With Big Brother Africa Season 8, Africa has never been so beautiful. This year's housemates are smoking hot and gorgeous. From the attire to the charm, viewers are in for a lot of drama and fiery chase for the money. Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha report
Since its inaugural show last Sunday, the social media has been abuzz about Nigeria's representatives for the 2013-Season 8 of Big Brother Africa. Despite the heavy downpour in Lagos, which may have deprived many Dstv subscribers the opportunity to watch the much-anticipated Africa reality TV show, a good number of them who have become addicts of the show were still able to catch the opening ceremony, which was electrifying to say the least.
The show kicked off with the musical performance of the South African pop duo Mafikzolo with their hit track 'khona' followed by the grand entrance of IK Osakioduwa, the host of the show on a power bike and looking dashing in his biker's gear. SA actress and comedienne, Tumi Morake, and Kenya's comedian Churchill, who sampled the lavishly furnished houses named Ruby and Diamond where the contestants will spend the next 91 days, later joined IK.
The Mavin Records crew bought the house down with their live performance. A short tribute was also paid to the late Goldie Harvey who was a former housemate of the last season of Big Brother Star game.
Since its inception in 2003, Big Brother Africa has become a phenomenon in the entertainment industry in the continent, with its drama, surprises and emotional rollercoaster from contestants. This year's event was nonetheless different. Though not studded with stars, some of the contestants are already known faces in the industry, which has started to generate topics for discourse.
28 Housemates from 14 Countries
A total of 28 housemates from 14 countries are in the Big Brother's house to chase the golden prize: 300,000 USD. Ironically, the title of this year's season is "The Chase" and it won't just be about the money but also about capturing cupid's arrow. Big Brother is definitely tired of the heartbreaks experienced in previous seasons and has obviously set a task to capture Cupid's heart once and for all. Housemates are expected to show their romantic side either by grand gestures to their fellow housemates and the best Romeo or Juliet will be rewarded handsomely. Love must certainly be in the air for Big Brother.
Other twists and turns that will be part of Season 8 include the exquisite decoration of the Big Brother's house. Though there are two houses: Diamond and Ruby each is lavishly furnished to make the contestants feel comfortable and at home.
In line with theme, the new season's logo showcases a glittering and slightly flirtatious feel with chic, edgy gold plated lines. The iconic Big Brother eye has an enchanting gold dust finish with a dazzling diamond centre featuring a teasing hint of ruby red.
Its Ada Beverly Osu, Melvin Oduah... No Tonto Dikeh
However, after much viral gossip that Nigeria representative would be actress Tonto Dikeh a month ago, it turned out that Ada Beverly Osu, a model and video vixen, is the female representative of Nigeria while Melvin Oduah, an actor and model, is the male representative.
Now the controversy garnering much currency online is if these two representatives can win the golden prize for Nigeria. Already viewers are expressing displeasure online at Beverly who seems to be the parrot of the house. Barely 24 hours into the show and while the housemates were getting acquainted, Beverly wasted no time to give an unscripted autobiography of her life. From her expulsion from primary school, she painted a picture of a bold and courageous person who has nothing to hide. In her estimation, it is better to spill it herself than to have the press unearth her messy past. She revealed how her father could not pay her school fees and that her mother 'disappeared' for over two years, forcing her to engage in 'undignifying' jobs to make ends meet. Her condition, she said, was so bad that people thought she had contracted HIV. She made no bones about classifying her mother as a 'hustler'.
Beverly... Holding Audience Spellbound
Besides her tales of weals and woes, she entertained the housemates with mimics of her favourite Nollywood stars, fetching comments of her being a good actress by her fellow contestants. She also won the head of house title in Ruby and was privileged to save Bassey (Sierra Leone), putting Natasha (Malawi) in his stead.
Viewers' reaction to the Delta State indigene is a bit unpredictable.
With the abrupt departure of Ola and Chris and late Goldie Harvey's emotional hiccups in the last season, Nigerians seem to have anticipated a better turnout in this year's season.
Gossip bloggers have been abuzz about Beverly who was rumoured to be formerly engaged to the Nigerian rapper 2Shotz and also featured in Iceprince "Oleku" video. The Delta State born is no doubt trying to stamp her feet in the house with her chatters but would that warm Africa, (Nigerians) to her? Describing herself as a smart, sexy, loyal, humble and crazy diva during the opening ceremony, Beverly is certainly geared up to give fireworks in the house.
Compared to Karen Igho, the BBA winner 2011, will Beverly up her game and make Nigerians proud again or not?
Is Melvin a Bore?
Her male counterpart appears to be on the cool side, but comments on various gossip blogs deride him as a bore. Some commentaries on popular gossip blog believe his performance in the BBA so far is below his outing in the Gulder Ultimate Search. They tagged him as failure in the Gulder Ultimate Search. How? Melvin may have a joker that he is not willing to play just yet. He is not a stranger to populist contest having been 1st runner up at Mr. Nigeria 2011 and the Gulder Ultimate Search VI. Will his luck of coming as 1st runner up also follow him to the Big Brother's house?
The 27-year-old graduate of Chemistry from Delta State seems unperturbed and is taking his time to play the game. He had hinted during the opening ceremony that he would deploy his charm and wit to win the grand prize.
Nigerians, no doubt are praying for Beverly or Melvin to follow in the footsteps of three other compatriots who have participated and won Big Brother Africa- one of the biggest TV reality shows in Africa. Representatives of each participating country provides a contestant living in an isolated house while trying to avoid being evicted by viewers and ultimately winning a large cash prize at the end of the show.
Criticism of the show's explicit scenes of intimacy and seeming promotion of nudity led to a review of screening policy. From being on the open bouquet, the show can only be viewed now by DStv subscribers who request to see it.
NIGERIANS IN THE BBA HALL OF FAME
Kevin Chuwang Pam
Kevin Pam has a BA in English Language. He was the first Nigerian to win in the BBA with the theme, Big Brother Revolution. His dream of creating an entertainment empire from his BBA prize money has so far not been realised. He got married to one of his housemates and is blessed with a daughter, Malaika. He runs an NGO-Naija Pikin. Through this platform, he has been bringing relief to refugees in Riyom and has affected communities in the Jos crisis. He also celebrated Valentine's Day with orphans. His wife Elizabeth has made her debut in Nollywood as an actress and her first movie is on the way. Kevin is using his Entertainment outfit, "Down To Earth" to launch a talent reality show in Jos called "Jos Bring It On". His book is also due to be published this year.
Perhaps, the most recognizable face among the Nigerian winners of the BBA is Uti Nwachukwu. He is an actor, TV presenter, model and MC from Lagos and LEADERSHIP Newspapers' Young Person of the Year 2011. Best known as one of the 12 housemates on the third season of Big Brother Africa, in 2008, he returned to Big Brother Africa in 2010 as one of the 14 "All Stars" of Season 5, entitled Big Brother All Stars.
Uti holds a two-year diploma in Computer Science and Education from the University of Nigeria. He now co-presents on Jara, a TV programme with comedienne Helen Paul.
Big Brother Amplified winner Karen Igho in 2011 smiled all the way to the bank with the top prize of $200,000 as winner of the coveted reality TV show alongside her co-winner Wendall. She was the first woman from Nigeria to win the Big Brother Africa show and the third Nigerian to win it in a row since 2009.
Karen now works with Naija FM 102.7 on a show called Wetin Dey, which she co-hosts with Ifektive.