highly placed. Ms Oteh should’ve showed more restraint and regard for the institution if not for the individuals and she’d have thought twice if she was anywhere else in the world. I remember the Murdochs at the British Parliament last year. You think they didn’t feel like telling off the politicians or didn’t know that perhaps a few of them wanted to hog the limelight just to look good even if they weren’t corrupt? How can we complain of things but are fast to do worse? One commentator criticised the committee for leaving its main focus of investigation and going into personal matters. Like the fact that Ms Oteh had lived at the expensive Hilton Hotel for all of eight months at tax payers’ expense as opposed to the 28 days the federal policy on monetisation and even the 56 days SEC rules allow. But Ms Oteh curiously chose to answer the allegations against with bigger ones of her own which is very Nigerian. We are known as the people who reply a question with another question. The Yorubas call what Ms Oteh did ‘da si rough’ which happens in a typical roforofo/bolekaja fight. It would perhaps be naive to wonder why Ms Oteh didn’t counter the allegations with superior arguments/evidence. Jurisdiction notwithstanding, quite a few substantive issues still remain outstanding. Would anyone ever bother us with a proper answer?

By the way, on the day, the guys from SEC looked anything but efficient. Looking collectively like rain soaked hens; harried looking people with exaggerated titles (which they of course insisted on being correctly addressed) struggled to answer simple questions: ‘I was advised by Mr X and Mr Y said blab, bla’. Ask Mr X, and the stuttering begins. One of them even asked if monetisation was a law. No, it was a government policy, oga director. Then there was one Sani-Stores, executive so and so who supposedly advised someone else about the DG’s stay in a hotel. But Sani-Stores claimed on one hand he didn’t know that the boss had spent eight months, and then turned around to say when he discovered that allowing her to stay in a hotel was wrong, he…Asked when he had this epiphany, he took another turn. Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If these are the same people regulating the capital market, is it any wonder our market has reportedly lost N131 billion? What was so difficult they couldn’t explain? Unfortunately the best spoken person, the legal expert, was content to dissociate himself from the entire proceeding saying no one had asked his advice, his job is referral and he couldn’t go on the road stopping people from doing the wrong thing, bla bla bla. This attitude I can understand even though it doesn’t make it right.

Well, wait for another episode of the public hearings coming to a TV station near you.

STAR QUEST

Many are called…36 chosen

From thousands of eager musicians (or wannabes) who came from all over the country, the numbers have been seriously crunched to fifty-five lucky (or hopeful) finalists. These finalists have but one hurdle to be Fameland residents. That last hurdle is the Star Quest Grand Audition slated for March 23 at Eko Hotel’s New Expo Centre. There they have to give the performance of their lives to impress the judges enough not to be among the ‘nearlys’. At this stage and until the bands are formed, it’s every man for himself. After all, at fifty-five, even though the playing field may have drastically shrunk but only thirty-six (36) finalists are going to make it into the Star Fameland. This of course means almost one quarter of the fifty-five hopefuls would be going home after the grand audition on March 23. And by the time you’re reading this, those nineteen ‘nearly-Star Famelanders’ would’ve since gone back home.

With the grand audition out of the way, the stage is now set for the big reveal of the lucky 36 contestants headed for the Star Fameland who are going to form the six competing bands. This also means we are one step closer to the TV show. The beauty of auditions is that there’s no dull moment. Auditions are a necessary mix of drama, comedy, tragedy even. So you’re bound to pay attention. You’re going to come face to face with the good, the not so good and those who perhaps may have missed their way to the auditions.  This last group of people actually need to be commended for the sheer courage to show up.

You’ll also have the pleasure of seeing Paul Play Dairo, Waje and KC function as judges. And you’ll be seeing the man they call Giddy, Gideon Okeke host the show for the first time. And if celebrities aren’t your thing, you can watch young Nigerians displaying the Nigerian can-do spirit.

COME AGAIN?

“First Lady asks diplomats’ wives to guard secrets”.

-Channels TV, news headlines, Thursday March 15, 1.50 pm-ish.

There’s no grammatical error here. Contrary to what you might think, the First Lady isn’t a regular in this section because she’s not a broadcaster. If I had half the time to listen to ‘trained’ broadcasters ‘ripping’ the English language to shreds like the one who was ‘ri-prisenting’ ‘ri-prisentatives’ the other day on Radio, there would be little time left to listen to politicians or their wives.

That said, this advice from the PhD holding Dame got me thinking about secrets.  What secrets? I find it hard to believe that we actually guard our secrets talk less of leaving the task to wives. But you’d think that being diplomats’ wives, these women would have some idea about guarding secrets. Except if they had just got married and Dame was at a (mass) wedding reception for them and their newly married diplomat husbands.

 

“Kanu’s heart goes out to Muamba”.

How about that?

 

Something New: Dubie (formerly of Pulse) – ‘Betrayal’

by Seyi Lawal

The Pulse, Star Quest winners for 2009, wowed us with their conscious song ‘So tey.’

However, the band leader, Dubie decided to release his debut single as a solo artiste titled; ‘Betrayal’.

In his conscious socio-political song, he tries to pray for peace that passeth all understanding.

Enjoy the video to this song.

Waje

‘Whether na 7.3 million naira’! Waje joins Star Quest’s panel of judges

by Daniel Essien

Aituagbe Ebele Iruobe, popularly known as Waje, has been picked as a judge in the upcoming edition of Star Quest. The fast rising vocalist replaces Cool FM’s OAP, Freeze,  who was on the panel list last year with both Paul Play Dairo and KC of KC Presh.

Yusuf Ageni, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries Plc, stated that this year’s edition will be more exciting and engaging compared to previous editions. He also added that, “Contestants from all over the country will be given opportunity to become the next stars in the Nigerian music scene and win recording contracts and other attractive prizes.”

The Nigeria’s first and only band-based music talent hunt competition/reality TV show, will kick off with auditions from 21 February to 1 March and music enthusiasts from all over the country will converge on four cities (Makurdi, Enugu, Benin and Lagos) to fight for a chance to display their musical prowess in Star’s Fameland located in a highbrow part of Lagos. Thirty-six finalists will be selected for the finals.

The band which emerges winners will get a N7.5million recording contract, N3.6million cash (to be shared by the six members of the winning band), as well as a new minivan. They will also get one year guaranteed accommodation in Lagos and a unique opportunity to participate in the upcoming 2012 Star-sponsored events as performing artistes.

Something New: Juke Box debuts with ‘Hustle Go Pay’

by Taiwo Damilola

Remember Juke Box – the Kennis Music signed group that won the 2010 edition of StarQuest. The group, made up of Eghosa, Joshua, Josephine, Wilson, Gregory and Sam, dropped their debut album ‘JukeBox’ a while ago. The song is one of encouragement, saying that whoever you are, whatever you do, persevere and you won’t regret it. The video was directed by Bobby Hai and features a cameo appearance by Gbenga Adeyinka. Check out their debut video below.