AFTER hours of standing in audition queues, the thrill of receiving a Golden Ticket, the suspense of the journey to Theatre Week, the heartbreak of watching new friends depart in tears, the anxiety of knowing your dream is within reach … it finally come down to this: the last performance day of Theatre Week.
Thirty-seven contestants were left standing after the brutal culling that took place over the first solo and group rounds. Nerves were frayed, voices were strained and exhaustion had set in. But there was no time for rest and relaxation for the hopeful popstars, as knocks were heard on their hotel room doors at ungodly hours.
The special delivery? An envelope for each one with the name of the song they will be singing, selected by the judges! After 24hrs of frantic rehearsals, arrangements, vocal coaching and sound checks, it was time for the contestants to step on stage and face not only the judges, but a large audience for the first time this season.
No pressure then!
First up was Nontobeko “Luke” Ntombela (27) singing Zahara’s Imali. After she barely scrapped through during the group round, she was determine to nail this performance of a lifetime. And boy did she just!
Gareth Cliff rated it high, calling the performance confident, engaging and beautiful. Somizi Mhlongo called her tone “haunting” and Randall Abrahams agreed that her confidence shone through. Unathi Msengana simply thanked her.
It was off to a good start on this last day.
Sazi Mqingwana (24) impressed Gareth with Adele’s When We Were Young, with the judge saying it was “exciting listening to you sing”.
More compliments started rolling. Unathi said 20 year-old Alicia Van Wyk’s voice was “insane” and she “owned” Beyoncé’s Dance for You. Matthew Gardiner (19) also received high praise from Somizi: “You will sell. There’s a gap for people like you in the industry.” Tebogo Louw (24) when Randall complimented him for the first time, Unathi told Lucia Jakeni (26) was told she was becoming more and more memorable with each round, Valentine Mathe (20) got an overall great response from everyone, while Somizi told Tersius “Terra” Kocks (28) that “your performance was as tight as those jeans!”
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. While some contestants were left smiling, others were left nervous by the judges’ comments.
Keamogetswe Msiza (19) did not impress when she sang I Bet by Ciara. “I couldn’t wait for the performance to finish,” said Randall. Lindokuhle Sithole (20) performed Bruno Mars’ Just the Way You Are, to which Gareth critiqued: “The vocal was nasal and you let yourself down.” For Sandile Ngcamu (18) things looked even bleaker when he simply gave up on The Man by Aloe Blacc. “Judging by your own reaction, you know you’re not the man,” was Gareth’s sombre response.
Now it remains to be seen who will emerge victorious in this battle of wills, wits, and voices. Will past performances tally up to save those who didn’t do so great during the last great stretch? Will those who redeemed themselves during the last performance triumph?
Who will make it to the Top 16 of Idols Season 12?
Idols SA season 12 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161 on Sundays at 17h30.
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Issued by MNet