WHEN Glo-sponsored X Factor reality show kicked off with the 9 top contestants at the Dream Studios, Ankara Boi, it was who was first ushered to the stage. You could see the excitement in the countenance of music icon, Onyeka Onwenu when she announced his entry, almost jumping to the stage herself. The young man is one of the three contestants under her custody as mentor. And now that he is out of the competition, she is left with just two. But of Onyeka felt so bad that one of her mentees has been kicked out for securing the least votes from the public, then she must be taking consolation in the fact that her fellow contestant on the judges’ table; Ghanaian Reggie Rockstone, already had two of his mentees booted out. The only judge who has his three singers intact till date is Nigerian hip hop sensation, Jude Abaga, aka M.I.
Expectedly, there was tension in the house during last week’s show because it was certain that one contestant will be leaving the stage. Thus, when Toolz, the host of the show took to the stage amidst loud cheers, the tension enjoyed a truce because as usual, the lady’s elegant build excites many. The radio presenter spotted a lovely, shiny, black ankle-length dress with a glittering silver belt to match.
When she asked what the judges felt about the performances of the contestants so far, Onwenu, unfortunately, was the only judge who exhibited some pride, showing off with her three contestants. “I’ll like to talk about my children’, she said. “Ankara Boi, Eshum and Vicky; the level of artistry they have displayed has been mind-blowing. You can take them anywhere in the world and they will perform; they have impressed me immeasurably”.
Rockstone was modest with is assessment when he said: “I think they did great. Judging from reaction on Twitter, people think they did well. They worked hard, Symphony is still in the house, and I am happy.” Symphony is the sister group to SmoothBoiz and DNA groups that were earlier evicted.
But turning to MI, Toolz asked, “Who has underwhelmed you in the house?” The rapper too, was very diplomatic with his response: “We’ve gotten rid of those people a long time ago. The final nine are really good, and I’m terrified every time I come here because I don’t know who’s going home.”
Just as the audience was itching to know the two contestants up for elimination, Toolz announced a pleasant surprise that Glo ambassador Waje would be performing, and the news was received with squeals of delight.
The diva sashayed on stage in a black top and shimmering purple knee-length skirt as she took her place in front of the microphone. She rendered an inspirational song off her W.A.J.E. album, and the crowd floated away with her as she sang. Immediately after Waje’s performance, the seven contestants were called on stage, and in a show of solidarity, they all held hands nervously as they took their positions.
As Toolz collected the green envelope containing the results from the representative of Alexander Forbes, a girl in the audience closed her eyes and said to her friend, “I can’t watch this. My favourite contestant must not leave this competition otherwise, I’ll faint here.”
Knowing that the tension in the studio was high and playing on it a little, Toolz lingered for a few moments before reading out the content of the card. She revealed that Ankara Boi and Symphony were the two contestants voted by Africa to face the judges for survival.
Supporters of the two contestants were alarmed. The announcement apparently was a relief to the fans of the contestants who were not on the danger list.
Symphony, who were up for elimination for the second time, took to the microphone first as they performed “I don’t wanna close my eyes.” It was evident the ‘boy group’ still wanted to remain in the house as they gave their all to the performance. After the performance, which was appreciated with a resounding applause, Toolz said to them, “You gave 120%”. “Yes, we want to stay!” the boys chorused, slightly out of breath.
For his survival performance, Ankara Boi, ditched his gangster coat and came on stage barefoot to render “Gotham City” by R. Kelly. He invested all his strength and energy into the performance, and as his eyes misted over, it was apparent that he did not expect to be up for eviction. Midway into his performance, however, the very handsome contestant could not take it anymore as he broke down in tears.”I put in a lot of emotions,” he told Toolz as tears dropped down his cheeks.
When it was time for the judges’ verdict, Onyeka said, “Ankara Boi has been consistent. He knows how to express his inner child. He has empathy and he brings it to every song. I’ll like to see him go to the next gala show.”
Reggie said, “Like in all things I do, I like to thank God for being here; can I get an African Amen,” and the audience chorused, “Amen!”. “My boys, “Symphony, Reggie continued, “have been through a lot and they’re still here. I’ll go with them.”
It was now left to MI to cast the deciding vote, and everybody was eager to hear what he would say. “I’ve not been a huge fan of Symphony. I’m a bigger fan of Ankara Boi, but tonight, I think Symphony was eager to go to the next stage. Ankara Boi came in looking defeated already. I think Ankara Boi is more talented, but because of their courage, I’ll go with Symphony boys.” With that verdict, Ankara Boi’s fate was sealed.
He came back for his last performance in a stunning white tuxedo that had the females preening for him, with many standing up to applaud him. Other contestants came back on stage to join him as he poured his heart out. They turned to impromptu back-up singers to assist their colleague when his voice was too shaky to project out of the microphone.
Onyeka could not hide her emotions as she said to him, “It’s not over yet; you’ve made an impact. You have a great career ahead of you.”
Speaking after the show, the evictee confessed, “I really wanted to win and I’m sad to be going home. But it was a wonderful opportunity, and I can assure you that you’ll be hearing a lot from me. I’m going to miss the contestants and the judges, most especially my mummy, Onyeka.”
Ankara Boi also paid tribute to Glo for giving him and others the opportunity to participate in X Factor. “It has been a great platform and I am particularly grateful to Glo for making this possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, the family of DNA Twins, who got evicted from X Factor last week, has praised Globacom for offering the twins and other contestants a platform to showcase their talent to a global audience.
Mother of the 17-year-old twins, Mrs Becky Roberts, who spoke on behalf of the family, said that Glo had, through X Factor, enabled her children to sharpen their singing skills and gain vital experience that will help them in pursuit of their music career.
Mrs Roberts made the comments at a Homecoming reception held for the DNA Twins at the Ceedi Plaza, Abuja, on Saturday. “I am very proud of my boys. Although I would have wanted them to get to the final and, maybe, win the competition, I am happy that they made it this far. I knew they are hardworking boys and that they are good singers, but I did not imagine they would get this far in the competition. To have been picked for the Top 9 from the thousands of youths who auditioned for the show across West Africa is incredible. I thank God for that,” she stated.
The DNA Twins themselves also expressed gratitude to Globacom for projecting them to national and international audience through X Factor. “We were disappointed that we have been evicted, but we believe everything happens for a purpose. We believe that God who brought us this far has a plan for us. For us, anything is possible now We will use the experience and exposure to build on our musical dream. People should look out for us in the near future,” the duo said.
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