In the first episode of The Voice SA Season 2’s grueling new Knock-Out rounds, Parlotones front man Kahn Morbee – who produced the first winner of this prestigious television singing contest – had to choose the four singers to represent him in the live voting rounds. He picked an eclectic mix comprising soulful Information Systems graduate Zee Gqamana (23) from Port Elizabeth, the raspy-voiced cool cat Freddy Lalendle (23) from Pietermaritzburg, the inimitable comedian Fatman (40) from Bela Bela, who showed his serious side this week with a masterful rendition of the iconic Afrikaans song Liefling, and Craig Lucas (24) from Cape Town, who Kahn previously described as “the love child of Freddy Mercury and John Legend”.
These four talent will be singing for South Africa’s votes in a few weeks’ time, along with Amanda Faku (22) from Port Elizabeth, who was the first member of Karen Zoid’s team to make it through to the Live rounds.
“Kahn had to make some tough decisions, but ended up with a diverse group of singers who promise to be strong competition in the live rounds,” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard. “Now, the pertinent question is: will coaches Karen Zoid, Lira, and Bobby van Jaarsveld be able to compile a team that can outperform #TeamKahn at the public voting polls? Judging by the talent still lined-up for the remaining Knock-Outs, we’re in for vocal fireworks during this year’s bigger and better live shows at the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairland.”
While tickets to the live shows, starting on 21 May, will be available at Computicket from this week onwards, Karen, Lira and Bobby will finalise their teams during the next two episodes of the show (Sunday 6 and 13 May). These two episodes will feature the remaining Knock-Outs in which the eight talent in each coach’s team is narrowed down to four.
But how did Kahn decide who to take through to The Voice SA’s lives in tonight’s episode (Sunday, 30 April) and how did Amanda secure her position in #TeamKaren?
In an impressive episode showcasing incredible vocal performances from both the coaches and the talent alike, tonight’s show was bound to be emotional from the start. The coaches kicked off the episode with an epic rendition of the Queen classic Don’t Stop Me Now, before clearing the stage to make way for the talent in #TeamKahn.
The big stage gets the better of Kirby
Coach Kahn called his eight vocalists to the stage tonight, and had the difficult task of pairing up his talent to sing against each other in each Knock-Out performance. The first pairing that Kahn settled on was between Cape Town’s Kirby Jo (23) and Zee Gqamana (23) from Port Elizabeth, due to the fact that both singers possess very “soulful” voices, according to their coach. Kahn told both ladies that he would be looking for which one of them interpreted their song the best, and brought the most accomplished performance to the stage. Kirby chose to sing the emotional Beyonce ballad If I Were A Boy, but struggled with her nerves and maintaining control of the song when it came to performing first. Zee took to the stage after Kirby with a local hit, Zonke’s Jik Izinto, and received high praise from all of the coaches. Both Bobby and Lira encouraged Kirby to never doubt herself because her nerves clearly got the better of her. With that, Kahn picked Information Systems Honours graduate Zee as his first talent for the Live shows.
The next two singers that Kahn chose to pit against each other were alternative performer Freddy Lalendle (23) from Kwa Zulu-Natal and petite powerhouse Al Petersen (28) from Cape Town. Both singers chose to go a little out of their comfort zones in their song choices, with Freddy picking rock song Heathens by 21 Pilots and Al selecting the Nelly classic Hot In Here – a rap song that was a big departure from her usual, more down-tempo style. “I have to challenge myself, as a way to grow as an artist,” Al reflected. Despite a flawless performance by Al, as well as gallantly coping with a mid-performance wardrobe malfunction, Kahn had to give the Knock-Out to enigmatic Freddy, as he just has a special something that Kahn believes will go far in the competition.
Kahn’s penultimate Knock-Out was between Economics graduate Craig Lucas (24) from Cape Town and Education student Mia Pretorius (20) from Potgietersrus. Mia’s rendition of Not Ready To Make Nice by Dixie Chicks had all of the coaches raving. Kahn told Mia that if she wasn’t signed by a record label the moment she leaves the show, he’d be amazed, as she is “ready to take the music business on as a full package”. Coach Karen also noted that she had no idea just what a consummate performer Mia was. But it was pop-rocker Craig, whose cover of FUN’s We Are Young, that had the coaches and the audience alike absolutely stunned. “You have the control and the soul,” Karen told Craig. “You left your blood and guts on that stage, what an incredible performance,” she continued. Kahn told Craig that if he kept performing like that, he could follow in Richard Stirton’s footsteps and win this competition. With that, Craig joined Zee and Freddy as Kahn’s pick for the Live shows.
Ashton stumbles and Fatman takes advantage
The final Knock-Out for #TeamKahn was arguably the toughest for the coach. Music teacher Aston Wylie (23) from Gonubie was up against another music teacher, the larger-than-life Fatman (40) from Bela Bela. Both performers chose local songs for their Knock-Outs; Aston picked Arno Carsten’s anthemic Another Universe while Fatman chose the quintessential Afrikaans ballad “Liefling” by Ge Korsten, which blew everyone away with its sheer magnitude and vocal power. Aston – who Kahn stole from #TeamLira in the Battles – followed Fatman, and accompanied himself on the piano in a stripped down version of his song. Lira told Aston that it was lovely to see him in his element behind an instrument, but that the moment he left the piano and performed without it, his performance lost some of its shine. On the other hand, she told Fatman that his cover of Liefling was simply “brilliant.” Karen agreed and stated matter-of-factly that Fatman was better than Aston. Coach Kahn admitted to being very torn, but ultimately agreed with Karen Zoid and chose Fatman to round off his team for the Live shows and the public’s vote.
Amanda and Rick Jansen put on memorable performances
Once #TeamKahn had been concluded, it was time for the contenders in #TeamKaren to step up onto the stage, as Karen paired her first Knock-Out talent up: Amanda Faku (23) from Port Elizabeth and Rick Jansen (18) from Centurion – both talent that Karen stole from other teams during the Battle rounds. Amanda chose to sing Nomvula by local artist Nathi, while Rick opted for the fast-paced Love Runs Out by international pop rockers One Republic. Both talent did their songs justice, and Karen raved to Amanda that she is “a soul sister, Earth Mother who has the voice of a prophet. When you sing, it speaks to my soul,” Karen gushed. Likewise, she complimented Rick on doing a phenomenal job, and predicted that he has a bright musical career ahead of him, if he continues to work as hard and put himself out there, like he’s done on The Voice SA. Wishing Rick well, Karen announced that the first talent that she would be taking into the Live rounds of the show was Amanda.