Nigerian Idol 7… 12 contestants set for live battle

After a month-long pruning process, the music jury trio of D’banj, Simi and Obi Asika were able to select the best of the best among the myriads of Nigerians that competed for the acclaimed Nigerian Idol Season 7. Some contestants had voices like angels, while some were just lush with jaw-dropping charisma. Nonetheless, the combination of their vocal strengths and stagecraft was the only ticket to the finale for the lot of amazing talents that showcased this season. From the look of things, it is definitely going to be a tough finale, as these finalists are not only vocally phenomenal, but they each have unique charismatic qualities that separate them. Let’s get to meet them…

When Debby Felix gave her performance of the 2009 Jordin Spark hit, Battlefield, it was a defining moment for this Benin-bred singer. This was the beginning of her stardom story, which saw her dazzle D’banj, Obi Asik and Simi all through the theatre week.

Beginning music at the tender age of seven, Debby honed her talent by performing covers of songs on social media, in church and at lounges. For the 25-year-old superstar-in-view, her go-to ritual before any performance is simply to gurgle water, smile and give herself pep talks. Her core strengths lie in her sonorous voice, as well as confident personality; because when Debby sings, Debby sings!

“I have a beautiful sound, and Nigerians are going to fall in love with it,” the 24-year-old Zadok confidently expressed after a gruelling theatre week.

From his audition performance of Michael Bolton’s 1991 hit, When A Man Loves A Woman, to several other renditions including a cover of Davido’s If, Zadok powered his way through the audience’s hearts as a singer per excellence. His background in business has also become an engine room for his resilience and grit, as the singer kept coming back with visible improvements in his stagecraft, week after week.

Before every performance, his go-to ritual includes making sure he gets enough sleep, as well as meditation. For Zadok, it will be a fierce battle among the other contestants; because it seems that there are multiple like-gifted talents among the finalists.

David Operah
Watching David Operah’s theatre week performance of Pillow Talk, by Zayn Malik, one would be fully convinced that the singer was a merchant of melodies. His most outstanding trait is his audacity, as anyone who knew the singer from the The Voice Nigeria edition, in 2016, would affirm that the singer is as rare as they come.

After wowing the judges with his theatre week performances, the singer is clear to the finale, with his arsenal of a lithe voice, a charismatic stagecraft and a mien filled with sincerity. For him, music is his outlet from all the stressors of life, being more of a therapy than even a profit-making venture.

Nonetheless, he has performed at several social functions including weddings, birthdays, as well as corporate events. His pre-performance ritual involves staying calm and doing a mental run-through of his performance.

For Gerald, music is beyond just an interest. Watching his cover of Mario’s 2004 Let Me Love You, during the theatre week, it was evident that Gerald brought his A-game into the contest. With Obi Asika’s head nodding fatefully as Gerald dished out his heart in his vocals, it was emotive for any viewer watching. With his powerful falsettos and jaw-dropping vocal range, Gerald became an eye candy in the show. And his captivating stagecraft only helped to ice an already wonderful cake.

According to him, music has always been his calling; and he always had an urge to sing almost anywhere and at any given chance. With a macho gait, he affirms that physical exercise; contemplation and prayers are his trinity of therapies to boost his confidence and delivery before he gets on any stage.

If the American superstar, Daniel Caesar, watched Jordan perform the cover to his 2017 soul-stirring bop, Best Part, he probably would jump on a duet immediately with him. Jordan came into the Nigerian Idol with a voice perfectly finessed to win the audience and jury over.

The 22-year-old Kaduna-bred singer is a student of the Ahmadu Bello University. And his personality is a course to be studied on its own; his laid-back mien, with a powerful lithe voice has made him the Justin Bieber or Jason Derulo of the show. And with every new performance, he keeps flying higher.

Delving into music production and song-writing, Jordan has been on a journey to explore the depths of his artistry since age 16, four years after he first discovered his talent in music. For him, music remains his ultimate form of expression, and his soul-stirring vocal cadence, range and texture is proof that the superstar is the next Michael Jordan of the Nigerian Idol.

