Big Brother Naija as a Talent Show

BBNaija as a Talent Hunt

While many fans can’t say for sure what the criteria are for selecting housemates for the Big Brother Naija show, one thing most of them agree on is that you need to be talented to earn a spot on the show. For at least 60% of those who watch the show, BBNaija is first a talent hunt before being a reality TV show; and every season of the show has proven why this perception exists,

Although MultiChoice clearly defines the Big Brother Naija show as a reality TV show, they also say that part of their mission is to spot and groom new talents in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and beyond, and like many other scenarios where methods differ but mission stays the same, MultiChoice’s approach to grooming talents, which is something most talent hunts do, has been slightly different.

72.8% of our survey respondents believe that the show has helped them to discover talents that might have never been found and in their opinion, housing different people from diverse backgrounds in one place is a great way to see them express their true and unique selves, while displaying their different talents in its purest forms. This approach that seems to combine reality TV with a talent hunt is part of what has stood the Big Brother franchise out in Nigeria, and across Africa.

A highlight of MultiChoice’s strategy, which fans have also greatly celebrated is the range of talents the show has continued to present to its audience going beyond the more popular skillsets within the music and movie industries, to feature people with skills considered behind-the-scenes in those spaces, along with other skilled persons in areas such as art, photography, fashion, even software development.

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During the 2-day housemate unveiling for the Shine Ya Eye Season, fans were intrigued by the range of talent the showrunners had gathered, with the season having the likes of Yerins, a self-acclaimed polymath who trained as a doctor, but lives his life as a painter, rapper and a software developer, Saskay, another rapper who also paints, Liquorose, a dancer and video vixen, and Pere, an ex-military personnel who’s now harnessing his acting talent within Nollywood. In addition to these four were a lot more housemates with fashion lines, musical talents and singles they were excited to show-off.

For the 10-week period the Shine Ya Eye Season lasted, Big Brother’s role in grooming each of these talents showed in the tasks they were given, requiring them to put their existing skills into use, learn on the spot and from their peers, and in some moments get free rein to do whatever they wanted on one of Africa’s biggest platforms, with over 40million people watching.

A perfect instance of this was one of the many drama pieces put together by the housemates which gave Sammie, one of the housemates who is an aspiring film director a chance to try himself out and show the audience his passion for the craft. Same drama opportunity gave Liquorose the window to extend her profile to fit more than just dancing, as she aced her role of an elderly woman much to the admiration of the viewing public whose comments and accolades flooded social media.

Few days after settling into the Big Brother Naija house, eventual winner, WhiteMoney, organised a fashion show which gave him and the rest of the housemates a chance to display what they were capable of doing if put on a runway, and as part of their plan, they composed jingles which they performed during the commercial break of their fashion show.

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With this move, WhiteMoney, who can best be described as a multi-talented businessman who has managed to turn every skill he has learned into a side-hustle, opened the door for fans to witness a display of the various talents he claimed to possess. By the end of the show, he had displayed exceptional cooking skills, enough to get him on a cooking show, some musical talent in being able to play the keyboard and compose songs on a fly, impressive hairdressing skills and a knack for interpreting various characters in dramas.

Such a strategic display of talent isn’t unique to him or just Shine Ya Eye housemates. BBNaija Season 5 winner, Laycon wasted no time in promot- ing his musical talent from the first day of his stay in the house, building a solid fanbase for himself even before the show was halfway done. For many Big Brother Naija fans, his performance at the finale of the Season 6 show, felt like the completion of a talent hunt cycle where a talent had been spotted, groomed and was now being given the opportunity to officially perform on the show’s biggest stage.

Even without much strategy, the setup of the Big Brother Naija show, given the way it mirrors a lot of things about everyday life, especially within entertainment circles, lays the foundation for everyone to thrive – either by modeling their own clothing designs, having their songs played at the Friday night parties or even randomly sharing what projects they are working on with the BBNaija audience.

With many ex-housemates going on to build careers out of the talents they displayed while in the Big Brother Naija house, there is very little doubt left about the show providing youths with real opportunities to succeed outside the house. Each housemate just has to do enough to prove to the audience that they can do whatever it is they say they can. Thankfully, the Nigerian entertainment scene is rapidly growing, creating room for many of them to excel in whichever way they choose to apply themselves; and like Big Brother, the stakeholders in these spaces are always watching.

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