By Osagie Alonge
After several months of thorough training, breath taking performances and tear-shedding scenarios, the first ever Nigerian Idol TV reality show has come to an end. The 26-year-old Onyeka Gilbert popularly known as Yeka Onka on Sunday March 27, 2011 has been announced as the winner of Nigerian Idol 2011.
The grand finale was nothing but a glorious show with laudable performances, fantastic renditions, emotional moments, beautiful costumes plus a thousand other things. An event of such will sink into the minds of the contestants, judges, guests and viewers for a while.
The main event started with the 13 finalists gracefully rendering the Nigerian National Anthem. The judges Jeffery Daniels, Yinka Davies and Audu Maikori were as usual seated and ready to watch the last two contestants Yeka Onka and Naomi Mac perform one last time as one of them would be declared winner of the show.
Hosts Anis and Misi, looking stunning as always set the ball rolling; the other 11 evicted contestants were called upon for one last time to perform a Black Eyed Peas single, the smash hit ‘I got a feeling’.
Anis then called on the R&B star Banky W, the first of three guest performers of the evening on the stage. Banky thrilled the crowd with his popular hit ‘Strong ting’ but it was Timi Dakolo, winner of the West African Idol 2007 that stole the night with a standing ovation. Fast rising R&B singer Praiz also wowed the crowd with a ballad. The dazzling Tiwa Savage and buzzing Retta were among the other acts who performed at the grand finale pre show.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Yeka and Naomi got on stage to render the Christie Essien Igbokwe ‘Seun rere’ song. Little did anybody know that the legendary singer would join the two girls on stage! Tears filled the eyes of many as they swayed side to side singing along.
For a final treat, Yeka and Naomi rendered the same songs they had performed at their first ever auditions. Yeka went first with Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ while Naomi followed with Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the world’.
The time finally came for the winner to be declared. Steve Evans, C.E.O Etisalat Nigeria then pronounced Yeka Onka the winner of the reality TV Show. The announcement came as a surprise to some who thought Naomi would be the winner while others celebrated joyfully as Yeka fell to her knees in the euphoria.
‘I am really excited for this, it took me a while to get to this point, I was rejected in Enugu and Abuja, before I came down to Lagos and then I got the golden ticket. I loved the experience, all through the six months, And now here I am walking away with the grand prize’, an ecstatic Yeka said.
‘I just want to say that Naomi too deserved to win this competition, she’s my friend and I love her’, she further expressed. She also went ahead to thank the judges most especially Audu Maikori, stating in her bid to please them; she had become better at her singng.
She then went on to perform ‘Champion’, the Nigerian Idol theme song produced by Jesse Jagz.
Yeka, a former beauty queen in Abia State, had been to two other auditioning zones, Calabar, Enugu before she was eventually picked in Lagos. Emerging as winner, she now goes home with 7.5Million naira courtesy, a brand new car and a Sony entertainment TV center.
Naomi, the 1st runner up, walks away with N1.5M cash prize, a Blackberry phone, iPad, iPod, Easy Card, Standing Fridge, PS3 and other goodies.
‘Here’s a toast to Onyeka who beat all the odds by becoming the first Nigerian Idol, she thoroughly deserves her victory and we should all applaud her and support her’, Rotimi Pedro MD of Optima Media Group, owners of the Nigerian Idol franchise implored.
After a successful debut, producers of the TV show are already working on the follow up season as audition forms become available on the official website www.nigerianidol.com at midnight on March 27, 2011.
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