For someone whose name aligns with her pursuit of fame, Faith has one sonic superpower: her vocal strength. “Uuuuuhh! Come on. Hell yes!!” one of the judges, Simi, was ecstatic after watching Faith’s rendition of Olivia Rodrigo’s Driver’s License, which piloted Faith through with a golden ticket.

All the judges were in awe, watching the 22-year-old chanteuse, as it appeared to be a debate within them of whether what they were hearing was real. Faith’s confidence booms through her slender gait, turning her into a Pop/RnB queen whenever she gets on the stage.

She started singing in her church choir in 2016, and decided it was the path for her because she finds so much happiness in music. Now, with her eyes set for the golden prize, Faith just keeps on doing what she does best, evidently putting all her happiness into it as she goes.

Another singer whose name lives true to its legacy, Progress is one firebrand artiste who has given the other contestants a run for their effort. His rendition of Justin Bieber’s Yummy, during the theatre week, was so amazing that it got the jury clapping. Progress has been on a pedestal of growth since his audition stages, dusting off the pressure that comes with competing against other like-spirited singers.

His musical superpower is his mid-tempo vocal range, and he always seems to get the best songs that match his voices. After going to a musical competition at the age of 16, Progress knew instantly that he wanted to be a singer. For him, the Nigerian Idol is one step in his dream to becoming a superstar and meeting his idol Jonathan McReynolds.

The Benin City maverick, Banty, is another heavyweight among the amazons in the show. Her rendition of The Weekend’s Blinding Lights is proof of her sonical star-power.

The music, tech and gaming enthusiast knew she wanted to be a singer, because she always sang regardless of what she was busy with. She started singing when she was 8-years-old and has since then performed mainly at church. For her, physical drills like jumping, sun-bathing and holding deep conversations with people. The Teyana Taylor-wannabe is definitely poised for the win.

The Port Harcourt-bred chanteuse, Itohan, is definitely one for the record books; the 17-year-old Economics undergraduate is one who defies the odds that come with competing against people older and more experienced. Her stagecraft positions her as a very mature singer, with a deep well of passion.

Her cover of Rihanna’s 2009 mega-hit, Unfaithful, cemented her prowess in the minds of the audience and the jury. For her, composing and performing music has been a childhood fantasy and she has been living every day of her life chasing that dream.

When 23-year-old Joel Adiele sings, everyone stops to listen. His rendition of Calum Scott’s Dancing On My Own at the theatre week was the light bulb moment where his sonical prowess shone to the world.

For Joel, music has been a family thing; as his father and siblings always sang since his teenage years. He seizes the opportunity to perform music every chance he gets. And his pre-performance ritual of observing a sacred silence is just another testament of how deep a singer he is.

When Abigail Okara sings, she pours her emotion into it. The 28-year-old chanteuse is also an enigmatic stage performer. She had always known she wanted to be a singer right from childhood and luckily had the support of her parents.

Apart from being in a band, Abigail soars for being a sonorous lead singer. Her performance of Chrissette Michele’s A Couple Of Forevers at the theatre week was an intense and emotionally-laden delivery, which got the judges smiling. For someone with Abigail’s vocal strength, it will be interesting to see the dynamics of music styles that she could take on even after the show.

Precious Oki stands out for her vocal range and its Beyonce-esque texture. Among all the other contestants, the 20-year-old’s voice stands out effortlessly, reflecting the star-factor in the Bayelsa native.

From age 16, she was already sure that music was her path, and she has taken her voice to every ear that cares to listen. Her performance of Jazzmine Sullivan’s Pick Up Your Feelings at the theatre week was a mirror split version of a Beyonce grand performance. Her cadence complements her confidence so strongly that within a few seconds one will be awe-struck of her talent.

The Beyonce-wannabe also has an interesting pre-performance ritual of staying silent and saying a short prayer. And at this stage, like everyone else, she definitely is one in need of those prayers that will propel her to stardom.(The Guardian)