The 2014 edition of Nigeria’s biggest music talent hunt, Nigerian Idol came to a spectacular end with amazing contestant, Zibli Evelyn Ibhade, otherwise known as Evelle, winning the prestigious crown to become the 4th winner of the talent hunt.
Evelle beat arch-rival, Elvis Jay and Eye-D in the grand-finale held at the Dream Studios, Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday, June 7, 2014. She pocketed N7.5 million, a brand new SUV, recording deal with Universal Music, and other star prizes.
However, the first runner-up, Eye-D was very excited about the N1.5 million and a brand new sport car she won. While Elvis Jay also smiled home with N1 million.
The show, which saw 2Face at his best, was sponsored by Etisalat and Pepsi drink. It was produced by Optima Media.
The winners, Evelle and Eye-D later spoke about their victories, as well as the organisers and sponsors.
‘I DEDICATE MY VICTORY TO MY MOM’ – Zibli Evelyn Ibhade
Zibli Evelyn Ibhade, famously known as Evelle is a relentless fighter and die-hard fan of Beyoncé. Evelle is a soulful singer that takes her motivation from God and past experiences. Though her journey in the competition hasn’t been easy, she believes that giving nothing but the best will take her to the top.
How does it feel being the winner of season 4 Nigerian Idol?
I feel amazing, extra-ordinary. I am going to call my mom now, and I am sure with my victory, she’s going to be better.
What’s wrong with your mom?
She was involved in an auto accident. She was coming from Benin to watch my performance. She had to go through surgical operation and she was getting better before today’s final. She has not been able to walk since last week. I am sure she’ll jump up, and feel like walking after receiving this news. I am so happy, I can put a smile on her face now.
How do you intend to spend your winning money?
First, I am going to pay my tithe and use the remaining to make more music because I believe music is more joy, fame, more money. Everything good you can think of, music will actually give it to you. By using it to make more music, I am extending, music prowess to the world.
You were not favoured by the voters during your last performance. How did you do it?
For me to get more people to vote for me, I told my God, ” I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but I want to win. Let more people vote for me, even people voting for my opponents, let them vote for me (smiles).” I think God has actually answered my prayers.
Did you see yourself winning from the inception?
Sincerely, I didn’t believe I could win. I met so many good singers. I know I have a good voice, but I don’t know how to make it work. So, I decided to learn how to put my band experience into practice. I prayed to God that I just want to be among the top three finalists so I can start my music career. Here I am today as the winner, I am grateful to God.
Who was your toughest contender?
It was Elvis Jay and thank God, he performed first. I used that opportunity to step up my game and it really worked for me.
I am going to church for thanksgiving. After that, going into proper music. I am not being proud, I can’t wait to start because there are so many songs I want to dish out. I will also start gyming, working on my body. In fact, don’t be surprised if I drop a song every week.
What would you have done if you didn’t win?
I would have continued. Guess what, I was working on my fan base during the competition and now, it’s over.
Do you own a car before?
Do you know how to drive?
Fortunately, I learnt how to drive first week at the Nigerian Idol. I got my driver’s permit.
How did you feel when you were eventually brought back by the judges with Wild card?
I felt very good because I didn’t tell my parents I was coming for the audition because I had disappointed them many times. In some auditions, I didn’t get to the stage of seeing the judges. So, I didn’t tell anybody about it, until three weeks to the grand-finale before I told my parents.
Who are you dedicating this victory?
My mom. Who else? My mom, of course. God first, then my mom. I know this would make her feel better.
One of the judges, Dare didn’t hide his feelings about you. How did you feel?
Yes, I felt good about it. If you’re good, people would feel it. What gave me an edge was the fact that before I sing a song, I personalize the lyrics. Any song I do, I make sure I sang into the lyrics before I go on stage. I am not surprised he’s one of my fans. I pray it’ll remain that way.
What were you doing before now?
