One time, a fellow conducted a Twitter poll. He asked whom people would go for if they were given the chance to decide the winner between their less-talented friend and a stranger whose competence and expertise isn’t in doubt in a contest.
More than eighty percent of respondents indicated that they would vote for their friend. They would rather see their ally win. It was a matter of loyalty. They know their friend and would love to see them succeed despite their glaring shortcomings and the fact that the other person deserves it more.
I share the same sentiment. If I had to choose between my friend winning stuff and a stranger, I would go for my friend, except it’s a decision that has far-reaching consequences or they are pathetic at that thing and may end up embarrassing themselves.
Popularity contests don’t play fair.
It’s the first thing fans must understand when they punch their keypads to vote for their favourite in any competition.
The seventh edition of the AMVCAs held last weekend and it was perhaps the most controversial one in the history of the pan-African awards. The best-dressed category which debuted in this instalment was a point of disagreement for many viewers.
The second and more personal one was the snub of “King of Boys”, a movie which continues to receive rave reviews yet somehow managed to cart away zero plaques in the six categories in which it was nominated.
There are talks about a deliberate move to discountenance the efforts of the producers of the film. As one category was called after the other and the movie’s central characters lost to less known productions, audiences had a difficult time taking in what was happening. It wasn’t in the script; King of Boys was supposed to be the big winner of the night.
The battle of the stylists also reached a head with the emergence of Big Brother Nigeria’s alumni as winners of the best-dressed category.
Again, fans alluded to some conspiracy theory. Their indignation, backed up by the juxtaposition of a number looks they swore made a better cut than those of the crowned winners in a “Isn’t-it-obvious-Nana’s-avant-garde-outfit-is-better-than-Mercy’s-cinderella-dress?” or “How-can-Mike-win-best-dressed-when-Denola-clearly-killed-it?”
The debates have left me amused at how ignorant we are where matters of voting are concerned.
First of all, there were rules guiding eligibility to be a contender for best-dressed. Many of those who had the potential to win did not arrive during the stipulated time frame announced by the organisers and this rendered them ineligible to be voted for.
The most important factor, however, was voting.
It’s not a complex concept—whoever gets the highest votes—wins.
And this is where reality TV stars will always have an advantage. They have a fan base that is already used to voting; scores of show addicts who spent time and funds voting for many weeks, so a one-off voting challenge is a cinch for them.
I was gutted that King of Boys didn’t win anything.
It deserved to win in at least two categories, but even in my disappointment, the reality of the way things work when the public holds the ace was never lost on me.
It’s why I’ll always prefer a panel of judges who are professionals in the field making the voting decisions. This is not to suggest that the process would be faultless, rather, it gives contenders a fairer chance of winning on merit.
We need to get used to it: life is not fair.
Well-behaved people end up with abusive spouses. First-class graduates roam the streets for years in search of a job while their contemporaries who made third-class gain employment in reputable firms because they are from influential backgrounds.
Hard-working individuals struggle with poverty. The fate of countries with the best natural resources is determined by incompetent and selfish leaders who should have no business near the seat of power.
Sincere people are mocked for their forthrightness while the shoddy ones are praised for being “smart”.
Contests determined by popular votes mimic this reality.
We need to embrace this reality even if grudgingly else we will continue to shout ourselves hoarse and argue about what should have been.
The crowd isn’t wired to have a conscience. Loyalty calls the shots.