May 16, 2007

Idols West Africa - Eric Bows Out

Idols West Africa is fast approaching its climax. This week, 4 became 3 as the ladies' toast of the top 10 and the 2nd surviving male contestant Eric Arubayi was voted out. Dubbed "Fine Boy" by fellow contestants, the 24 year old has been reported to have more looks than voice talents. Indeed he has come a long way - outsmarting 2 outstanding male performers in his group within the top 24, and scaling through 6 evictions in the top 10. He has a good voice and the highest pitch for a guy in the top 10, however he never really used his voice to it's full potential. His final words were "I'm happy that I’ve come this far and thankful, very thankful. I believe it’s not over, it’s just the beginning.Thank you to Africa, thank you to Warri. And to the contestants, keep the dream alive, okay? And thank you Majic." I agree that it's not over for him, and I hope he keeps and actualizes his dream.

This week, Eric was the second performer of the night with Westlife's "Uptown Girl". He came on stage dressed the part and started off with some confidence. He also threw in some performance extras which included some Mic Stand swaying stunts. If only he had let go of his voice, his performance would have been excellent. Overall, he was just a little above average. His second performance was slightly better. Singing Boys II Men's "I'll make love to you", he started off well and did a couple of nice improvisations with the melody. It was the right kind of song for his voice, but he didn't really hit home. His usual modulation extra did not work too well for him this time and he went a bit off balance just before and after modulating. However, he made it up by exhibiting a dynamic voice range when he briefly broke into an ultra-high soprano pitch drawing applause from the audience. It was an OK performance, but not OK enough to keep him in. His hours were numbered and he was voted out.

In previous weeks, the contestants chose their songs. This week however, the songs were chosen by the producers of the contest. The best performances of the night were Timi's and Omawumi's first performances. Omawumi gave a rendition of Natasha Beddingfield's "I Bruise Easily", showing a unique stage creativity as she started off lying down on her back! She slowly came up after the verse and then proceeded to deliver a blend of voice and performance excellence. Looking dashing in a blue attire, she was caught up in the spirit of the song, without compromising her facial expressions. Her performance was excellent, and at the end she drew a standing ovation from the judges and audience. Her second song was Sheryl Crow's "First cut is the deepest". She delivered well, although not as excellent as her first performance. The best part was an oscillation of several notes in one sustained stretch ... which she pulled off quite well. Now that Jodie's gone, it's easy to see Omawumi's talent, and it's obvious she has improved greatly from her first performance.

Temitayo was first on stage this week with Madonna's "Like a prayer". Coincidentally and ironically, Ibitoru Green of Group 1 in the top 24 sang this same song making it the very first song to be sang at the Idols performances. Thus, there already existed a set standard, which Temitayo failed to meet. Her vocal talents fell way short and her stage presence loomed in the shadow of Ibitoru's performance. Her performance was just average and she introduced no extras. Her second performance was "True Colors" by Cindy Lauper. It was obviously not the best song for her voice and a couple of times she found it difficult to keep up with the flow. Towards the end, she attempted a sustained pitch which came out not too well and drove her voice into a strain. She managed to end it all gracefully without any fumbles. Her performance was relatively below average.

Timi was the last on stage during both performances. The producers had apparently studied his song choices and discovered they were all slow ballads and so they gave him two fast songs which were not exactly his style. Notwithstanding, he was outstanding in his first performance - a rendition of "Faith" by George Michael. He was all over the hall dancing and singing and he did a dance interlude right in front of the judges table! This was arguably the best performance of the night, and Timi showed he was not just about slow songs. Needless to say, the crowd was ecstatic at the end of this performance ... and it was this performance that actually saved his skin in the end. His second performance was George Benson's "Give Me The Night". Now, the producers must have been mean to give him such a song. George Benson is an accomplished musician, and he exhibits a skill built up from years of Jazz Guitar soloing. Asking Timi (who probably cannot play a musical instrument) to sing this song was just mean. He failed the test woefully, started off weakly, missed a note here, missed a few lines there and generally did not "get" it, in short this performance was just woeful. I was glad when the performance was over, but Timi apparently was far from glad. He knew he had messed up and he was quite remorseful as he waited for his judgment from the judges.

It seems the Idols performances have taken another turn for surprises. Last week, it was Mike Majic who surprised his long standing girlfriend with a proposal, this week it was Dede's turn to be surprised as the 4 contestants performed a brief quartet to mark his birthday, which took place on the 12th of May. After the performances, the contestants suddenly began singing a "Happy Birthday" song and they each took different lines of the song. The Fela protege, who has earned himself the title of "Judge Dredd" was awestruck and visibly moved by the gesture. He however refused to divulge his age and thanked Mike Majic "on behalf of his generation". The full gist can be found here.

So ended the Top 4 spectacular of the Idols West Africa Competition. If you would like to view the performances, you can download or play them from the website here. The final laps are about to begin. Someone else will go home next week leaving two people to fight for the crown. Now is the time to really vote, as many people will be desperate. I'd like to appeal to you to please watch the performances next week, observe well and vote for the best overall package. You can vote by SMS (instructions here) or on the site (here). Let's all put hands together and produce the first West African Idol. See you all next week.


laspapi said...

Thank you for stopping by, Tayo. Nice blog you have here. I like the updates of West African Idol.

ExcitedJade said...

everyone is going on abt this...i hope timi is still on, how u dey darl?

Tayo said...

@laspapi, thanks for dropping by. Hope to see you around more
@excitedjade, I dey o! Timi is still on. He seems to be in for a competition though, if Omawumi makes it to the top 2.

aloted said...

Finally, thot u weren't going to give us an update! :o)
I watched the show as well and i agree with you- Timi and Omawunmi's first performances were the best. Omawunmi really impressed me but men Timi messed up big time with the 2nd couldnt believe it. Are u sure it was the producers that were mean or that Timi sometimes allow the cheer and applause to get into his head (like Nana said). He did look remorseful though at the end.
Anyway pls o people make una vote o...Omawunmi and Timi are the only two fit to be the last 2 men standing.
Btw did you notice Timi was in tears when Eric was leaving...e yah!

catwalq said...

he was the only reason i always read the updates on the show...
so fine a guy

truth said...

Now that fine boy is off let the game begin.Ok that came off a bit harsh ehy? Com'on Eric lovers you know he wasn't gonna win it right? Obviously we'll still see much of him.

Tayo said...

@aloted, sorry o. I've been so caught up with lots of stuff lately. You know say I no go miss Idols update now?
@catwalq - sorry o! But he had it coming, really.
@truth, lol! Obviously, you're not one of the "Eric Lovers".