Friday, May 23, 2008

The Night the Stars Went Home...

TV - Reality - The Gist

All photos courtesy of the Star Quest site

It was the finest of nights and it was the most horrible of nights. In one fell swoop, 3 of the 6 most talented rising bands in Nigeria had to kiss the silver screen and their millions of faithful viewers goodnight and go home.

In any typical TV Reality show, every Eviction event holds its own unique place but no other reality show does Eviction Night like Star Quest does. Only SQ has kept the distinction of having the best and worst night rolled into one and hours after watching the 3 bands with the least votes go home, the butterflies in many a tummy were yet to settle.

The seriously-dreaded, long-awaited, stomach-churning night eventually had to come around no matter how far away we viewers and they, the contestants wanted to put it off. Nigeria Breweries PLC’s talent show was gradually winding down and Eviction Night, 11:30 pm Thursday 8th May to 12:30 am Friday was the one of the signals heralding the end.

Expulsion night began with a recap of the pre-Eviction acts held the previous night where each band put in their best and sang their hearts out to solicit for hard-earned votes. Six blistering performances later, the contestants decided to do something that had never been done before in all the 4 Seasons of Star Quest; they all jointly composed and presented a Thank You song!

With all the unforgettable events that went on in Fameland, this was undoubtedly the most excellent. For a moment all divisions and band affiliations were forgotten as the 36 contestants threw in their individual and collective best to express their appreciation for being given the shot at celebrity status. The vocalists showcased the wonderful power of their chords as they hit their high notes, the horns led and the guitars followed smoothly like butter and silk; it was just simply beautiful, flaws and all…

But eventually, the instruments were silenced, the 36 Talents went to their rooms and the Deep Voice of Doom began the dreaded announcements. And soon the turntable stopped turning and the party ended for B-Sixz, Spectrum and Next…

The way the axe fell must have surprised many especially as the lack-luster Expozee got to stay at the expense of their better contemporaries like B-Sixz (which every other band said were the best apart from themselves). Also shocking was the elimination of the hardworking, confident, gender-equal Next whose female vocalists always strove to show their lyrical versatility while the only female drummer, Tope “Top Sticks” Odebiyi displayed her percussion prowess for the band.

But then, it was the votes that really, really counted…

And so the die was cast for the 3 other bands that would go on to make history: Expozee, Da Heritage and The Diamonds.

I Apologize… Straight From The Heart...

Dear Good People,

How ironic it is that Nemesis seems to have finally caught up with me… After raging, ranting and raving about mediocrity, it is very sobering when you start becoming the very same thing you detest.

That’s the mood I’ve found myself these past few weeks. There is no true excuse really, only that the pressures of keeping a 6-days-a-week, 8 to 6 job (as opposed to a 9 to 5), suffering chronic insomnia and unwholesome dieting has finally taken its toll on me. And so Media Nemesis has had to suffer for my sins.

Anyway, before I go blabbing away, this is to tender my UNRESERVED apologies for not updating my posts as at when due. It was due to all the above reasons plus ICT issues beyond my control.

As a result, several back-dated posts will appear on this blog for a while leading off with the continuation of the Star Quest coverage up until fresher stuff starts becoming the staple like before.

Please bear with me…

Thank you,

JX “Naughty Eyes” Nemesis

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Speaking of STAR QUEST…

TV - Reality - The Gist

Photos courtesy of the STAR QUEST site

Yeah, I know it’s still early days to start casting stones but we can start casting votes, can’t we? Checked out the Saturday April 26th 10:00pm broadcast of Nigeria’s best (absolutely my opinion) Music/Talent Reality show and I must say the six groups did impress with the a capella task they had been given to accomplish that day.

The 36 contestants are still too reserved to start displaying their individual flaws, flairs and despairs but the female vocalists are already proving the audition judges correct in selecting them from the myriads of entrants. Was it just coincidence or did it seemed that whatever they had vocally, they totally lacked in female fashion sense? Also most of the band leaders (they are all male by the way) put on lack-luster appearances when introducing their bands and the title of their songs. Their carriage and personalities came across as relatively dull. Rather disappointing describes it best...

Just in case you haven’t still caught the buzz before now, the six bands are: B-Sixz, Da Heritage, Spectrum, Next, Expozee and Diamonds. Jungle Filmworks, the TV production company, were even so kind as to show us part of the band-naming process but someone should have mildly cautioned Next for choosing a name that lacks originality. The members of Expozee should learn to stick to just one pronunciation of their band name too.

Based on their a capella, all the bands stood out though Expozee’s (whose members had a knack for saying, “My names are…”) piece came across as flat especially after Next’s gripping yet very traditional costume and tune. Ajumoke of The Diamonds also carried the day as the unofficial best female vocalist and boy, did she flaunt it. That voice still has a lot of great places to go with proper nurturing.

Feeling like you’re missing out already? Like I mentioned earlier, it’s still early days so it’s not too late to start sleeping days, keeping awake nights and praying PHCN doesn’t strike. Can’t wait to see the fireworks begin when the individuality clashes, band-member poaching and eviction worries become the staple of the show.

