Auditions for the ninth season of the annual singing talent show MTN Project Fame are well underway.
On Saturday 25 June, the show held auditions at the National Centre for Women Development in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The judges were radio presenter Matilda Duncan, soul singer Lindsey Abudei, and producer GospelOnDeBeatz. Last year's winner Jeffrey Akoh also attended the auditions. Also billed as a judge for this year's contest is Ade Bantu, Bibie Brew and Ty Mix.
Earlier, auditions have already taken place in Accra, Ghana (18 June) and in Nigeria in Ibadan (18 June) and Port Harcourt (25 June).
The auditions now move to Lagos for a two-day screening of aspiring stars at Ultima Studios on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 July.
There has been an increase in the talent show space in Africa in recents, with the Airtel Trace Music Star being arguably the largest and most prestigious of the lot. As an indication of the popularity of this particular singing contest, the organisers of this season of MTN Project Fame were swamped with well over a thousand entries.
Asked why the mobile giant MTN supports the talent show, Joseph Ogbuka, the company's Youth Segment Specialist said his company is "a brand that taps into the passion and lifestyle of the Nigerian youth, and we know there are many gifted youths who need a bit of a push or support. Music is a core passion of many Nigerian youths who are also our customers and these people who want to go into music have to be found.
“The best we can do is support the management of project fame to discover gifted youths and support their dreams of becoming great artists in the Nigerian music industry," continued Ogbuka. "We have a special youth proposition which serves as a platform to support youths in achieving their goals which in this case is musical. There are thousands of people signing up for this, but we have to pick only those who can really sing!”
From these auditions, successful particpants will be featured in a knock-out round, which according to Ogbuka will produce those who "will contest with those chosen from other zones until we feel we have gotten those that are good enough to go through the semifinal." The TV show will then begin.