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Special Report: Why Nigerian Reality TV show winners are ‘losing’

Thousands of young Nigerians take part in Reality TV shows hoping to leverage on the platforms to become rich and famous, but unknown to them, winning music Reality TV show is not a guarantee for succeeding in the entertainment industry.


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Yes! Winning a Reality TV show makes people pay you attention and creates an array of opportunities, but there is a bitter part of the story that is not being told.


A winner of a Nigerian music Reality TV Show who spoke to TheNewsGuru under conditions of anonymity said:” Winning a Reality TV show is different from succeeding in the music business. Till date, I am yet to be paid my cash prize in full even though I won years back. People see the glory; they don’t know the bitter part of the story. Breaking into the Nigerian music industry is not child’s play” he said.


Aside from the likes of Iyanya, Omawunmi,Chidinma, Niniola, Praiz and Timi Dakolo, who have written their names in gold after emerging winners from music Reality TV shows, other front-runners have been contending with the prospect of thriving  in the music industry.


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Port Harcourt born Mercy Chinwo clinched the winning prize at the 2012 Nigerian Idol Reality TV show. She stole the hearts of her audience when she performed Fela’s Zombie.  Unfortunately, Mercy isn’t making any impact with her immense talent despite emerging winner of a Reality TV show.


According to her:“It’s more like a one-man hustle right now for me .I’m proud to say it’s a one-man thing because if you don’t go through challenges you won’t know your strength. I am not in any record label, I am alone.  I have to say the truth.  I am not or was never tied to any record label.  I get a producer do my song and keep the hustle going. It has been fun for me. I get to learn every day but it’s annoying when you know that you have this thing on the inside and you don’t get that push. I had to take my destiny in my hands”.



Rajiv Laxman, former presenter for the television series MTV Roadies said:” Despite what other reality show contestants might want to believe, I don’t look at reality shows as launchpads for an acting career. Not everyone has the charisma, talent, or drive to make it big in the glamour world. At best, reality shows give you some degree of familiarity with the audience. Everyone comes with big hopes, but only someone who has the discipline, determination and the acting talent has a good chance of succeeding.”

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Reality TV show winners often get disillusioned after the glamour that comes with their victory fizzles out.This discouragement make them switch careers, engaging in vocations  entirely different from what they are known for.



Ayobami Ayoola Ayolola better known as Ayo made a name for himself when he performed some of Fela’s songs on Project Fame West Africa. The bearded Afro-pop artiste who won the Season 5 of Project Fame West Africa has switched careers from being a singer to becoming an actor. He made this move all because he wasn’t able to succeed in the Nigerian music landscape.



From Yeka Onka, to Moses Adigwe and then Mike Anazodo, these individuals were once reality TV show winners,who faded into thin air. Another reason these individuals haven’t been able to thrive is because they do not understand the dynamics of the Nigerian entertainment industry.They often forget that it’s a business and fail to focus on the business side of their craft which will eventually sustain their talent.

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For example Nigerian rapper , Olamide is succeeding despite not winning a Reality TV show because he pays attention to the business side of his craft and constantly makes songs his fans can relate to.


Moses Adigwe who won the Season 3 of Nigerian Idols was very optimistic when he won the competition, but he is yet to break into the mainstream of  the Nigerian music scene .


He once said in an interview:“I am different from every other single person who has ever won anything so I know my case is going to be different and it is going to be awesome. I mean I got kicked off the competition and was brought back and I won! I don’t think that has ever happened so I am definitely not bothered about that. I am also learning from the mistakes of other winners and I am trying to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes they did”.



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