My take on Vodafone Icons, MTN Hitmaker finals

Last week, music reality shows, Vodafone Icons Remix Edition and MTN Hit-maker 3 came to what many will call a successful end at the National Theatre, the nation’s premiere event venue.

The Icons Remix Edition which is sponsored by Vodafone was the first to end on Wednesday with Chris winning the title. He finally became a winner of a reality show, after trying his luck at similar competitions in the past.

Two days after that, the MTN Hit-Maker took place on Friday with Togbe controversially emerging as the winner.

Going by what happened at the Hit-Maker final and Togbe’s triumph, I got the impression that perhaps the organisers went out there looking for someone who could best represent the yellow brand and not necessarily to look for the best talent. But I have to quickly concede that I did not have information about voter scores which may have influenced the verdict.

Prior to the finals of both shows, I had only seen one live performance of Icons and saw none of Hit-Maker.

From what I saw, I felt Chris was the favourite to win Icons.

I knew he was going to win because of his past experience from other reality shows.

I don’t believe in anything that has to be decided through voting but for Hit-Maker, I trusted the judges to pick the right talents to the finals to battle it out. From the moment the finals started and after the first round of performances, Snow B established himself as the favourite.

He sounded more like an established act than an amateur who was looking for a platform to launch himself.

One could feel the genuineness of Snow B from his voice, his composition and his attitude on stage. Watching him, two things came to mind; one was Okyeame Kwame for his clean and well thought out lyrics and Samini for his stage performance. If I’m not exaggerating, he can easily go commercial with all his songs.  So why couldn’t he win? Did he not attract enough votes?

Here are some other observations I made.

People make ugly noises, but don’t vote

The public are often alloted a percentage of votes in such reality competitions and Icons and Hit-Maker was no exception.

But it came out that, the fans don’t really vote at all or perhaps their votes are not enough to help their favourite contestants.

For example, Cina was highly tipped to win the Icons competition. The applause and the cheers she received at the auditorium whenever her name and video was shown were overwhelming but surprisingly, she didn’t even make the last three. She was evicted alongside Ratty, another contestant who was well cheered.

At  Hit-Maker, the eventual winner got the least applause but he sailed through, perhaps at the expense of Mac-M who had lots of followers on the night.

If only these fans would back their needless noise that sometimes interrupts the judges at these shows with voting!

Stagecraft and choreography

One thing to be proud about this year is the contestant’s stagecraft and how well their performances were coordinated and dances choreographed. Almost all the contestants had mind boggling stagecraft.

Considering what happened and the fact that, they are not mainstream yet but upcoming, they need to be encouraged. Anyone who had seen the Ada  video from Flavour from Nigeria, can attest to how elaborate it is, and for a wannabe musician like Chris to enact the video in his performance on the Icons stage means a lot.

One also cannot forget how Ratty appeared on the stage with two of his friends pushing a truck loaded with goods as he performed No Shortcut to Heaven by M.anifest and Obrafour.

Hit-Maker had the better dramatic stagecraft. Snow B in one of his performances appeared on stage with two angels to bless him before his performance in addition to his well choreographed dance movements with his dancers.

Togbe also appeared like a herbalist to rescue a girl who had been kidnapped. It was beautiful as he rapped in Ewe to save the girl from the hands of the kidnappers.

In the penultimate round, Togbe appeared as a chief with his subjects, including dancers and priestesses, in what looked like a durbar as he rapped from a palanquin.

Contestants’ writing and singing skills

I  observed that  Icons contestants appeared to have the wow factor and better singing voices than Hit-Makers.

They also looked more professional even though they performed other musician’s songs. Their challenge was mostly how to make someone’s song sound bertter than the original.

But when it comes to writing of their own songs, the Hit-Makers were better prepared as each of them performed their own songs throughout the competition.

They demonstrated  better writing skills but were not neccessarily better singers.

Judges,  Mcees and scores information

Both shows had five contestants in the final and the number was cut down to three before the winners were determined.

At no point did the MCs tell the patrons the scores of each contestants before they were evicted from the show.

Shouldn’t a patron know how their favourite contestants did before leaving the competition?

Again, the judges were there to do a professional job but instead some ended as praise singers.

Sometimes it appears ridiculous to the patrons when a judge  comes in to sing praises when obviously the contestant is doing badly.

I observed less praise singing from the Icons judges as compared to the Hit-Maker judges. When Chris won the Icons, one could see the happiness and the smiles on the faces of the judges and the patrons; I did not see the same when Togbe was announced as Hit-Maker winner.

What else is there to say?  Nothing except congratulations to both winners.

By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz

Togbe and Chris, winners of MTN Hitmakers and Vodafone Icons Remix Edition

Togbe and Chris, winners of MTN Hitmakers and Vodafone Icons Remix Edition


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