Hey guys, it’s been an age. Forgive my absence. This thing called life ehn, e get as e be. God will keep helping us. Anyways, back to the matter. For those of you that don’t know, I have a brother who is as awesome as – if not more awesomer than – me.
He submitted this and I couldn’t but put it up. Amazing somtin if you ask me. Please read & enjoy. Please drop a comment too.
It was one of those days, when the stormy clouds poured upon the earth rain in torrents, completely preventing the sun from sharing its warmth. Men, barely pubescent boys, and everything in between as well as females of every color, age, shape, size and beliefs were out in their droves, defying the weather, standing in a place so packed, how it contained them all is a huge surprise. They all left their homes at the break of day with one thing in mind; it could just be me. Their faces contained expressions of the audacity of hope, of absolute belief in ones abilities and the quest for fame!
It was the auditions for the 8th season of Project Fame West Africa in the city of Port Harcourt. Although slated for 8am, people had got to the venue ahead of time and could be seen quietly practicing their songs, getting ready to take their chances. “If Praiz, Iyanya & Chidinma did it, so can I”. Registration started and went without a hitch and then it was time. Weeks, months or even years of preparation coming down to a moment not more than 5 minutes and just two words; Yes or No.
The contestants started going in one by one, hope written across their features, while for some it was fear and as they returned, all I could see was disappointment, some were even angry. Whether at themselves or at the judges I couldn’t say. I was positioned at the exit and had a good view of the crowd, I could feel their energy, with every exit from the hallowed room, I felt the energy eddying, the tension building, everyone wanted someone to come out with a yes. Expectations kept ramping up until it finally happened; someone came out of the room beaming. The gloom lifted and the rays of hope once again pierced the countenance of those yet to go in.
I had prepared a series of questions in my mind that I would ask those who got a yes but as I saw this guy’s appearance, my format flew out of the window. “Where are you coming from? I blurted, seeing as he had on a shirt and tie and was carrying a travelling bag. He travelled all the way from Bayelsa and came straight to the venue and now he had gotten what he came for; Yes! Before I could ask him any other question, he was on his way. I mouthed congrats in his direction as he galloped away. Who can blame him? The dream is no longer an illusion for him; it is now within his reach, he can touch it if he reaches with his hand, he has probably imagined the shining lights on his face with a microphone in his hands as he sings his heart out on the biggest stage. Such is the lore and the allure of Project Fame.
Next up was a man who sang Celine Dion’s “Because you loved me” and got a yes. Why he would choose that I have no idea but it obviously worked so… He was so giddy that he walked up to me to ask when the next stage of the competition would be. I asked him for give a little rendition and he did. It was Okay, do I think he’ll go all the way in the competition? No. Did I tell him that? I’m sure you know the answer to that.
I met a friend of mine on the grounds and I was rooting for him fully. When he came out of the room, his demeanor told me he got a no. I consoled him and asked what song he did. He said he sang Neyo’s ‘So Sick’ and Tuface’s “Be There’. As amazing as he thought he was, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges. I encouraged him not to give up on the dream and returned to my post.
At one point, this woman came up to me to ask for help, I was eager to but when she presented her case, I had to beckon on the organizers to hear her out. Her request wasn’t highfalutin actually, she had a baby at home, wanted to do her auditions and get back home to her baby. That appeal hardly ever fails and it won again. Who knows if there actually is a baby or not? She went in, and when she returned, her baby got her mother back. It was the end of the road in the competition for her.
Of all the contestants who got a yes, 23 year old Tricia was the most dramatic of the lot. Beyonce’s “All I could do was cry” got her in. and I had to ask her, “Did you cry?” She didn’t but the judges gave a yes anyway. Her joy knew no bounds.
By this time, the banter boys union had found their voices, they had gone in, gotten a negative response, shrugged it off and chose to have good time instead of sulking in one corner. Nigerians just always find the wherewithal to make the best of every situation either good or otherwise. They had developed a chant to console the broken hearted as they came out “come over here, we got NO too, life no go end, person wey go blow go blow jare.” Their numbers swelled and their influence grew. Thanks to them, disappointment was quickly turned into joy. They added color to the event and were very helpful in helping contestants see that the cup was half full and not empty.
It wasn’t all roses though; I had issues with some of their logistics and how the contestants were treated. There was no opportunity to hear the contestants sing live and they couldn’t come with their family & well wishers as we see in other such competitions in other developed countries. This is the 8th season of project fame; it shouldn’t be difficult to get products of the Project Fame Academy to grace every audition venue across the nation. It is not too much to ask and not too much to do.
It was an awesome experience for me at this audition, as the train rolls on, if it stops in your town or a town near you, do try and join them, enjoy the atmosphere. Up next are Ibadan, Lagos and Ghana. Be part of this.
Project Fame – What a feeling!