After weeks of stage performances and millions of votes over the past few months, Progress Chukwuyem has won the 7th edition of Nigerian Idol. The win was announced by the show’s host, IK Osakioduwa during a celebratory finale episode on Sunday 22 May.
The 21-year-old singer won after polling more fans’ votes to beat fellow finalist Zadok in a record-breaking voting season. The top-2 secured 45 million votes in the finale week alone and over 220 million votes all season long.
He won a cash prize of ₦30 million, a brand-new SUV, a Bigi branded refrigerator and a year’s supply of Bigi drinks. He will also get to record an EP and six music videos, a weekend getaway from TravelBeta, and a DStv Explora fully installed with a 12 months premium subscription.
Speaking after his big win that night, Progress shared what would be his next steps. He said, “Music is my life, it’s everything, and it comes from a place of passion. So definitely from here, I’m making music – great music. I’m going to express myself in the best way that I can. Out here, I’m in no competition with anybody, so I’m going to take it one step at a time”.
On the finale night, Zadok, who has been a fan favourite from the beginning of the show, performed Whitney Houston’s ‘Dance with Somebody’. In contrast, Progress sang Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Bang Bang’ and Ruben Studdard’s ‘I Need an Angel’ at the live show, which had hundreds of audience members at the studio and was watched by millions of fans across Africa on DStv and GOtv, and across Europe via the Showmax app.
Simi took a minute to address the top 12, telling them, “And for you all who took part in this experience, it takes a ton of bravery to do what you have done. I’m proud to have experienced this with you. You’re so amazing, and I wish you so much goodness in your future, present, and everything you do.”
Simi took on the stage at the finale singing her hit song, Duduke. Fellow judge D’banj also performed a medley of his biggest songs, including Oliver Twist, Emergency and Your Face Show. Other performers at the highly-charged live show included Nigerian Idol season 6 winner Kingdom, the Nigerian Idol season 7 top 10, and popular musician Pheelz.
D’banj, who performed with Zadok and Progress, said a few words about his unreleased track, I Got My Answer, with the top two finalists. He said, “myself and my family went through a traumatic time when I lost my son. It was so devastating, and I felt like the world caved in. All we could do was pray to God for restoration. The song was done, written in Los Angeles two weeks before I had my new son”.
Journey to finale
Getting to the final was not an easy feat, as they had to join thousands of applicants to jostle for a place on the show. In all, the judges gave out 75 golden tickets. After another round of screening, 50 contestants qualified for the theatre week, where they paired them with other contestants. They went through another round of screening before 12 contestants made it to the live performance stage.
From the beginning of the live performances, both Zadok and Progress gave their best and raised their games, making their presence in the final well deserved.
The Delta-state born singer and season 7 winner captured the hearts of many globally when he took over the ‘Showstopper’ week with his fantastic performance of Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj’s ‘Bang Bang’.
Nigerian Idol Season 7 premiered Sunday, 6 February with the weekly shows covering the auditions leading to theatre week before the live shows started in March. The show was sponsored by Bigi Drinks and Binance.