Nigerian Idol top 5 redux: No déjà vu as Jesse Jagz rocks the house

With Safeeyat using the one and only judges’ save of the season and just three more shows left until the next Nigerian Idol is crowned, season three of the show is drawing swiftly to a close. However, before this season comes to a final stop, there are thrilling performances, nerve-wracking elimination rounds and some of the best television in the country still waiting to happen.

This past Sunday, the top five were in fine form, performing hits from some of Nigeria’s best known exports, and even more of our favourite songs from Nigeria. The guest judge for the evening could not be more fitting. As one of the biggest stars on the Chocolate City label and now striking out on his own, Jesse Jagz has been steeped in the Nigerian music scene. And, as a versatile producer and artist in his own right, he knows exactly what it takes to be number one. “Discipline, discipline, discipline,” he said, when asked what he expected from the contestants. Joined by the judging regulars Yinka Davies, Jeffrey Daniel and Femi Kuti, the night was hosted by the always smooth Ill Rhymz.

To celebrate one of the greatest musicians of Nigerian heritage of all time, the top five sang a medley of songs from songstress Sade, and it included ‘Sweetest Taboo’ and ‘Smooth Operator’.

So how did the contestants perform on Sunday?

Safeeyat sang 'If There's any Justice' by Lemar followed by ‘Olo Mi’ by Tosin Martins. The judges were unsatisfied with her first performance, with Yinka telling her, “I need to feel more of you! You need to find out who you are, and Jesse told her, “Strong vocals but I think that you may have started on a low key.” Femi gave her a score of 60 percent. The news was far better for her second song, with Femi admiring her resolve to come back stronger, saying, “You have shown you are ready to pick yourself up.”

‘Invincible’ by Lemar was Abasiakan’s first tune, before he took his song choice to Nigerian golden oldies singing ‘Omo Pupa’ by Sir Victor Olaiya. The entire studio was in uproar over his first performance, and the wild delight from the audience reflected in the judges’ reaction. Yinka Davies screamed her excitement while Jesse Jagz told the singer, “You performed as well as or even better than Lemar. Jeffrey told him, “It was amazing, and your vocals were on point!” His performance of ‘Omo Pupa’ was also well received, with Jeffrey praising him for finding the balance between vocal gymnastics and control.

It was a tough act for Moses ‘The Teddy Bear’ to follow, but he rose to the occasion, singing Asa’s 'Peace' and the soulful ‘Ego’ by Djinee. Jesse was full of praise telling him that he had “an amazing, unique voice.” Femi was a little more cryptic, emphasising the stage of the competition. Jeffrey went all out with his praise telling the singer, “You're not just one of the unique voices on Nigerian Idol; you're going to be one of the most unique voices in the Nigerian music industry!” The praise continued with ‘Ego’ with words like “flawless”, “fantastic” and “amazing” coming from the judges.

Dance master JayFeel tried on two songs to wow the judges: ‘ Crazy’ by Seal and ‘Fall in Love’ by D’Banj. After his performance of ‘Crazy’ Jesse reiterated warnings heard by JayFeel in previous episodes, telling him about focusing too much on performance and getting carried away. However, Femi told him, “I’m seeing you transcend [being just a performer].” He fared better with his performance of ‘Fall in Love’, with the judges loving the performances once more. Still, he received several warnings on his vocals, and Yinka told him: “Work on your voice.” Femi also reiterated the advice, saying, “You need to be careful with your tuning.”

Not to be outdone by the men of the show, Debbie Rise chose 'Bibanke' by Asa, and followed it with a sizzling performance of ‘Kele Kele Love’ by Tiwa Savage. She had two solid performances and Femi told her, “You deserve to be here; it’s up to Nigeria to keep you here.” Jesse told her that while her voice was “very nice”, the guitar-strumming singer “needed to get lost in the music.” Her energetic cover of Tiwa Savage got the crowd on its feet again, but this time it was her expressive hands that gave her a tough time as Yinka admonished her that they were interfering with her breath control.

Of course, the evening would not have been complete without a performance of the extremely talented guest judge, Jesse Jagz. He performed ‘Desire’, his never-before-performed song which showcased the newly unleashed Jesse. The reggae-inflected track showed both his singing and rapping skills, and had the audience, idol hopefuls and judges grooving.

One more performance down, and three more left before season three declares its winner. Who will it be?

You can watch who makes it to the next stage on Saturday on NTA at 3:00pm, Sound City and ONTV at 7:00pm, Silverbird at 7:30pm, Superscreen at 6:30pm, TVC at 9:30pm, Real Star TV on Startimes at 9pm, channels 209 on Sky and 828 on Virgin (Africa Channel UK) at 9pm on the RESULT SHOW. Then, catch all-new performances on Sunday on NTA at 3:30pm, Sound City and ONTV at 7:00pm, Silverbird at 8:00 pm, TVC at 8:30 pm, Superscreen at 9:30pm, Real Star TV on Startimes at 9pm, channels 209 on Sky and 828 on Virgin (Africa Channel UK) at 9pm

Nigerian Idol is the biggest music show across Africa and it is brought to you by Etisalat, in association with Pepsi and supported by Beat FM.

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