Sensational rapper Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, has been crowned Africa’s first X Factor winner.
The 29-year-old geology graduate of the University of Port Harcourt and native of Udi, Enugu State, was declared winner at the grand finale of the show held at Dream Studios, Bamako Street, Omole, Lagos. She beat the two other finalists Ethel Eshun and Vicky Gomoti in the last round of voting to win Globacom’s N24 million cash prize and a recording contract with Sony Music.
Before the announcement of the results, the expectation of audience, judges and contestants alike had built to a crescendo as everybody waited anxiously to find out who the first X Factor winner in Africa would be.
The suspense was to last even longer as Glo ambassador from Ghana, Efya, came on stage for a wonderful performance that had the audience applauding rapturously. After her performance, X Factor host, Toolz, turned to the judges and sought to know how they felt about the night.
Reggie answered first, “I’m so excited that I brought my wife with me so we can both be excited together. It’s been a beautiful journey; I can’t wait to see who will walk away with the money.”
According to MI, “It’s been incredible. The crew, my fellow judges and the contestants have all been wonderful.”
Toolz asked Onyeka, “Who do you think will be the winner tonight?” Onyeka answered with a smile, “I was so excited, I brought my Bible along with me. At this stage, I think the last three contestants have all won.”
Shortly afterwards, 2008 UK X Factor winner, delectable Alexandra Burke, got the hall on its feet with a resounding applause for a great performance of her hit track, Halleluyah. She was later joined on stage by the three finalists, DJ Switch, Eshun and Vicky as they all spectacularly chorused the song together.
“Shake” and “Ada Ada” crooner, Flavour, came onstage next to thrill guests with a scintillating performance. He proved why he was a crowd favourite as the audience rose to their feet to dance along with him. After Flavour’s performance, the contestants came out to sing the songs they sang at the audition stage.
Vicky led the performances, and she got a standing ovation from the three judges. “How did your daughter perform?” Toolz inquired of Onyeka. “She has grown from a pupa to a butterfly. She sang with confidence and inner joy. I had goose pimples just listening to her. I have no doubt that she’ll make it. May God bless you.”
Reggie added, “You just proved to us that our work has not been in vain,” while MI said, “Wow, Vicky is just so amazing. You are absolutely stunning. The way you’re radiating joy; don’t keep it to yourself, please, share it with the world.”
DJ Switch came up next, garbed in a tight black trouser with black top to match. Her entry engendered a boisterous response from the crowd with her performance of Jay Z’s “Forever Young,” which was heavily spiced up with raps. In a mild drama, the contestant switched over backwards, precariously clutching the mic as she raps. Her stagecraft even drew a wider applause when she stepped down the stage to hug her mother, while still singing without losing concentration.
Reacting to her performance, MI said, “Switch, people scream when you perform because you inspire us all. When you came for the audition, I felt you tried. I had already made up my mind that you wouldn’t make it to my final three mentees, but you changed my mind. Everybody here needs to know that no matter what people say about you, it doesn’t matter as long as you fight.” he concluded. Reggie gushed, “DJ Switch, you are inspirational; you excite me. My children love you; everybody loves you!” As for Onyeka, she opined, “Unlike the other judges, the moment you stepped on stage, I knew you had it.”
When asked why she should win the X Factor, Switch simply said: “I work hard; I pray hard.”
Eshun was the next to perform, and she pulled out all the stops as she shimmered in her green attire. “One of the best things on this program is that I got to mentor Vicky and Eshun. She is exquisite, beautiful, gorgeous and talented. She walks onto the stage and lights it up. You have something that is very special. No matter what happens here, you have me permanently in your camp. You will take the world by storm!” Onyeka declared.
MI said, “You are a perfect example of what this show is all about. You epitomises everything X Factor stands for. You’ve been one of my favourites.” Her Ghanaian compatriot, Reggie, said, “My story with my sister is different. We come from the same place and people expect me to give her a pass. It often seems as if I’m tough on you, but look at where you stand now. You have done well!”
On why she thinks she should win the competition, Eshun said, “The potter in the Bible goes around looking for clay to mold them into the type of pots that he wants. X Factor came looking for me; found me and I am glad. These past weeks, I have gone through moulding, and now, I’m ready.”
Then the climax! The contestants held hands together as they anticipated the results that would change the lives of one of them forever.
As Toolz invited the representative from Alexandra Forbes to the stage, she lingered a bit, teasing the audience as she twirled the green envelope containing the results in her hands.
“The first winner of the Glo X Factor West Africa is DJ Switch!” she announced as the crowd erupted in jubilation.
“How do you feel?” Toolz asked Eshum. She answered, “Fortunately, the Lord did what He wanted to do, and I’m happy for that.”
Vicky said, “I want to thank Glo for this platform, and I think DJ Switch deserved to win.”
Thereafter, DJ Switch performed her single, “Safe Landing” which is billed for release next week.
The first runner-up was Eshun and she got the sum of N1m for her efforts, while Vicky, the second runner-up, also got N1m.