Was invited to the grand finale of WEST AFRICAN IDOLS, a straight contest between Omawumi and Timi, by a producer of the competition. Attempting to find parking space was a traumatic experience for everyone and the programme scheduled to start at 5pm didn’t start till upwards of 7pm.
I finally made it in through a row of bouncers at the venue, Planet One, that ensured only people with invitations were allowed in. The bold, the cool and the beautiful were present, perfumed and all with a sprinkling of not-so-cool people who had managed to obtain tickets and proved a nightmare for all those who tried to be seated through the event.
The ambience of the venue was great, lighting arrangement was fantastic, laser beams of different colours tinting the audience, and the sound effects extrardinary. The seating arrangement of Planet One was a flat one unlike the layered seating of many theatres. This ensured that if a lunatic sat in the seat before yours and had uncontrollable urges to hop up every time there was an exciting moment, you would have problems enjoying the show. These strange people were adequately represented in the audience and you could hear people, seething with rage, telling the hoppers, “Sit down. Sit down, please”.
All the top ten finalists were present and performed either as part of a group or as a duet (Uche and Jodie).
At every opportunity, the brainpower-challenged judge, Dede Mabiaku reminded the whole of Africa that the two finalists came from the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, an appeal to tribal sentiments that is the bane of unity in Nigeria and on the continent as a whole.
Both finalists however were charismatic, talented and knew how to work the crowd. Omawumi was sensuous, long legged and used her appeal well while Timi showed he had discovered what was meant by Star appeal. Omawumi's overt (and therefore threatening) sex appeal might have shot her in the foot with female voters who make up the majority in voters for shows like this.
When the result was announced by the anchor, Magic Mike, Timi had become the first winner of the maiden edition. He and Omawumi hugged, he cried, knelt to praise his creator and sang his new song again, “I love you”, heard for the first time yesterday.
Timi will go far.
As the first risers tried to make it through the exit before the huge crush, we met the doors barred with a bouncer standing in the way and telling us we had to wait till the end, as the recording hadn’t finished. The Nigerian factor. My logical explanation that I didn’t sign a contract to stay till the very end didn’t impress the “crowd designer”.
As I stood contemplating the bouncer, a voice next to me said, “The people voted. If it had been up to those three judges, Omawumi would have won”.
It’s good to know some election results get counted properly.