Idols SA Season 16 has certainly not being an easy journey for the contestants, but today, the guys who make up the top 16 proved they can take the uncertainty and disruption of the lockdown in their stride and bring their best to the stage.
The theme for the evening was the best cover songs, and the guys brought on to the stage all the soul and passion they could bring to the stage.
With the contestants performing without a live audience, the Idols SA production team introduced fan technology where the judges could, from a press of a button, play a recording of an applause after every performance, while the families of all the eight contestants could cheer their favourites on via a live virtual platform.
“With the first of the live performances now done, it is now up to the viewers to decide who progresses to the top 10,” says Nomsa Philiso, the head of Local Entertainment Channels at M-Net. “All I can say is that it was an exciting day for all us despite the lockdown restrictions. Trying to navigate a new normal is never easy, but our contestants have adapted well and judging by the quality of the performances, I think this might be one of our best seasons yet,” she said.
Sonwabile ZanoThando, taking on Ray Charles’s ‘I got a woman’, kicked off the season with a performance that was met with mixed reviews from the judges.
Randall Abrahams opened the judges’ comments with a not-so-friendly quip, and said ZanoThando sounded like the guy singing in front of a mirror with a hairbrush. He advised him to focus.
Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung differed, with Unathi saying he has given his market all that they need to make sure he makes it the next round. Somizi echoed Unathi’s comments, apologising to him for calling him a one-trick pony. He did, however, warn ZanoThando not to take Abraham’s words for granted before heaping him with more compliments.
Zahn-Reece, too, performed to a mixed feedback from the judges. While Unathi felt his rendition of ‘Superstar’, a classic song that was re-recorded by Luther Vandross in 2001 and by Usher in 2004,had the right balance of tenderness, boldness, vigour to make it an excellent performance, Randall felt it was more a Luther Vandross rendition than a Zahn-Reece performance. Somizi felt the song was too big to allow him to understand the emotional side.
Ethan’s performance of Micheal Bublé’s ‘Feeling Good’ was met with ululations and squeals of delight from Unathi. Somizi said it was a performance that deserved to be on a big stage. Randall, however, said despite the great melodies and notes, he could not wait for the performance to end.
While Randall remained lukewarm through many of the performances, he loved Jooma’s performance, saying he would have voted for him. Brandon’s version of Calum Scott’s ‘Dancing on my own’ was also met with the thumbs up.
Succedor’s ‘Emotion’, Mr Music’s ‘All I do is cry’ and Qhawe’s ‘Try a little tenderness’ also took to the stage, with the judges not quite getting to consensus on their performances.
Next week, it’s the ladies’ turn to show us that they are the next South African Idol.
Last night’s performances:
Sonwabile Zanothando: I got a Woman – Ray Charles
Zahn-Reece: Superstar – Usher
Ethan: Feeling Good – Michael Bublé
Jooma: Always and Forever – Luther Vandross
Succedor: Emotion – Destiny’s Child
Bruce Mr Music: All I do is cry – Beyoncé
Brandon: Dancing on my own – Calum Scott
Qhawe: Try a little Tenderness – Chris Brown