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Child Stars Dominate Airtel Nigeria’s Got Talent

By Uche Peter
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Lagos, Nigeria; Tuesday, December 13, 2012: With one of them as eventual winner, child stars were a dominant presence in the just concluded Nigeria's Got Talent Season One, sponsored by Airtel Nieria, taking three of the top four positions.

Dancer and violinist, the talented eight year old Amarachi Uyanne defeated nine other finalists to clinch the overall trophy. In the top Ten with her were many other under-16s. She clinched the N10m winner- take-all star prize.

On her way there, Amarachi defeated 20 years old violinist and top challenger, Godwin Ogechukwu and the duo of Jesse and Oghomwen, both under 12 years, to the grand prize through a public voting process.

Amarachi was not the only kid revelation at the NGT. Several others showed up but did not go beyond the auditions. Yet a few others like 11 years-old singer Raji Oluwayomi, Dan Samuel Okon, Crystal Core, 12 years old rapper Olayemi John Pelumi made it to the semi-finals while 11 years old singer Oluwatoke Salami and the duo of Jesse and Oghomwen, both 13 and 11 respectively made the top four in the finals.

Beside these individual acts were other youngsters who enormously contributed to the success of their groups on the show. They include Code Red, The Pebbles, Expendables, DNA, Kellyz Family Dance Group, The Lord's Chosen and the Experiential Dancers.

Just as Amarachi's emergence as the winner was not anticipated from the onset given her age, experience and most primarily, the array of talents participating in the reality show, same case could be made for the rest youngsters.

However, as the show wore on, they increasingly won the support and followership of the viewing Nigerian public as they flexed muscles with other much older contestants, most of whom were outshone.

Top of the pack was 12 years old Olayemi John Pelumi who wowed the NGT judges, live audience and the viewing public with his class of rap music that combined swag, exceptional confidence and excitement. Until he lost out to ventriloquist Dr. Bariyu Yesuf in the race for a finals slot, he was a top contender for the N10 Million Airtel grand prize.

Pelumi may not have gone beyond the semi-finals, but he left a mark as one of the budding stars discovered on the Airtel-sponsored Nigeria's Got Talent platform.

While a handful of these youngsters took to singing and rapping, most engaged in other genres of performing arts particularly dance. This is remarkable in itself in view of the low perception of dancers in the Nigerian society. Obviously shorn of any hang-ups by society, these youngsters made most of the NGT platform, sparking in the process, the revival of aspects of our culture which has suffered neglect over the years.

Speaking on the performance of the youngsters on the show, Airtel's Chief Marketing Officer, Olu Akanmu, said it was indicative of the depth of talents in the country and the commitment of the operator to create respectable platforms for talent discovery and nurturing.

“As we have seen courtesy of the NGT show, our youths are very talented across board; they have delivered great music, great dancing, and great performances that leaves no one in doubt that Nigeria indeed harbours great talent that can go toe-to-toe with their counterparts across the world. With NGT, Airtel is offering the biggest platform to local talents to live their dreams and this debut season has justified our belief in and commitment to the Nigerian youth knowing that they can reach their zenith given the enabling environment and platform.”

Akanmu reminded that Airtel also sponsors the Airtel Rising Talents football tourney targeted at identifying and grooming raw talents from the grassroots, in addition to its supports to the creative industry including Nollywood through the sponsorship of the Africa Movies Academy Awards.

The Season One of the Bharti Airtel- sponsored ''Got Talent'' reality TV show ended at the weekend after months of grand entertainment, excitement and laughter kick-started on 16 September with nation-wide auditions in selected cities which included Abuja, Port- Harcourt, Warri, Calabar, Enugu, Benin, Ibadan and Lagos.