by Taiwo Damilola
The first ever Nigerian Idol emerged on Saturday 26th March, as Yeka Onka, 26, was announced winner by Etisalat CEO Steven E. Evans. Over 10,000 contestants auditioned for the title of ‘Nigerian Idol’ and the grand prize of a recording contract, 7.5Million naira, a brand new car and a Sony Entertainment TV center.
The evening started with the national anthem, in a rather unusual but beautiful rendition by the finalists. Stellar Performances by Retta, Timi Dakolo and Praiz followed, with the highlight of the evening being the surprise performance of 80’s hit ‘Seun Rere ’by the last two finalists, Yeka and co-finalist Naomi Mac, alongside Nigeria’s veteran songstress ‘Christie Essien Igbokwe’. Fittingly, the performance got a standing ovation from the audience. Banky W was also on hand to perform his hit song ‘Strong Thing’, while Tiwa Savage wowed the audience with her rendition of ‘Natural Woman’ and was able to pull off a convincing Alanta to her song ‘Kele Kele’.
To wrap up the evening’s performances, Yeka performed Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ and Naomi gave a beautiful rendition of Micheal Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’
After seeing the winner emerge in what seemed to be a pre-concluded formality, the discontent in the eyes of members of the audience was palpable, with some voicing their concerns and opinions as to why Yeka shouldn’t have won, as is always the case.
It was no easy road for 26 year old winner, a student born into a musical family, with her deceased parents as the instrumentalist and lead singer of their family band. During the audition tour, she was rejected in two different states and didn’t get past the selectors till she came to Lagos and finally got her chance.
YNaija wishes Yeka and all the other contestants the best in the endeavors.
Photo credit: Bayo Omoboriowo