The last time I wrote about The Voice Nigeria, we were still watching the Blind Auditions. What comes after the Blind Auditions is the Battle Round. And last Sunday saw week two of The Battles. But I must begin from week one of The Battles.
Ifeoma, 32, singing against Olla, 20, from Team Yemi opened The Battles with Whitney Houston’s version of I’m Every Woman. Ifeoma would go on to be declared winner of that battle through the only declaration that counts-that of the coach. And in this case, Coach Yemi picked her over Olla. I thought Olla did well though. You could say I preferred her but Ifeoma had more hunger. In any case, as would become fairly obvious battle after battle, there were quite a few good singers who didn’t win their battles. And not always because of their voices. It could be something as intangible as looking too complacent. And no one is going to confess they didn’t like the looks of a particular contestant. Remember that when the coaches first turn, they don’t see the person singing which is why the first stage is called Blind Audition.
Any way you look at it, battles are meant to be hard. After working together and forming a bond, having to pick one of your contestants over the other can feel like being made to choose between your kids. Coach Timi (Dakolo) in his Bayelsa type native wisdom said it was “like sending your only child to boarding school.” He shed tears when he was faced with the difficult decision choosing between Jahtell and Gee6ix. He chose the Chigul lookalike Jahtell who has an infectious presence and personality. But Gee6ix looked and sounded like an already established artiste. But that’s what steals are. We’ll get to that in a bit.
- Week two battle: Twice as intense
Last Sunday, August 6, 2017, was the second week of The Battles. You’d have thought coaches and contestants would have found it easier to deal with their emotions. But it wasn’t so. Right from when Obichi and Zicsaloma from Team Waje opened to Romantic (Korede Bello featuring Tiwa Savage), the pressure was intense. There was no let up. Obichi emerged winner. Now this is Zicsaloma’s second coming. He didn’t make it this far in season one. That he can sing is not in doubt. But against the charming gap-toothed Obichi with a unique voice and a wonderful smile, what were the odds?
- Losing the battle before it even begins
I think Battle pairing ought to be between contestants with similar voices. This way, the coach can choose a song where both can show their strengths. It defeats the purpose when one contestant goes into the Battle having an obvious upper hand. Who or what says every singer must be able to sing every kind of song?
Yes, real life is not about equality. Yet, in real life, wise musicians try to stick with singing certain types of songs.
- Why did I forget the steals?
I remember and feel bad for almost every contestant that didn’t go through. I can even go back to season one of The Voice Nigeria. Think TeamWaje’s Promise whose interpretation of Flavour’s Golibe still gives me goose pimples.
This time around, Waje got to steal Favour, the 19-year-old contestant who had battled the much older Kessydriz who runs a catering outfit with her mother to fund her music and also owns a band. I was rooting for Favour but felt with age on her side, it wasn’t the worst thing if she lived? left to fight another day. But Waje got the steal which was actually the second of the first week of the Battles. Patoranking made the first steal by stealing/saving Daniel who’d lost against Efezino (Team Waje) in their performance of Asa’s Awe.
Week two also saw two steals: Coach Timi took Wolei (Oluwole Olusi, 22) and Coach Yemi got to steal 20-year old wonder boy, Wilson after losing to Glowrie, 22, from Team Waje (they performed Hurt You by Toni Braxton & Babyface). If it looks like the coaches are protecting their steals, it’s because they’re only allowed two each.
- Team Yemi’s Shayee A no-show
What happened to (Kelvin Audu) Shayee from Team Yemi? He was supposed to do battle against Jahnomso. But he was a no-show. And he had been through the rehearsals and all.
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