By Gracious Egedegbe
It must be said at the onset that the purpose of this article is not to malign the organisers, contestants and other stakeholders in the OAU IDOL competition. This writer writes with a clear conscience and only seeks to x-ray issues and present them as they are.
THE TOLD STORY
Ordinarily, the purpose of OAU IDOL, which is in its second season, can be said to give young talents on OAU campus a platform to explore their potentials as well as win prizes. From all appearances, the competition fills the need to create a platform where students with talents in music may display themselves before a large audience and may well be on their way to fame and stardom.
THE UNTOLD STORY
While the above may be regarded as true and valid, certain concerns have been raised over the execution of the competition. These issues will be addressed in subsequent paragraphs.
The first issue is the use of contestants to sell tickets. Although this writer is yet to interact with the organisers, it could be safely assumed that this is done to guarantee two things. First, that the competition attracts a large audience. Second, that the organisers are able to make ‘enough’ revenue from the sales of ticket. The immediate wisdom in the use of contestants to sell tickets is found in the fact that friends and sympathisers of various contestants will feel obliged (emotionally or otherwise) to purchase tickets to the program in order to show confidence and solidarity.
However, they fail to realise that when they ask contestants to sell large amounts of tickets at a time when recession is in the air, they make the contestants vulnerable. Because these contestants have been made to sell a target amount of tickets within a short period, they are forced to employ different strategies. This might not really put the male contestants in much inconvenience depending on individuals; however, the females have a lot to deal with. In a sexually charged society, putting ladies in the salesperson position puts them in a position where they have to confront different kinds of males in order to meet their set target.
This exposes females to unscrupulous individuals who would use that opportunity to make demands on the ladies or at the very least use it as a means to unsolicited demands. A female’s contact information may been seen as a cheap price for getting sales. Nevertheless, when the information is being used to pressures the female into relationships she would ordinarily not subscribe to, and then there is a problem.
Finally, the use of contestants to sell tickets in order to increase their chances of winning defeats the spirit of the competition. From all appearance, out would expect a free and fair competition where standards related to music would set the rule. However, it would seem that good marketing skills might be needed for one to win the competition. This will no doubt probably dampen the enthusiasm of those who were not able to meet up with sales target. Because of their inability to sell tickets, they may feel their chances of winning are reduced and perform below par. On the other side, those who are probably able to meet or even surpass their targets may feel they have done a lot and just sing to earn few other points.
The argument is simple: the introduction of these sales of tickets dampens the integrity of the quality of expected performance of contestants, judging system and the entire competition.
(Gracious Egedegbe is a student of the Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University and a member of the OAU Peeps Team. He tweets at @IamTheGray)