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Nigerian Idol: Running the show

By Ayeni Adekunle
Posted on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 14:18

The first ever series has secured big-brand funding, notable industry judges – and an audience hungry ?for talent contest

Who better to perform at the opening of the first-ever Nigerian Idol than Timi Dakolo, winner of the sole West African Idol held in 2007? Dakolo’s career is still waiting to lift off, following the unfortunate manner in which the organisers of West African Idol handled the months following his win.

When Optima Media Group, through director Chichi Nwoko, announced in mid-2010 that it had secured the rights to produce a Nigerian version of the show, many treated the news with scepticism. All that is now history. Securing funding from Etisalat, Pepsi and Royal Exchange, Nigerian Idol has taken off with critical success. In a country where television talent contests such as MTN Project Fame and Star Quest bring in big audiences, Nigerian Idol is fitting in perfectly.

The judges are as good as they come: Jeffrey Daniel – Shalamar singer and former choreographer for Michael Jackson; Audu Maikori – chief executive of Chocolate City and revered hip hop talent scout; and Yinka Davies, mentor to singer-songwriter Asa. And the contestants? A quick glance through the enthusiastic online comments gives credit to the rich talent that the producers and their selectors have been able to draw from the length and breadth of Nigeria.

We still have until March to enjoy the Sunday night show before the country finds who comes out on top.

This article was first published in the February 2011 edition of The Africa Report

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