The debut season of MTN Nigeria’s new music talent and capacity show, Y’ello Star began on Saturday, November 7, 2020. The new show already screams of innovation and a new way of doing things. 

With Y’ello Star’s interesting approach to music talent shows, they are bound to inspire other show creators to do better. Here are five ways Y’ello Star will change music talent hunts in Nigeria.

1. New show formats: Y’ello Star takes a very different approach than most Nigerians are used to seeing. Thanks to the pandemic, there is no live studio audience this season. They are also replacing evictions with relegation, which means that even though a candidate will lose access to the grand prize, they’ll still have access to all the resources the show offers. The judges also get a say in who makes it to the top position from amongst the contestants by using a ranking system.

2. Better prizes: Most talent shows in Nigeria operate a ‘winner-takes-all’ approach. But Y’ello Star has created a new prize system where every contestant can benefit from the show. They are partnering with Berklee College of Music in the U.S and Henley Business School in the UK to grant every contestant access to resources they may never have had the privilege to get. They also get consolation prizes for their time on the show.

On the other hand, the top 5 finalists get a scholarship to attend the Berklee 2021 summer music programme. The MTN Y’ello Star gets a car, recording contract, newly-furnished apartment with a home studio, and a N5 million cash prize. The winner also gets to record a song written by six-time Grammy award winner, Malik Yusef at the Berklee Power Station in New York.

3. Actual Absorption into the industry: Most of the time, contestants end their journey into the Nigerian music scene when they leave the talent show they initially appeared on. But, contestants of MTN Y’ello Star are going to receive all the resources and help they need to continue as members of the music industry, regardless of whether or not they win.

4. Online auditions: This year, MTN Y’ello Star held auditions online, giving thousands of applicants all over Nigeria, and out of the country the chance to compete. After this year, and even after the pandemic ends, we expect many talent shows to continue to hold auditions online. This is because it is less expensive, allows more people to participate, and gives the show a wider range of talents to pick from.

5. New voting methods: Usually, the public decides who wins music talent shows. But this time, MTN Y’ello Star’s incredible judges made up of the talented Banky-W, songbird Omawumi, and six-time Grammy-award winner Malik Yusef, get to hold the cards on who makes it through. They use a ranking system where they place contestants on a chart based on the strength of their performances. The public would then get to save someone from amongst the least-ranking contestants.

This allows for the most talented and consistent acts to make it far in the competition and levels the playing field. Viewers and contestants will be sure that the winner emerged on more than just popularity. More talent shows may want to try this voting process as it gives them a chance to brag about churning out top-notch professionals into the industry.


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