In a jaw-dropping result that sent shockwaves in homes and on social media across the country, one of the contestants marked for the Top Three was sent home.
Keegan Martin, 24, was the surprise contestant who did not get his share of viewers’ votes to keep him on Idols. A judges’ favourite – of whom Randall Abrahams once declared “it ain’t over ‘till Keegan sings” – Keegan’s exit solidified that there’s nothing predictable about Idols SA.
Reacting to Keegan’s exit, Unathi Msengana explained: “It’s been hard to predict what South Africa wants. It’s such a tumultuous and emotional time. Everyone who is here right now deserves to be here; Keegan deserves to be here.”
But the show must go on, and for the first time this season the contestants had to perform two songs chosen by viewers.
Tebogo’s chosen tunes were Intliziyo by Nathi and These Arms by All 4 One.
Lucia sang A Couple of Forevers by Chrisette Michelle and at Last by Etta James.
Thami performed Etta James’ All I Could, as well as Sand Castles by Beyoncé.
Bevin started with Can We Talk by Tevin Campbell and followed up with Diamonds by Rihanna.
Terra Cox’s picks were Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me and Sia’s Alive.
Bringing up the rear was Noma with Karabo’s Ngifuna Lo and Jennifer Hudson’s Giving Myself to You.
After the first song, three of the four judges declared Thami the forerunner of the evening after his emotive Etta James heartbreaker song. And in another first this season, Terra received a thumbs down from two judges. Tonight was proving to be a race like no other so far.
The second round of songs saw Tebogo receive positive comments all round, with Somizi Mhlongo not only complimenting the dreadlocked singer’s voice but also his “tight” pants.
Another contestant who received rave reviews was Lucia, whose new curly golden added star quality to her already star look and dazzling voice.
Gareth Cliff predicted that Thami will be South Africa’s own Luther Vandross in a decade or two.
Bevin was declared a “popstar” by Randall, who complimented him on being able to work with the energy of the crowd. Gareth said he had smacked his performance out the ballpark.
Terra Cox’s second performance was his saving grace. Somizi reiterated that he was the best vocalist on Idols, and Gareth said he had shut the show down.
Noma closed the Top Six show with a powerful performance, and received some advice from the judges to stop retreating into herself. The confidence she had shown on stage a couple of weeks ago seems to be waning, according to the judges’ comments, who advised her to reclaim her space in the spotlight again.
Next week, one more contestant will be leaving to make way for the Top Five. It’s now crunch time, so if you want to see your favourite, get those thumbs working!