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Busisiwe perfoms on stage for the judges of The Voice SA.

The Blind Auditions of The Voice SA are almost over and the coaches have minimal spots remaining.

In this week’s penultimate episode of the Blind Auditions of The Voice SA, the coaches found themselves turning for some extra-special, surprising talent, leaving them with minimal spots remaining in their teams, before moving into the Battles phase of the competition. Once the Blind Auditions come to an end next week, the coaches will have to pair up the talent in each of their teams of 14 to sing against each other in a series of sudden death duets, where each coach can only save one of the two performers from each performance. 

Nine diversely different contenders were good enough to warrant the turning of the coaches’ iconic red chairs, including Botlhale Phora, 20, and Karabo Makwela, 24, who make up the vocal duo Blaque Harmony. The perfectly-synched friends in music started singing together just over a year ago, hoping to make ends meet for their families and raise funds for their studies.

Three of the four coaches – Karen ZoidKahn Morbee and  Bobby van Jaarsveld - desperately wanted the charming duo, who hail from Ga-rankuwa and who surprised the coaches by even answering questions in synch. In the end, Karen came out tops. She congratulated them on their outstanding performance and assured them that she wanted to be part of their journey on and beyond The Voice SA. Maybe it also helped a little that she knew the words to their audition song, Zahara’s Loliwe. Self-taught musician Almur Marais, 25, who recently moved from the small town of Stilfontein to Pretoria to become an apprentice fitter and turner, also wished to grab Karen Zoid’s attention with his Blind Audition of George Ezra’s Budapest. It worked. Karen loved his performance and turned her chair around. 

Also receiving three chair turns was Shen Winberg, 30, from Cape Town, who has toured extensively around the world with his music - from Dubai to Dublin, Namibia to the USA, and all over South Africa. Shen, who is the South African Cultural Youth Ambassador for the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation, inspired Kahn, Karen and Bobby to try their best to win him over. He ultimately chose Kahn. In another victory for Team Kahn, 24-year-old Jade McDonald from Lonehill in Johannesburg picked the Parlotones front man to be her coach after she put a jazzy spin on Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl during her Blind Audition. Jade felt that Kahn would be able not only to add finesse to her performances, but also teach her about marketing your brand. 

Joining team Bobby were two very distinctive performers, namely Sumaré van Schalkwyk, 34, from the Cape Town suburb of Brackenfell and Lyle Anthony Volkwyn, 28, from Johannesburg. With her eye on making a name for herself in the Afrikaans music industry, the recently-divorced Sumaré picked the Afrikaans classic Aan die Einde van die Reënboog about finding hope after losing love as her Blind Audition song. Even though Kahn loved her vibrato and technique, Bobby was the one who decided to turn his chair around for her. Lyle, meanwhile, caught the eye of M-Net viewers way back in 2008 when he did very well in the reality show High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa. Since then he has been working full-time as a professional singer and travelled the world, honing his vocal skills on cruise ships and going to places such as Brazil and New York. Lyle gave an energetic performance of Bruno Mars’s Treasure at the Blind Auditions and had all the coaches dancing along. Bobby knew that he was the voice that he still needed for his team and his colleagues allowed him to snatch up this star performer.  

Ending the show on a high note was the impressive performance of 18-year-old Jono Johansen from Durban - who has just completed matric at Kearnsey College – and is a double world champ chorister. All four of the coaches were waxing lyrical about Jono’s Blind Audition performance of Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down and his “control” and “special gift” inspired the potential future mentors to come up with elaborate pitches to win his favour.

Jono ultimately chose songstress Lira. Joining Jono on Team Lira was Busisiwe Mutlaka, 23, who originally hails from Cape Town, but is calling Jozi home now, where she works as a consultant for an IT firm. The courageous Busisiwe took to the stage at the Blind Auditions with a brave song choice – coach Lira’s inspiring hit Rise Again. Lira made Busi work hard for a turn, but pressed her buzzer towards the end of the performance. As the other coaches observed, Lira would be the perfect mentor for Busisiwe as they both have an academic and business background and Lira would be able to add heart and soul to her already existing star quality. 

The team stats as the currently stand are as follows:

  • #TeamBobby: Sumaré van Schalkwyk, Lyle Anthony Volkwyn, Vernon Barnard, Zoe Mtila, Chris Werge, Kim Collins, Gavin Edwards, Chanel Davids, Xanilee Hammond, Abel Knobel, Lana Crowster, Jessica Martins and Mbijana Sibisi – One spot left.
  • #TeamKahn: Shen Winberg, Jade McDonald, Justin Swallow, Lara Gear, Francis Bowers, Michelle Moodie, Richard Stirton, Clemour Ngobeni, Johan Anker, Eden Myrrh, Zé and Prime Zulu – Two spots left.
  • #TeamKaren:  Blaque Harmony, Almur Marais, Tracey-Lee Oliver, Jono Grayson, Sofaya Nkosi, Zaretha Duvenhage, Nadine Sisam, Sibongile Sibeko, Nontu X, Tulla Eckart, Thembeka Mnguni and Marcel de Almeida – Two spots left.
  • #TeamLira: Jono Johansen, Busisiwe Mutlaka, LuniQue, Sibulele Miti, William Wolf, Lendel Moonsamy, Robin Pieters, Kimberleigh van der Ventel, El Clay, Jeremy Olivier and Austin Lurring – Three spots left.

For more information about this week’s chosen talent and how the competition works, go to mnet.tv/thevoice

You can also join The Voice SA conversation on The Voice SA Facebook page, and via Twitter on @VoiceSA with the hashtag #TheVoiceSA, or use your WeChat account and check in with the ID MNetTV.

The Voice South Africa is produced for M-Net by AMPN and is sponsored by Dialdirect.