Yes, you read that, right.
The first episode of The Voice Nigeria aired yesterday on MNet’s Africa Magic and the show already left its mark for some good reasons. Drawing direct inspiration from its previous UK, US, and Australia editions, The Voice Nigeria shared the same show format; blood-red futuristic laser lights, lighted stage and coach selection process with its previous editions. It looked like Nigerians were going to be able to lay claim to a credible singing competition format TV series where the contestants are actually given international standard centre stages to serve as a springboard for their careers.
But we were wrong.
The sketchy details of the logistics for The Voice Nigeria is still being kept under wraps but according to an insider, the entire competition is being shot and filmed in South Africa. Contestants were merely selected in Nigeria, then shipped away to the South of Africa for a competition expected to last 10 weeks.
On paper, it looks like the contestants are simply being offered an all expense paid vacation in South Africa with occasional stage performances.
We haven’t confirmed why this was done but without doubt this most probably is a budgeting move. To begin with, thanks to the Nigerian economy going to the dogs, it will be pricey to set up an international standard studio and crew of that quality. The second obvious reason is that The Voice South Africa began airing its own syndication on January 31st of 2016 and the company didn’t want to spend money for the logistics of building another filming studio or setting up another crew. Of course, all of these possibilities hang against the backdrop of Nigeria’s poor power supply and insecurity amongst other things.
The big question is how the show plans to air its blind auditions (which is an important feature of The Voice globally) if all the people they want on the show have already been hand picked and moved to South Africa. Does this mean all the blind auditions will simply be staged for TV audiences? How did Mnet Africa sacrifice credibility for budgeting so cheaply? And we are deliberately choosing not to mention the shows crooked Airtel ambassador judges.
We are not sure if we as Nigerians should be offended by this. The fact that the Mnet team behind the show is mostly keeping things under wraps is enough proof they know how wrong this looks on paper. Nigerians have supported the DSTV/Airtel ministry for many years, it should be somewhat insulting that we can’t even get a show wholly by Nigerians, for Nigerians. Especially when the show is being marketed to us as “The Voice Nigeria”.
It almost appears as if DSTv and Airtel are simply trying to mooch off subscriptions from the Nigerian markets where they already have a base without using resources from the community housing that market. Which is not necessarily illegal, it’s just a shitty thing to do considering the amount of jobs that could’ve have been created if the show was set up and filmed in Nigeria.
Did we hear you say scam? Yes, we thought the same thing too
On the upside, Nigerian director Walter ‘Waltbanger’ Taylaur is on board with the show. And though we are not sure about the extent of his involvement, the award-winning filmmaker’s social media has been lit up with buzz about the show, so we’re guessing he is quite neck deep.
The Voice Ngeria airs every 7pm GMT Sunday on Africa Magic