by Onoshe Nwabuikwu
‘Why are we so Blest?’ (1972) is the title of a book by Ayi Kwei Armah but it best expresses what I’m feeling right now. I have had many a “What is this world coming to?” conversations with friends, a close friend called Kaine in particular, and those conversations usually begin with either, “Did you watch programme X today?” or, “Did you see presenter Y’s interview the other day?” Then we proceed to enrich some GSM companies by talking for a VERY long time. It isn’t just the talk time, though, that makes it all appear so long-drawn; it’s the seeming futility of the problems that we agonise over.
You make out time and rush to watch your favourite TV programme but almost always leave feeling empty. You are left with more questions than answers. I can’t tell you how many Tinsel scripts we’ve ‘rewritten’ in our conversations. Which makes you wonder if those paid to do the job are paying any attention? But don’t just take my word for it. Have you taken time to watch TV recently? What about radio?
What makes our case seem worse is the fact that many are unwilling to listen to anything that is not praise singing. Even when you point out an obvious truth, it’s easier to question your motives than acknowledge the facts. But we are all somehow involved in perpetuating this mediocrity even if by our inaction and unquestioning acceptance or indifference. There’s also what I call our oriki mentality, where nearly every company is ‘foremost this’ and ‘leading that’. Can you imagine a company that hasn’t been in business for the last three years being described as a ‘foremost telecommunications company’? And because there aren’t enough reliable figures and statistics, every show is doing well; every producer is award-winning. And every presenter, especially anyone who has hung around studios long enough even if all they did was ‘wumble and fobble’, soon acquires veteran status.
Each year, something or someone new is added to Star Quest. The 2012 edition looks set to have a few changes too. Not only has a new judge been added to the judging panel, the show’s host has changed. Now, if you were asked to guess who or to suggest a name for Star Quest, it’s highly unlikely you’ll come up with these names: Waje and Gideon Okeke.
Waje (Words Aren’t Just Enough) is the new Star Quest judge. She joins the judges from the 2011 season Kingsley Okonkwo (KC of KCPresh) and Paul Play Dairo. Last year, KC who alongside Precious John (Presh) won the maiden edition of Star Quest in 2002, became the headline judge as he bellowed “Nessst!”—his favourite shoo-off to wannabe stars. Waje replaces Radio/TV personality Freeze.
Waje, a finalist in the Zain/MTV Advance Warning 2008, became even more popular though her collaborations with P-Square (‘Omoge Mi’, ‘Do Me’), M.I (‘One Naira’), Banky W (‘Thief my Kele’). Now she is leveraging her popularity into becoming an even more familiar face with songs and videos like ‘So Inspired’, ‘Na the Way’, ‘Kolo’, etc. On what she expects from contestants on Star Quest, Waje says she’s looking for someone “unique” and somebody who has “found him or herself”.
Enter Gideon Okeke as new host of Star Quest. He takes over from Ruggedman who hosted the show for three seasons. A graduate of Biochemistry from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Gideon entered the limelight as a housemate in the 2006 edition of Big Brother Nigeria (BBN). He was the fit guy with six-pack abs who enjoyed his own company a little too much for some people. Some mistook his confidence for arrogance but I suppose (with the benefit of hindsight), being an only child can make you learn to keep to yourself.
A couple of years after BBN, Gideon was back on TV presenting The Scoop. However, it wasn’t until he got the role of Philip Ade-Williams on MNET’s ‘Tinsel’ that people began to pay better attention to him as a serious actor. He has since appeared in a few other productions but nothing he’s found as challenging as playing Obi, an ex-soldier in Andy Okoroafor’s 2010 film, ‘Relentless’.
We wait to see what Waje and Gideon bring to Star Quest 2012.
Who wins Nigerian Idol?
The music talent show Nigerian Idol has a few weeks to go and there are about five contestants still battling for the top prize. But if as they say, a performer is as good as his/her last performance, who would carry the day based on last Sunday’s (March 11) performance? I’m rooting for 20-year-old Mercy Nnenda Chinwo.
The top five (3 guys: Stephen Onochie, Joe Blue Anthony Ekpo, Honey Oboni Adum; and 2 girls: Najite El David and Mercy Chinwo) performed two songs each in what was the Nigerian fusion week. When I joined the show, the performances sounded funny. I began to think that opting for popular songs wasn’t such a good idea. From Djinee’s ‘Ego’ to Tuface’s ‘African Queen’, I just couldn’t believe my ears. Even Nico Mbarga’s ‘Sweet Mother’ which can never be sung wrong wasn’t so hot. And Honey’s rather ambitious version of D’banj’s ‘Fall in Love’ left me slack-jawed, and not in a good way at all. I Don’t know whether it’s in a how-to handbook somewhere á la “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but the only justification for tampering would be to massively improve something. Not that you’d have thought anything was amiss going by the judges’ comments.
However, Mercy’s performance of Midnight Crew’s Igwe (better than the quite impressive original) and P-Square’s ‘Chop my Money’ immediately gladdened my heart. The discovery of this one talent makes the entire show worth it. Her stagecraft was professional. Even guest judge Sir Shina Peters said as much in his very few words.
The best part was the seeming effortlessness of it all. I’m not a great fan of: “Look at me! I’m singing!”. Truth be told, anyone in the top five has a shot. After all, they would’ve had to have been talented (hopefully) to have made it this far. But the real difference is in the little touches. Mercy reminds me of Omawumi with an even wider range.
And as Omawumi has shown, all you need is a platform.
•The Valley Between debuts
‘The Valley Between’ is a new drama series showing on AIT Sundays, 7 pm. Produced by Tunji Bamishigbin, ‘Valley’ is touted as being in the mould of hit series ‘Palace’ also by Bamishigbin for AIT many years ago. I’m hoping this new series becomes a viable alternative to some of what’s running on air currently. I’ve seen the first episode but will patiently wait to see more.
You watch and let’s air your opinion.
Comedy Club: Live in Lagos or Mombasa?
Let me first say that I like what you are doing and that is a statement of fact. There’s some stuff you see and listen to on TV and Radio and you just get so angry at people who allow such mediocrity on their stations (private). As for government-owned stations (Federal or State) we already know they are beyond redemption.
Now, to my business of this mail. Please help ask Multichoice operators of DSTV who they are trying to deceive by saying that the Comedy Club Live in Lagos hosted by IK or Wild child which currently air on Mondays on MNET is really live in Lagos?
For the record, it is glaring that what is being aired now is from last year’s Live in Mombasa; from the audience, to the music band etc. Even the jokes cracked by some of the comedians easily let you in on the location of the recording, yet they want to force it down the viewer’s throat that it’s Live in Lagos? What is their motive?
•GTBank and HiTV subscribers: What gives?
Why is the media dead silent about the predicament of HiTV subscribers like myself? I unknowingly renewed my annual subscription without any knowledge of HiTV’s problems with GTB. Now HiTV is off the air and no word from GTB on the fate of innocent viewers who have been cheated once again.