The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘Phenomenon’ as something that can be observed…that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully; someone or something that is very impressive or popular especially because of an unusual ability or quality.
Reggie N Bollie are a phenomenon, in every sense of the word.
They first came to our screens as ‘Menn On Point’. The eagle-eyed among us caught on to the fact that the smaller of the duo was Bollie, the man who brought us the classic tune ‘You May Kiss The Bride’. Others will have known that the taller and more vocal Reggie released three singles in Ghana in 2006: ‘Virgin’, ‘For Sale’ & ‘Adoma’. Their thick Ghanaian accents caught our ears as they entered the stage to stand before the judges. We all didn’t know what to expect. Some of us probably even reached for cushions, pillows, or whatever else we could find to hide behind. Their VT didn’t offer much encouragement. It looked like these guys were set-up to be disasters. I still remember the Twitter timeline was full of people from other African nations calling Ghanaians to watch as we were about to disgrace ourselves and the entire continent on live primetime TV.
Oh how those haters went quiet!
Since then, Reggie N Bollie’s progress through the competition has been relentless. At every stage where one felt they would lose steam, they pulled another strong performance out of the bag, winning over more and more fans along the way. From the entire judging panel, to guest stars like Louis Tomlinson – who is a member of arguably the biggest music group in the world One Direction – the humble duo of Reggie N Bollie have been winning hearts, winning acclaim, and most importantly of all, winning the public vote. Support which has culminated in them winning a place in the X Factor 2015 Live Finals on Sunday 6th December 2015.
While their vocal performances aren’t the best, their sheer exuberance is infectious. Every week, they have been the ones to watch. The Afrobeat feel that they have brought to the competition is fresh, new and unusual for a competition like the X Factor which favours the Mariah’s and Whitney’s of this world. This season he has jigged about the presenters, the format and even at one point the announcer, but Reggie N Bollie’s sound and energy have been the fresh air that Simon Cowell has so desperately sought for his show.
Social media snapped, crackled and popped with celebration and exclaim from Ghanaians both in the UK and those following in Ghana itself. Funnily enough, with a place in the final, a different set of dissenters have decided to rear their ugly heads.
‘Jokes over’ some have said. ‘They’re a novelty act’ claim others. To call Reggie N Bollie a ‘novelty act’, as a certain red-top tabloid publication trumpeted in their pages the day after the boys secured their place in the 2015 finals, does them the greatest disservice. Novelty acts include those from ages past such as Wagner, acts with no talent who prance about the stage playing the clown. Reggie N Bollie are simply bringing a brand of music to X Factor platform which it’s never seen before and there are many out there who don’t understand what to make of it! In a season where among the other competitors we have seen the twelve shades of the grey we see year in year out on the X Factor, Reggie N Bollie have splashed vibrant multicolour all over the set on a weekly basis.
And that’s why they’re in the Finals. If you wanted to see a barnstorming wild and energetic performance in this year’s live shows, they were the ones who were going to bring it. Every Saturday was Ghana Independence Parade live on ITV1. Who would have thought that we would ever see Cheryl Fernandez-Versini displaying her finest Azonto on the X Factor stage? But they made it happen! It’s no surprise that the performance that was called their worst, the semi-final rendition of ‘Locked Away’ was their most laidback performance of the whole series!
Reggie N Bolie have been the great performers, the show-stoppers – black stars colouring the X Factor landscape with a red, gold and green hue. And much of the British public gets them – they get the flair, they love the flavour, they’re enjoying the ride! Reggie N Bollie have injected adrenaline into a format which had been striving for a new lease of life, and brought a new vibe amongst a cohort which doesn’t really bring anything different to what has been seen before. While the others are fighting for a chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the pop acts of today, Reggie N Bollie have been running their own race, in their own lane, with their own inimitable style.
For the second year running, after the exploits of Fleur East last year, Ghana stands proud once again at the finals of the X Factor. Reggie N Bollie have taken the baton and continued to run fast with it, right to the summit. Will this be second time lucky? Louisa Johnson may the strong favourite, but you never know. After all, phenomena are unusual and difficult to explain…
By Dr. Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)