BY BILLY SUTER
THIRTEEN years on and Idols SA, rather incongruously, is still being produced in South Africa, notwithstanding the almost simultaneous screening of the infinitely superior The Voice South Africa.
Good news for those who still follow the first of the reality TV singing contests is that the new season of Idols SA is scheduled to start at 5pm on Sunday, July 9 – and will be seen on Mzansi Magic (DStv’s channel 161).
After visiting seven cities across South Africa, auditioning thousands of hopefuls, and awarding close to 80 Golden Tickets, the Top 16 spots on Idols SA have finally been filled, a DStv spokesman announced today.
“The thirteenth season is set to be an epic battle of powerful vocals, star quality and sheer charisma. Theatre Week saw to it that only the most tenacious of talents made it to the coveted Top 16, because as expected, it was anything but easy getting here,” the spokesman added.
By the end of the first day, excitement had reportedly turned to apprehension as things got very real, very quickly, for the eager amateur singers. Nearly 30 contestants were sent home before they could even unpack their toothbrushes.
“This left 48 anxious but determined candidates to battle it out in the Group Stage. Two groups of three each had to sing the same song, with a winning group being chosen and the rest holding their breath as they heard their fate from the judges.”
Judges Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Somizi Mhlongo (Gareth Cliff has now left the panel) were not playing games; they wanted quality, the spokesman said.
“Twenty people were cut in the Group Stage, leaving 28 to fight in the Solo Stage. They could see the spotlight within reach, and had to rely on their talent, discipline and nerves of steel to bag a spot in the Top 16.”
Accompanied by percussions, piano and guitar, the contestants gave their all on the stage, watched by an enthusiastic audience and cheered on by family, friends and strangers.
As expected, some thrived while others buckled under the pressure forgetting lyrics. The judges were having none of that.
“After all these years of watching Idols, you should know by now that it’s unforgivable to forget your lyrics! It’s disrespectful to us the judges, the people watching at home and to this audience. It’s simply unacceptable,” said judge Unathi.
Songs choices ranged from contemporary Afro-pop hits such asLira’s Ngiyazifela and Musa’s Mthande, to R&B favourites Vision of Love by Mariah Carey, and No More Drama by Mary J Blige.
Pop favourites such as Rihanna’s Man Down and Jennifer Hudson’s Spotlight also made the cut. The contestants gave their best interpretations and received a lot of love from the auditorium audience.
Comments from the judges were a mixed bag, with the judges praising some contestants for being flawless while others left them underwhelmed and a few did not move them at all.
“In the end, five returnees made the Top 16 while the rest of the spots were taken by newbies.
Later this year, one of them will be crowned the ultimate winner of Idols SA.