It has been an exciting week for The Voice SA fans. On Thursday 16 March, M-Net’s popular singing competition clinched the SAFTA for Best International Format. Then, during the last episode of Season 2’s Blind Auditions on Sunday 23 March, coaches Bobby van Jaarsveld, Karen Zoid, Lira and Kahn Morbee filled the remaining spots on their teams with more spectacular singers.
“Going into the next rounds, the most pertinent question is: which coach assembled the best team? ” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard. “There is so much more at stake for the coaches this season. By M-Net changing the format and giving the public all the say during the live shows, the coaches run the risk of not having a team member in the final. They simply have to make the right decisions throughout the competition. First, during The Battles and thereafter during our new competition phase The Knockouts”.
In the Battle rounds, which will kick off on Sunday 2 April, as The Voice SA is taking a short break on Sunday 26 March due to M-Net’s live broadcast of the Miss South Africa pageant, the four coaches will pair off their team members for grueling duets, after which they can only take one person to The Knockouts.
At the start of the last of the seven Blind Audition episodes on Sunday, there were three spaces left in #TeamKaren, while Lira and Kahn could give two more singers the opportunity of a lifetime. A stressed Bobby only had one more spot.
Soulful songstress Lira added two very different voices to her talented group of singers this evening: 27-year-old dance teacher Michelle Benham from Johannesburg and Sheldon De St Pern, 41, from Durban.
Michelle’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody not only earned her a full house of chair turns from the coaches, but also had the four mentors out of their red chairs and dancing along to her song! Despite having coach Karen Zoid telling Michelle that she could take her to the Top 10, and heart throb Bobby even joining her on stage to for a slow dance in an attempt to woo her onto his team, Michelle chose herself a spot with #TeamLira. Sheldon, undoubtedly one of the tallest talent on the show to date, performed Creed’s With Arms Wide Open. It was good enough to get both Lira and Karen to turn for him, and despite admitting that he was a huge Karen Zoid fan, Sheldon made the surprising decision to pick Lira as his coach, bringing her to tears.
Alongside Michelle and Sheldon, the rest of #TeamLira is made up of: Al Petersen, 28, from Cape Town; Amanda Faku, 23, from Port Elizabeth; Andrew Snyders, 37, from Cape Town; Aston Wylie, 24, from Gonubie; Bryce MacMillan, 28, from Johannesburg; Bubbles Mnomiya, 23, from Richard’s Bay; Jacqueline Tolken, 31, from Kempton Park; Luke Lovemore, 23, from Cape Town; Spha Mdlalose, 28, from Cape Town; and Tender Mavundla, 34, from Port Shepstone.
PJ Pretorius, 26, from Secunda was the first talent of the evening to be added to #TeamKaren. A full time worship leader from Secunda, PJ sang Coldplay’s Yellow and received three chair turns from the coaches but ultimately chose the Afrikaans rocker to be his mentor. Karen also landed 30-year-old Samantha Landers from Durban, who wowed with her stunning rendition of Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Sam, who clearly doesn’t shy away from a challenge, started her song completely a cappella without the support of The Voice SA band. The risk paid off for her, as Karen pressed her buzzer on the second note of the song! The smooth-toned voice belonging to Chico Muya, 24, from Durban completed Karen’s team. Chico’s friends – and The Voice SA Season 1 alumni Chloe Clark and Gavin Welsh – encouraged Chico to enter, and they were on point. His version of Oasis’s Wonderwall was exactly what Karen wanted to round off her team tally.
PJ, Samantha Landers and Chico joined the following talent in #TeamKaren: Armand Joubert, 21, from eMalahleni; Celest Schoeman, 28, from Strandfontein; Christie Woolmington, 20, from Johannesburg; Emma Ellis, 21, from Port Elizabeth; Lindo Sithole, 22, from Pietermaritzburg; Marissa Petzer, 22, from Stilfontein; Samantha Leonard, 24, from Kimberly; Veronique Lalouette, 35, from Johannesburg; and brother-and-sister duo The Massers, made up of Lillian Masser, 33, and John Masser, 30.
Season 1’s winning coach Kahn Morbee, known for choosing eclectic and left-of-centre talent, completed his team with two more unique voices: full time musician Lee Taylor, 31, and Dylan Pretorius, 32, both from Pretoria. Lee performed Jessie J’s Domino and reminded Kahn of Bonnie Tyler, while Dylan’s growling-voiced cover of Elton John’s Rocket Man crept right into Kahn’s heart and landed him the final position in his stable. Lee and Dylan now find themselves in the company of Christy-Lyn Marais, 28, from Cape Town; Craig Lucas, 24, from Cape Town; Fatman Brummer, 40, from Bela-Bela; Freddie Lalendle, 23, from Durban; Kirby Jo, 23, from Cape Town; Mia Pretorius, 20, from Potgietersrus; Monique Hellenberg, 33, from Cape Town; Sonia Morsner, 24, from Vereeniging; Zee Gqamana, 23, from Port Elizabeth; and the duo Symphony, made up of Charl Esterhuizen, 20; and Christopher Mabasa, 27, from eMalahleni.
Bobby, who knew he had to pick an amazing vocalist as his last representative, followed his instincts and turned for Dawie de Jager, 33, from Pretoria. Dawie started out his singing career as a member of successful Afrikaans band Klopjag and now he splits his time between composing musical scores for feature films, and cultivating orchids! Dawie’s rendition of the U2 anthem One had both Karen and Bobby delighted to see him, as they instantly recognised him from his Klopjag days, but it was Bobby – who admitted to stealing money from his mother as a youngster in order to buy a Klopjag album – that landed Dawie on his team. Dawie’s new #TeamBobby family comprises Alex Cavan, 23, from Port Elizabeth; Anchen Groenewald, 19, from Rustenburg; Caroline-Grace Brussow, 31, from Bloemfontein; Chad Jubber, 18, from Durban; Jean Citto, 23, from Cape Town; Jeanne-Mari Engelbrecht, 29, from Strand; John James Janse van Rensburg, 18, from Carltonville; Josh Ansley, 31, from Johannesburg; Marco Basson, 23, from Van der Bijl Park; Meggan Moore, 25, from Langebaan; and Rick Jansen, 18, from Centurion.
Each coach now has 12 talent in their team as the series moves into the Battle rounds of the competition.