The Voice SA Season 2’s tense and often heartbreaking Knockout rounds concluded this week with coaches Lira and Bobby van Jaarsveld filling the final spots in their teams of four. This means that viewers now know who the 16 talented singers are who will have to wow the voting public to become the next Voice of South Africa.
From next week Sunday, 21 May, The Voice SA moves to the Mosaiek Teatro in Fairland, Johannesburg where many of the country’s music icons will join the talent on stage week on week.
“This year’s live shows are going to bigger and better,” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity. “The venue can pack more fans, the four coaches have picked exceptional talent and there are also more live shows than in the past. Furthermore, we have tweaked the format and this time not all of the coaches will have a singer from their team left in the finals. They will have to give it their all to make it to the top!”
This is how the final spots for the live voting phase were filled:
After the stress of last week’s choices reduced her to tears, coach Lira paired “soulful and vivacious” Spha Mdlalose (28) from Cape Town with the effervescent Bubbles Mnomiya (23) from Durban, while Dylan Pretorius (28) faced powerhouse singer Marissa Petzer (22) from Stilfontein. Bubbles’ jazzy spin on her coach’s hit “Nigyafela” then earned her a place in #TeamLira while Marissa’s take on Evanescence’s difficult song “Bring Me To Life” helped her to make the cut.
Then coach Bobby had to make some difficult decisions. His first Knock-Out was between Bryce MacMillan (28) from Johannesburg and Caroline Brussow (31) from Bloemfontein. Caroline chose Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger”, against Bryce’s version of MiCasa’s “Turn You On”. “You frickin’ slayed,” Karen told Caroline and Lira agreed. “You came to fight, you didn’t come to play out here,” she said. “We knew it was going to be tough, I didn’t know it was going to be this tough,” Bobby admitted, but he gave his first spot on #TeamBobby to Caroline.
19-year-old Matriculant John-James Janse van Rensburg from Carletonville squared off against veteran singer Dawie de Jager (33) from Pretoria for the second spot. Dawie chose another Kelly Clarkson song, “Because Of You”, up against John’s version of Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”. “You have a very special talent,” Lira told Dawie, whose performance had Karen in tears. “I’ve just fallen in love with you all over again,” she told him. Bobby agreed that Dawie had a lot to be proud of, but he gave the second spot on his team to teenager John-James.
With two more spots open on #TeamBobby he paired Armand Joubert (21) from eMalahleni with Josh Ansley (33) from Johannesburg. Armand prepared local hit “Make You Love Me” from TiMO ODV, to take on Josh’s rendition of 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Going On”. Kahn thought that vocally Armand was “the man”, but Karen thought they were both amazing artists. “It was a proper Knock-Out,” Lira said. “I really can’t say who I prefer.” But Bobby had to choose only one, and the third position on his team went to Josh.
That left the Knock-Out for the final Top 16 position between Alex Cavan (23) from Port Elizabeth and Marco Basson (23) from Vanderbijlpark. Alex chose the Just Jinger classic “Father and Father” and Marco decided to try out a rock star image with “Light Em Up” from Fall Out Boy. “It’s tough one because I would buy Alex’s album, but I would want to go to Marco’s concert,” Kahn commented, and both Lira and Karen thought this was Alex’s best performance so far. But in a surprise twist, Bobby gave the final spot on his team to the self-described nerdy engineer, Marco.
So, here is the Top 16 that will be competing for South Africa’s votes from next week:
- Marissa Petzer (22) entered The Voice SA for the first time last year and didn’t find stardom that time around, but found love instead, with crowd favourite Almur “Stilfontein” Marais.
- Bubbles Mnomiya (23) was mentored in Los Angeles by the American jazz saxophonist and songwriter Kirk Whalum but had given up on singing competitions, until her mother persuaded her to try one last time on The Voice SA.
- Luke Lovemore (23) performed music at Cape Town’s well-known Stardust restaurant, which is where he befriended The Voice SA Season 1 winner Richard Stirton. After having seen Richard’s journey of success last year, and with Richard’s encouragement, Luke decided that it was time for him to try out too.
- Tender Mavundla (35) is no stranger to the musical world. When Tender lived in Johannesburg, she won competitions such asJam Alley’s Megastar and collaborated with some of SA’s biggest musicians before moving back to her home town of Port Shepstone in order to study TV and Film Production.
- Caroline Brussow (31) started her creative life as a dancer back in Bloemfontein and after school she completed her Law degree at the University of the Free State and started clerking at the High Court in Bloemfontein. In 2013 her life took a different turn when she married former Cheetah and Springbok Heinrich Brüssow, who these days is a flanker for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in Osaka, Japan.
- John-James Janse van Rensburg (19) is still a Grade 12 learner at Hoërskool Carltonville who couldn’t wait to be old enough to finally enter The Voice SA.
- Josh Ansley (33) has been singing and performing since his childhood in Zimbabwe, where he grew up in Harare and Karoi, and performed with the Barnyard Theatre for many years. But now as a newlywed he wants to settle down to a solo career.
- Marco Basson (23) is a chemical engineer from Vanderbijlpark with what Kahn describes as a “geeky kind of Buddy Holly vibe” which belies a secret inner life as a rock star.
- Fatman (40), the music teacher from Bela Bela, has the telephone numbers of a long list of South African music stars since he’s been on the local circuit for many years and might just become a big celeb in his own right soon too.
- Freddy Lalendle (23) from Durban’s raspy voice had all four of the coaches raving. Karen even said that South Africa needed a musician like him after is performance of Vance Joy’s “Riptide”. Freddy lives with his wife Celene in Overport in Durban where he also runs his band, “The Subway Run”.
- Zee Gqamana (23) from Grahamstown studied Information Technology as her family encouraged her to put her education first before her first love, which is music. She has just completed her BSc Honours in Information Systems at Rhodes University and felt it was the perfect time to enter The Voice SA.
- Craig Lucas (24) from Cape Town, a graduate in Economics and Politics at UCT who has never sung in front of such a big audience prior to his Blind Audition. He promised his mother that he’d finish his degree before starting on a road to music, so will he make her proud in the Live rounds too?
- Samantha Leonard (24) from Kimberly has been singing since a very young age and has spent her adult life gigging all around South Africa. She entered The Voice SA to fulfil her life-long dream of going pro.
- Lindo Sithole (22) studied a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Business at UKZN Pietermartizburg before venturing into music full time. His biggest musical inspiration is his late grandfather, who he never got to meet in his lifetime, but whose legacy as one of the best musicians in Pietermaritzburg – as well as his unique sense of style – fired up a passion in Lindo too.
- PJ Pretorius (26) got his start in music singing in church in Secunda where he grew up. Today he works as a full time worship leader at his church in Secunda.
- Amanda Faku (23) grew up singing, in church and in school choirs, and after school went to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University to study Accountancy. Her Blind audition on The Voice SA was the first time ever performing in front of a crowd.
Next Sunday [21 May] these singers will start competing for South Africa’s votes in the Live shows. Team Kahn and Team Karen will be up first and the special guest acts are the South African electronic band Goodluck and Connell Cruise.