After a spectacular Showstopper Show last Sunday, Idols continues to push the Mzansi’s future superstars to the max. Tonight saw the Top Six perform two songs each, a first for this season’s live shows.
The first round, dubbed the Celebration of SA Music, was based on an artist or group that inspires each contestant. The second round was inspired by Love Songs, and saw the safe six serenading the audience at the State Theatre in Pretoria as well as the multitude of fans watching from home.
In no particular order, Proverb called out the ones who had the received the bulk of the almost 11 million votes over the past week.
Thato was the first to make it on stage and picked the legendary Ray Phiri, lead singer of the inimitable Stimela, as his inspiration. His first song was the band’s Where Did We Go Wrong, followed by Usher’s U Got It Bad. Sceptic Somizi made an about-turn from his initial impression, calling Thato “smooth, sexy and memorable”. Randall didn’t hold back: “The late Ray Phiri would have loved that performance, and you made this [Usher] look so easy. I think you’ll slip to the top.”
Nosipho followed with her musical heroine Zahara’s Destiny. Her love song was Beyoncé’s Halo, a performance that received a positive response from the judges. “After two weeks of bad reviews, I really felt that tonight we saw a whole new Nosipho,” said Randall. Somizi agreed, saying he “accepts” her for who she is and that’s who her audience loves. “Stay true to yourself!” he said.
Niyaaz was next hear his name called. He named his inspiration as Afropop group Micassa, performing their timeless smash hit Jika. He followed up with Crazy Love by Brian McKnight. The judges concurred that he seems to have found his niche.
Thando received mixed reviews for her rendition of Thandiswa Mazwai’s Nizalwa Ngobani and the Whitney Houston ballad, I Believe in You and Me. Somizi gave her a standing ovation for the first song because “she sang it young and fresh” but Randall felt both performances were distinctly “cabaret” and wasn’t impressed.
King B gave an impassioned performance of Kelly Khumalo’s Baby Please, gaining a standing ovation from both Somizi and Unathi. His follow-up was Adele’s Make You Feel My Love, accompanied by just piano. Unathi said she couldn’t wait to be invited to his one-man show so she can listen to him for three hours. Randall said King B could go through with just one song while others sing two. Somizi simply said “magnifique”.
Towards the end of Round One, it came down to Yanga and Xae, who nervously clutched hands as they waited for Proverb to announced who received the least votes for the week. The curtain fell on Xae, leaving Yanga to give a fervent performance of Zahara’s Xa Bendingena Mama to a full house standing ovation. She later closed up the show with If This Isn’t Love by Jennifer Hudson. Somizi was bowled over, saying she fed his “spirit” and that he prayed for her to “make it to the end of this marathon”. But it was Unathi who rightfully announced she deserved bragging rights because she’d fought for her during Theatre Week. “It’s a Yanga overload and a wonderful overload!”
With such a frantic pace, Idols still managed to bless the audience and viewers with a live performance by Vusi Nova, singing his latest hit, Asphelelanga featuring poet Jessica Mbangeni, a tribute to fallen artists.
Idols SA season 14 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 17h00.