Access The Stars Circumvents Current Climate To Deliver Thrilling, Innovative Digital Finale
The journey to grand-finale of Access The Stars wasn’t an easy one for contestants. Following a series of exciting regional auditions, rigorous training at Bootcamp and the suspense-filled judges’ stage shows, Charles Akinloye, popularly known as Loven, finally emerged winner of the show in a first of its kind e-finale on April 11, 2020.
As promised, Akinloye went home with the much-coveted grand prize worth N150,000,000 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Naira). The first and second runners up, ‘Kitay’ and ‘Firefly’ also got consolation prizes for getting to the finals.
The grand finale kicked off with a live pre-show party on Instagram Live, which featured hits by DJ Spinall as he entertained the audience in anticipation of the live finale on YouTube. The finals proper witnessed great performances from other top four contestants, Kaffy and Darey, while DJ Cuppy hosted an after-party on Instagram Live to wrap the competition.
A winner’s journey has always been a spectacle to experience — viewers watch him gain a moment of inspiration, after which he ventures out to get what he needs, learns a lesson from the masters, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge, and ultimately returns home transformed. Fans witness this journey with all its twists and turns, making for a first-rate cinematic experience, pervading almost every form of entertainment we watch, especially reality TV shows in which competition and struggle for stardom make for an interesting conflict to be solved.
Reality TV shows, especially ones in which viewers have to root for someone, have always held the attention of the audience like none other. Unlike regular broadcasting, it gives fans a way to look into the lives of people they can relate to as they are tasked with challenges that test their strength and character. After all, everyone loves inspiring stories, as well as entertainment. Meld those two aspects together, and you have the whole world in your hands.
Akinloye emerged winner of the maiden edition of Access The Stars competition, following a nail-biting and enthralling finale showdown, which featured three other finalists. On close inspection, his story marks a perfect alignment to the structure of the winner’s journey. A man of many talents, he’s a make-up artist and stylist, and his artistic sensibilities pervade his singing technique as he is well-known for infusing fuji into his performances, which was a hit with the judges.
Charles has always had a flair for music, with two tracks to his credit, one of which is Adunni. All he needed was the exposure to showcase his singing talent, which meant he had to venture out of his comfort zone. He did, and it paid off in spectacular fashion.
Now the winner of a whopping N150,000,000 worth of prizes, his journey has indeed just started, as he faces an exciting challenge to break through the ranks in Nigeria’s music industry. His journey will undoubtedly be filled with obstacles and more crowning moments, all of which are the makings of a rich, inspiring, and eventful career.
For the uninitiated, Access The Stars was birthed by foremost Nigerian beer, Star Lager, in conjunction with one of the most innovative banks in the Nigerian industry, Access Bank. The two entities’ partnership was not only forged in their intersecting strengths and focus but also formed the crux of the competition, which was aptly titled ‘Access The Stars’. Through this platform, the brands sought to give hidden gems access to shine by discovering, polishing and showcasing them to Nigerians, Africans and the world.
Though the maiden edition, one cannot help but commend the organisers for delivering a show full of excitement and a compelling narrative. In summation, it was a breath of fresh air, and it is no surprise that it was, given the caliber of organisers involved.
For years, Star Lager has remained committed to discovering raw talents at the grassroots level, nurturing and developing them into stars in their own right. This is evidenced through shows such as the Star Quest in the early 2000s, which produced music stars such as Diamondz, and more notably KC Presh. The premium beer brand also organised consumer-focused music shows such as the Star Mega Jam and Star – The Trek, in which fans were treated to star-studded events and local talents were given opportunities to showcase their talents across Nigeria. Access Bank, on the other hand, is the brain behind the Born in Africa Festival (BAFEST), whose focal point is to creatively fuse music, art, film, and fashion to uniquely tell the African story.
To ensure inclusivity for the Access The Stars Competition, the organisers ensured that all regions across the country were visited, with auditions in six cities — Lagos, Abeokuta, Abuja, Calabar, Onitsha and Owerri. In each city, the judges were met with a myriad of diverse talents. Unfortunately, these teeming talents in each region had to be whittled down to 30 by the regional judges, after which they were cut down to five each by celebrity judges, Seyi Shay, Kaffi, and TY Mix. Two contestants representing each city would eventually make it into the Bootcamp, with a surprise 13th contestant selected via another audition on social media.
The partnership between Star and Access Bank was perhaps one of the core strengths of the Access the Stars show, as both brands remained flexible to ensure the show went on and even employed the use of new media to adapt to the unique circumstances the world is facing today.
The finale of the competition was entirely a virtual experience — the first of its kind in Nigeria — as it held on YouTube and Instagram. Not only was this an ingenious use of the platforms, but also an introduction to a novel way to watch competition-based reality TV shows. As the country watched on, the experience was entirely shared as live comments flocked in, most of them expressing their anxiety as to who would turn out to be the winner. Recording thousands of viewers as the finale aired online, this was a testament to the spellbinding grip the competition had on its viewers as they went out of their way to watch the much-anticipated finale.
No doubt, when brand activities are reviewed at the end of the year, there must be fair shouts for Access The Stars for spinning the curveballs to their advantage, ultimately delivering innovative and unique experiences to its audience. Instead of cancellation, which would have been an option for many, the show saw to it that, in spite of the circumstances within which the country found herself, a star was born; now ready to wade his way through the already competitive Nigerian music Industry.