Members of the fourth estate of the realm were pleasantly surprised last week as they were called upon to engage in a “sing and win” competition during the official unveiling of MTN Project Fame West Africa in Lagos.
Compere at the event and hip hop singer, Michael Ugochukwu a.k.a Ruggedman, suddenly called for five ‘bold’ journalists to come to the stage. Initially about 20 journalists headed for the stage, but when he added that he wanted five journalists who can sing on the stage, most of them went back to their seats.
Five journalists comprising two ladies and three men, however, made it to the stage and were asked to sing any song of their choice and win fantastic prizes.
According to the compere, entertainment journalists always criticize the performance of musicians in their media and that Tuesday night was an opportunity to give them a dose of their own medicine.
So the microphone was handed over to them, each was given three minutes to sing, and one by one they sang, from contemporary to old school to gospel, some croaking it up, some going off key and some going it just flat. The MC jokingly called it the “worst voice” singing competition.
They were judged by a participatory audience that scored them through voice votes. At the end of the exercise, Mr. Gbenga Adegunle from The Nation Newspapers was adjudged the best singer; Mr. Seun Awosika of Star FM came second, while a lady from Nigezie TV came third.
For their efforts, the first prize winner went home with a 32inch flat screen TV, second prize winner smiled home with a home theatre sound system, while the third place winner went away with a Blackberry phone from MTN. The fourth place winner also got a Blackberry phone from MTN, while the fifth person was given a midget tape recorder.
Speaking at the end of the event, most of the journalists in attendance expressed surprise at the gesture from MTN. According to them, it was unprecedented as no organisation in the country had ever invited them to such impromptu contest and to win such magnitude of prizes.
First prize winner, Gbenga Adegunle, who expressed gratitude to MTN for the gesture said he was completely surprised that a prize of that worth could be given out for just trying to sing.
“When the MC announced the prizes, I thought he was just pulling our legs. I just decided to have fun singing. But when I was pronounced the winner and the prize handed to me, my joy knew no bounds,” he said.
Adegunle disclosed that while coming for the event, he was slightly late because of the heavy traffic jam and had to alight from the commercial bus he was traveling in and board a commercial motor bike (Okada) to take him to Planet One, Maryland, venue of the event.
MTN Project Fame West Africa is a reality music TV show where 16 young people are selected from a pool of others to be trained and groomed in the act of music performance.
The show has been successfully staged in over 15 countries of the world. The last edition that was held in South Africa had a Nigerian, Dare Art Alade as one of the three winners.
Dare Art Alade is billed is to anchor this year's Project Fame being hosted this time in Nigeria.