Liberia: Orange Music Talents Ends in Grand Style


MONROVIA – The much talked about and highly anticipated Orange Music Talents competition has ended at a spectacular grand finale held at the Paynesville Townhall in Paynesville city over the weekend.  The event featured 18 finalists who were all vying for the grand prize, several major artists such as C-Jay and Killerbeatz, and was attended by hundreds of fans and spectators. The ceremony was opened by legend Zack Roberts who made remarks encouraging the 18 young finalists to make the best of this unique event.

The Orange Talent program kicked-off on January 30, 2019 at an official press conference at Orange Liberia’s headquarters on Capital Bypass.  During the official launch announcement, Mr. Noel Chateau, Chief Marketing, Communication and Customer eXperience Officer for Orange Liberia said the Orange Talents Program was being held as part of the company’s ongoing effort to empower young Liberians by discovering new talents and giving them the support and exposure needed to reach the next level.  “We know that there are a lot of amazing talents in Liberia and so we want to use this platform to expose those talents and give them an opportunity to make a big entrance on the national stage,” said Mr. Chateau  who went on to say that the Orange Talents was opened to young people between the ages of 18 – 35 from the fifteen counties.  

The first audition for the music edition of the competition was held in Monrovia followed by subsequent events in Paneysville, Monrovia again, Gbarnga and Buchanan. Orange revealed that the event was originally designed to be held in more regional locations but as a result of an unprecedented number of applications from Monrovia, the company and organizers had been forced to change the competition’s structure to allow additional auditions to take place in Monrovia to allow for the participation of hundreds of applicants from the capital.

The response from Liberians was “far beyond expectations,” Mr. Chateau let on, “We were pleasantly impressed by the response form contestants.” In remarks at a major press conference held after the finale, Orange Talents head judge Mr. Oneal Roberts also reiterated that the results of the competition had exceeded expectations.  Mr. Roberts outlined: “five months ago we started this journey and had no idea what to expect in terms of turn out.    It was not an easy journey.   We had 700 qualified contestants.  Sometimes we had an overwhelming 200 contestants at a single audition.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Bilikon Entertainment, Mr. Lyee Bility, who organized the competition for Orange shared a similar view that the event had been long, fund, exiting and transparent.  “There was never a full moment,” recalled Mr. Bility.    He shared some of his profound recollections of the event including the uncanny ability of the winner to arrive at auditions and the grand finale hours before he was required to be there.  “There were many times that the contestant who eventually won the contest came hours before we needed him to. He also came to other auditions after he participated to the first one. At first, I could not understand why he was doing so and then I realized that he was exhibiting a strong desire to win,”  said Mr. Bility who concluded: “the judges made no mistake in their choice, because when you see an artist with such ambition and somebody who is craving for such an opportunity then you know for sure that their future is bright and rooted in the music community.”

The winner of Orange Talents competition by unanimous verdict of the panel of judges including Oneal Roberts, Barkue Tubman, Grace Weah (a.k.a. Master Queen) and radio personality Chris Wolo was untapped Liberian musical talent Mr. Rudolph During. Mr. During won $1,000 and record deal in studio. He amazed the audience during the grand finale notably by improvising saxophone with his mouth. He concluded his second performance by Liberia’s national anthem, which made the whole crowd stand and sing with him.

Although the company had only planned to present one prize to a top performer, Orange Liberia’s CEO Mr. Mamadou Coulibaly was so impressed with the results of the show that he made an executive decision to include a second a third category which was picked up by Nelson Rex and Candace Cooper, who won each $500. Mr. Rudolph During walked away with the voters choice award based on receiving the highest online votes from Orange Liberia’s subscribers.  

The three of them received their prizes from the hands of Oneil Roberts, Lyee Bility and C-Jay during an emotional press conference held at Orange Liberia HQ in Capitol Bye-Pass Tuesday this week.

The results of the competition instantly resonated with the audience as one onlooker observed;   “this is the first major public event that I have attended in decades that has ended in a peaceful, cordial and respectful way.”   The undisputed results can be attributed to the fact that Orange Liberia and Bilikon Entertainment had ensured that the entire event was judged and refereed by a highly respected panel of judges.   Finals judge Chris Wolo emphasized:  “it was a very tough choice but we are very certain that whoever we voted for you, you will go home satisfied knowing that it was the best decision.”  Judge Barkue Tubman shared a similar view while Master Queen emphasized how significant was the support of Orange Liberia to the music industry and the youth at large.

The Orange Music Talents event was so successful that Orange Liberia immediately committed for a second year run, which was announced at the close of the competition by Mr. Chateau. Said Mr. Chateau: “There is so much talent amongst the youth in this country, whether it is in music, fashion, football, basketball, debates or innovation, all of these field which we support with various sponsorship programs, that we need to develop furthermore these platforms giving them the opportunity to expose themselves, showcase their talents and grow.”

The second arm of the Orange Talents Competition, which is the Orange Fashion Talents, is also expected to wrap up at the TM Mall on Saturday,  June 1 at 6 pm, showcasing the work of the five finalists. Entrance is free.