I’ll keep you posted…

PS: My votes for the four best bands already? They are: Next, B-Sixz, Da Heritage and Diamonds (not in that order, though). Let’s see how prophetic I’ll be!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Yet another Award Ceremony…

TV - Event - The Gist

Photos for this post are courtesy of Funmi Iyanda's blog

Saturday 26th April circa 2000 hours G.M.T plus 1 was the day, date and time and the TV was the way and held the sway. N.T.A. decided to infiltrate our airwaves with the broadcast of yet another Award ceremony, this time the 2008 UBA/AMMA Awards (so named by the organizers). Somehow I had managed to miss the hype surrounding the event so it was a pleasant surprise of sorts as opposed to the excessive hype that has heralded similar Award events this year.

Broadcast time kicked off with the Red Carpet event anchored by Klint da Drunk and I-honestly-don’t-know-who and typical of any Nigerian award ceremony the usual glitches began unraveling way right from the start. The poor audio, uncoordinated appearances by artistes on the Red Carpet and the NTA network cutting into the broadcast with their Abuja mini-documentary and “Heart of Africa” advertorial inserts (hey! I thought UBA was sponsoring the event?) totally ruined the already soiled Red Carpet. Klint did work hard at being funny but mercifully, NTA pathetically salvaged the situation by cutting in again around 2100 hours (that seemed to be the only thing NTA was good at anyway) for “Weekend Extra”- the weekend news package.

AMAA broadcast resumed one hour later smack-dab in the Award ceremony itself with petite comics Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme announcing the categories and ushering in the announcers for each nomination. Their not too heavy vocal sparring did manage to keep a slightly upbeat tempo on things though Kunle Afolayan seemed to have other things in his mind when called to announce his nominees. Seems he probably just missed his sleep… or who knows, maybe Aki and Paw-paw’s occasionally assassinated English put him to sleep!

The night held its Brightest and Best Moments when Basorge Tariah Jnr ABSOLUTELY murdered that stage with his well-aimed barbs at notably Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, P-Square’s “Do Me” track and the millions of Nigerian movie fans who according to him address him as “one of the actress”. His humorous recollection of his Immigration experiences and trying to pass himself off as a striking semblance of Martin Lawrence tore everyone’s ribs apart – GUARANTEED!

Timi Dakolo’s renditions of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” and the ending line of “I Don’t Know Much (But I Know I Love You)” proved once again why he wears the Idol West Africa crown at least till this year. His totally A+ performance undoubtedly made the ladies squeal their hearts out and made the guys jealous as usual.

The FCT Minister was another surprise, successfully proving he wasn’t just a politician in a stuffed shirt as he regaled his audience with his attempts at auditioning while seriously championing Abuja as an AMAA venue. It was tempting enough to wish more politicians were like him…

Speaking of venues, the set decorations were very good too and the LCD panels seemed to be functioning as expected. There did occur one ugly moment of total blackout though if the lighting was at fault or if NTA lost the signal wasn’t too certain. What was for certain was that everyone was literally left in the dark when the hall was darkened during the screening of the nominees’ video clips.

The Goge Africa lovebirds were on hand to showcase their exceptional onscreen romance and Isaac Moses did look good with his woven hair no matter the distaste with which the men in black suits might hold such a hairstyle. He seemed to concede to corporate Nigeria though by reappearing in an Afro hairdo and business suit for his UBA Mortgages advert which screened after the mandatory sponsor’s speech which NTA (gratefully) cut again.

Another person who truly deserves kudos is whoever conceptualized the logo for the Awards. Though it was a straightforward merger of the UBA and AMAA marques the effect was graceful, simple yet graphically astounding.

Reading through this piece, what might be instantly noticeable is the lack of mention of the African movies that made the AMAA lineup. Well, the supposedly 3-hour broadcast barely managed to scrape through in roughly 50 minutes scarcely affording home viewers the chance to analyze the big movie winners or the sore losers - the very essence of the AMAA in the first place. Watching on TV made it a totally useless exercise trying to comment on any of the featured movies and their categories unless the reviewer was at the AMAA venue itself.By 2200 hours, NTA terminated broadcast of The AMAA to switch over to yet another Network Service program thus successfully ruining their Live Broadcast of Nigeria’s premier African Movie award ceremony. Their choice for a replacement? The Nigerian Breweries PLC Music Reality show, Star Quest!

Now we know who paid bigger money…

PS: My advice? They are three actually:

1. First, Nigerian event managers should plan on how to iron out the hitches and glitches from Award ceremonies especially the Red Carpet events where sound and artiste coordination are the biggest headaches. Better mics, please?

2. NTA spent most of the day running into countless hours uselessly broadcasting a boring Live discussion programme on the Adamawa State bye-elections called “Adamawa Decides” and yet they couldn’t effortlessly broadcast the AMAA without broadcast signal flops and audio losses. Little wonder the word “nta” in the Ibo language which means small aptly reflects their ability and mentality.

3. Assuming you had the patience to stay awake till the botched ending of the AMAA broadcast, you might as well have sacrificed the next hour to watch Star Quest. It was definitely more satisfying than the AMAA.See ya next post!

PSs: Just for those who think I'm just bashing the AMAAs or NTA, no problem... While I thought the broadcasting was crap, just check out the views of someone who was live at the event!