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Why Nigerian Idol is TV’s Biggest Singing Competition

By Chinonso Ihekire
30 April 2022   |   3:19 am
Nigerian Idol has been exposing its audience to new talents for many years since its inception in 2010. When the show went quiet for a few years between 2015 and 2020...

Adekunle Gold and Simi

Nigerian Idol has been exposing its audience to new talents for many years since its inception in 2010.

When the show went quiet for a few years between 2015 and 2020, fans missed it sorely and were beyond excited for its return in 2021, thanks to MultiChoice Nigeria. Since then, the show’s organisers have not failed to put the spotlight on the best singing talents.

Now in its seventh season, the competition received almost 10,000 hopefuls when auditions started in December 2021. After a careful selection, the judges – Obi Asika, Simi, and D’banj chose the top 12: Abigail, Banty, David Operah, Debby, Faith, Gerald, Itohan, Jordan, Joel, Precious, Progress, and Zadok.

Since the live shows began on Sunday, 20 March, collated votes have increased weekly from the 11 million votes first recorded. There are now only 7 contestants left in the competition.

Idol 7 contestants


Fans and music critics alike have noted on social media that the top 12 this season have been the best in a while. The show has aired for about eight weeks now, and these top 12 have been on TV screens across Africa. The show’s placement on MultiChoice’s streaming platform, Showmax, means that more fans in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have been watching the show.

However, the top 12 are just one of many other talents the show is putting out there. The panel of judges features Simi and D’banj, top-rated artistes in the country. Their place on the show doesn’t just add flavour; it also gives them great publicity. They sit weekly in front of millions globally and remind them they have great music that viewers of the show will also enjoy.

Likewise, every time a contestant performs a tune on the show, they remind viewers to stream those songs. They have featured many pieces created by Nigerian musicians, who, by extension, get all their flowers for creating good music. Contestants on the show have performed songs from acts like Timi Dakolo, Wizkid, Davido, Adekunle Gold and Yemi Alade. They’ve received praises from artistes like D’banj, Michael Bolton, Timi Dakolo, and Simi for performing their songs excellently. This proves that artistes see value when contestants cover their music on the show.

Nigerian Idol also spotlights choirs and orchestras who perform with contestants. They give each group a moment in the spotlight at the end of every show when they announce the band playing for the night.

So far this season, recording artiste Lauretta Cookey, 121 Selah, Ace Orchestra, and Ochiora, one of the hopefuls this season who didn’t make it to the top 12, have played alongside the contestants. Famous Nigerian dancer, Kaffy, choreographed the fifth live show. Her dance crew also performed with the top 8 contestants, getting a chance to remind Nigerians why she’s considered the best dancer in the country.

Beyond the exposure the show gives to every talent that gets on its stage, it also directly affects the Nigerian entertainment industry positively. It provides jobs for several young people who work behind and in front of the camera. The show employs several makeup artists, costume designers, hairstylists, photographers, editors, stage designers, and more. It also contributes new, fresh, talented personalities to Africa’s most prominent entertainment industry.

In the same vein, it affects the Nigerian economy by providing jobs for the creatives on the show. It also gives several brands a platform to showcase their products. This year alone, Bigi, Binance, and Tecno are showcasing their brands through the show as sponsors.

Speaking on Bigi’s sponsorship, Boluwatife Adedugbe, Assistant Brand Manager, Beverage and Bakery, Rite Foods Limited, said, “The Bigi brand is here for the second time to ensure that this season produces a crop of fresh talents who will be well-grounded to conquer both the local and global music scene. This aligns with Rite Foods’ commitment to promoting young talents and boosting the entertainment sector. We can’t wait to go with all contestants and viewers on this refreshing music journey.” Beyond a commitment to young talents, the brand would not return for a second year if there were no benefits to them also being on the show.

In 2021, Nigerian Idol received a record-breaking 14 million votes, including votes from SMS voting on MTN, Airtel and 9Mobile. Last year, the show’s winner Kingdom won a total grand prize of N50 million. At the judges reveal this year, Executive Head, Content & West Africa Channels, MultiChoice Nigeria, Dr Busola Tejumola, announced that this season’s winner’s prize would amount to 100 million Naira, part of which the government will receive taxes.

Looking further than just the show’s fiscal benefits, there is the emotional gratification it gives every viewer. Music lifts the spirits and speaks to the soul. According to John Hopkins Medical, “Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain and improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.”

The music has been exceptional with the calibre of talent on this year’s live shows. Each performance is yet another gift to the viewer listening to them. The show is bringing benefits to all involved – the participants, judges, creatives that work behind the scenes, the viewers and even the host country.

Meanwhile, the seventh season of the Nigerian Idol competition is down to its top six contestants following the exit of David Operah. Nigerian Idol host, IK Osakioduwa, delivered the news at the start of the Sunday live show after revealing that a total of 22 million votes were recorded the previous week. This leaves Banty, Faith, Jordan, Itohan, Progress and Zadok in the race to be crowned Nigerian Idol season 7 winner.

Sunday’s live show opened with the contestants delivering a colorful performance of D’banj’s 2013 hit song, Oliver twist. Season 6 winner, Kingdom Kroseide, and second runner-up, Akunna Okechukwu, joined them. The stars from last season’s show in a quick chat with IK on stage talked about the impact of the show on their careers and announced that they would be releasing new singles soon.

The theme for the night was ‘Afrobeats’ and the top six contestants took the stage to perform their selected songs with hopes of earning the judges’ nods and viewers’ votes.

Jordan opened the night with a fantastic rendition of Burna Boy’s Anybody. Despite the judge’s concern about his performance at the start, they all agreed he put up a good performance. Banty took the stage next, and she gave an impressive performance of Magixx and Ayra Starr’s Love Don’t Cost a Dime. Judge Simi commented on her joy in singing and being on stage. Itohan channelled Yemi Alade in her rendition of the singer’s song, Nagode. The judges praised her performance; however, they felt it wasn’t her best vocal work this season.

Zadok received a standing ovation from the judges and studio audience after performing Kizz Daniel’s Laye. D’banj described him as a born entertainer, adding that it came through in every one of his performances. Faith gave a beautiful cover of Ckay’s Emiliana, and the judges praised her strong vocals. Progress’ performance of Ayra Starr’s Bloody Samaritan was the night’s final performance. The judges remarked on his growth in the competition.

It wasn’t all singing and dancing in the Nigeria Idol live studio; Sunday night’s show also delivered a sweet surprise. Midway into the show, musician Adekunle Gold came on stage with a birthday cake for his wife and Nigerian Idol Judge, Simi. The two shared a loved-up moment to the admiration of the audience and viewers.

To crown what could best be described as a beautiful night of performances and pleasant surprises, Kingdom came back on stage to close out the live show with a performance of his new song, Shey You Go Dey.

The show airs on Sunday at 7 pm on Africa Magic Showcase (DStv channel 151), Africa Magic Urban (DStv channel 153 and GOtv Supa channel 6) and Africa Magic Family (DStv channel 154 & GOtv channel 2).

Fans can also vote for their favourites every Sunday from 9 pm to 9 pm every Thursday. Viewers can vote via the Africa Magic website, mobile site, and MyDStv and MyGOtv apps. They can also follow Nigerian Idol across all social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest details.