I have always been a singer. I have been a singer since I was 4. I started singing in the church, but I stopped two years ago because it wasn’t paying. I got disappointed so, I started working in a restaurant as a cashier, until last year when I decided to organise a band in my restaurant. I started from there again, where I learnt different kinds of songs, including jazz, reggae and I was able to stand the audition.
‘My not winning is God’s will, not about votes’ – Runner-up, EYE-D
Odugbemi Idowu Sarah, otherwise known as Eye-D, a graduate of Agricultural Science, loves to sing and her love for music was her inspiration to enter Nigerian Idol. With a voice that can move mountains, Eye-D believes that she has a unique vocal prowess to shake and mould the music industry. She won N1.5 m and a sports car…
N1.5 million is not a small money, how does it feel?
I feel really blessed. It has been the grace of God from beginning to the end because there were so many amazing singers who dropped along the way, and here I am today, first runner-up, I am happy.
You earned the highest votes during your last performance. What went wrong?
It’s the grace of God (smiles). For me, people say it’s about votes, but I think it’s not. It’s about God, and it’s the will of God. If God says I am going to win, I would whether I get more votes or not.
What is the next step now?
First, I will have a full week to sleep (smiles). I deserve it, after all, the show has ended. Then, I will pursue my music career. I have so many songs, and with the fame Nigerian Idol has given me, it’s time to show my talents to the world.
Your prize came with a car. Have you ever owned a car?
How do you intend using it. Or do you intend dashing it out?
I will definitely use it. Dash ke, no o o. It’s my winning car, I will use it.
What about your prize money?
I will first pay my tithe, as a way of showing gratitude to God. I will splash the remaining on my agricultural project. I intend to go into cassava production, and later poultry.
I am a farmer by profession. I studied Agriculture in school.
About yourself and family?
I am the last born of my mom. We all sing in my house but nobody has actually taken a huge step like this. I just utilised the opportunity and it worked for me. From here, the sky is not even my limit.
‘It’s going to be bigger and better next year‘ – OPTIMA MEDIA, ROTIMI PEDRO
How does it feel coming to the end of this show?
It was a great show. It has been quite exciting. We started with 10,000 contestants and we ended up with two finalists today. Obviously, the two finalists are talented, blessed with bundles of talents. You saw what they did on the stage, I was really surprised. Today’s performance was really exceptional. I am happy the way it turned out.
Compared to the previous one, what would you say?
We have stepped up our game. For now, it’s the most democratic show in the country. It’s not tied to any network, you can vote via any network. It has a place in the Nigerian music industry.
What are we expecting next season?
Expect the best. It’s going to be bigger and better next year. We’ll be starting earlier, expand the cities from five to eight. Don’t forget, Nigerian Idol is the biggest entertainment show in the world. It’s in 150 countries, it’s a big show. And soonest, we’ll make sure that Nigerian Idol stands in the rightful place in the global idol franchise.
‘IT’S FANTASTIC TO BE PART OF THE SHOW’ – Head of Marketing, Seven Up Bottling Company PLC, NORDAN THURSTON
How does it feel to be part of this show?
It’s good, fantastic to be co-sponsor of this great show. Not only being part of this show, it’s fantastic because the Nigerian Idol platform has given birth to another star in the industry.
Your company has been doing this for years. What’s the motivation?
If you look at our portfolio, we have been doing great things to support entertainment in the world. Globally, we started with Beyonce. When we started with the artistes in Nigeria, we signed Tiwa Savage, Lynxxx and Wizkid as ambassadors.
We decided to be part of this because we want to contribute to the discovery of talents through Nigerian Idol. It’s very important to give stars of the future opportunities to make their dreams come true.
What is your assessment of this year’s edition compared to the previous?
Every year gets better. There were more people that trooped out this year compared to the previous ones. It shows that a lot of people are beginning to associate with the show.
– Stories by RASHEED ABUBAKAR