Vanessa Obioha chats with the coaches --Darey, Waje, Yemi and Falz -- as the third season of the music reality TV show wraps up
"Let the grand finale begin!"
This may likely be the opening line of The Voice Nigeria third season host Nancy Isime tomorrow when the finale holds. The show which began late March will finally be drawing its curtains tomorrow after 17 episodes and 18 eliminations. Only one of the six finalists will be crowned winner of the season and cart away N10 million, a car and a recording deal with Universal Music Nigeria. The coaches are hopeful that their talents will emerge as winners.
"It's team Waje," chimed in Waje. "But I believe every one of them deserves equal opportunity."
Interestingly, only the male coaches have two talents going into the grand finale. Darey has KPee and Esther while Falz has Dapo and Naomi Mac. Waje and Yemi talents are Eazzie and Kitay respectively.
One of the talking points of this season is the diversity and experience of the coaches. Like the talents, they add entertainment value to the show. For instance, Waje is given a mother hen character, Yemi, the fashionable and drama queen, Falz the bahd guy with his colourful attires and humourous lines, and of course Darey, 'The I no dey turn guy' as he puts it in a recent chat.
Beyond their peculiar traits, an admirable feature of the coaches is the chemistry between them. The camaraderie they exude is so infectious that one may wonder if they have been friends all their lives.
"We respect each other's talents. When you have mutual respect for each other, it's very easy to flow. But the Voice Nigeria brought us closer. We have spent more time together this year than we have ever in our career," explained Waje.
The coaches had the power to save a talent for most stages of the show. It wasn't an easy task. Therefore, when the live shows began and the audience had the power to save a talent, they were all relieved.
"It was a relief. That pressure was released off our shoulders," said Falz.
"It just makes you realise people and their taste. It is very interesting to see your audience and what really appeals to them," said Waje.
But there were times when the coaches got the heat from fans for their choices, particularly Waje, who many thought was biased to Eazzie.
"That's why I'm the coach and they are the audience. I hear things that they don't. I listen and I hear the flat notes and the technical errors that they don't hear, and at the beginning of the show, I made it clear that my strategy was to show growth. Many people have gone through shows and fizzled out. You are not just teaching them how to perform but principles, character and professionalism that will carry them after The Voice is over," she argued.
From the blinds to the live shows, the coaches have their memorable moments. While Waje enjoyed the blinds because it allowed her to listen to the authenticity of the talents' voices, Yemi Alade finds the elimination process, the toughest.
"The talent that performs very well the last time may not meet up to par the next time. But I'm super confident of my team."
For Darey, however, hearing Esther, his talent sing, is magical.
"When she sings, it's not for the show. It's just the way she makes you feel."
He continued: But they have done very well. Behind the scenes, they work really hard. The sleepless nights, singing the same song over and over, and everybody just gets to see a couple of minutes. They deserve it."
Falz's highlight was when Darey stole KPee from him.
"I was very pained," he said jokingly.
Though they are established acts in their rights, the coaches are inspired by the determination of their talents.
"It's just the reassurance that even under pressure, you still have something in you that you can always bring out. I admire that a lot in them. This is a lot of pressure," said Waje.
With the grand finale barely 24 hours away, Falz is looking forward to spectacular performances from the final six.
"We have been working with them right from the blinds. We've seen the growth. It's been an upward trajectory. They are very close to finished products."
"They are all ready for the world," added Darey. "They have gone through the rigorous process that we have and like an onion, layer upon layer they just keep digging deep and bringing new elements that we never knew they had before. So we are really looking forward to a solid finale, full of twists and turns, emotional rollercoaster, but they are all winners."