Yesterday ten people were voted out of the face of africell competition, so now it's down to twenty. The girls voted out put on brave "it's ok we can live with it" faces - for five minutes, then burst into inconsolable tears. The ones who didn't get voted out tried to hide their relief, and be gracious, hugging the others and patting them on the back. The GRTS cameraman swung the camera around wildly ("too many cool shots here - which to choose, which to choose?"), so you'd get a glimpse of a thigh here, a flash of a cheek there.
Afterwards they showed the scores, and Ms Leigh came first on the voting tally, with Lilian Bruce Oliver right behind her. The votes will accumulate instead of being reset at each round, which means unless something unexpected happens they will stay as they are now, with very little change from week to week. The finals are on the 8th September.
The Africell marketing machine has been squeezing every single droplet of advertising milk they can get out of this, which is in stark contrast to what Comium - the third cell phone company here - is doing with the rival competition they are sponsoring, the "Face of the Gambia". I wonder how long it is before Gamcell (the first cellphone company) comes up with their own version of the beauty pageant, with the title changed to Wollof just to show people that no, they are not copying anyone, this idea is actually theirs, and not something they saw on TV.
I was enthused at first about having a fresh new program on GRTS to keep people watching. But I'm not so sure I like the idea of a hundred "American Idol" lookalike programs on national TV. And this reflects the wider society - the tendency over here is for one person to get a good idea, and a hundred other people to just faithfully copy it, because that's so much easier. What we need - in our music, in our TV dramas and programs, all across our arts - is more people with original ideas, more people willing to go down the not-always-easy road of trying out things to see if they work, instead of just sticking to the tried and tested.