Lindo Sithole on stage.

Karen Zoid finalises her team to wow the voting public in The Voice SA Season 2… and Lira is halfway there.

In this week’s Knock-Outs of The Voice SA, classy singer Samantha Leonard, 24, suave Lindo Sithole, 23, and heartbreaker PJ Pretorius, 26, joined Amanda Faku, 23, from Port Elizabeth in the team that will represent coach Karen Zoid in the live shows of the series. These four singers will vie for the support of the voting public, alongside those in the teams of coaches Kahn Morbee, Bobby van Jaarsveld and Lira

While Kahn picked his team last week and Karen finalised hers this week, viewers now also know who two of the singers competing in the live shows for #TeamLira are. After two tough and emotional Knock-Outs, in which the songstress had to pair off four of the remaining talent in her team, Lira opted to proceed with ambitious Tender Mavundla, 35, from Port Shepstone as well as exceptional rocker Luke Lovemore, 23, from Cape Town. 

Read more:

- The Voice SA: Singers wow judges

- Crunch time for coach Karen

On Sunday 14 May, viewers will witness which other two performers will join Luke and Tender in Lira’s team as well as how Bobby van Jaarsveld whittles down his current group of eight singers to four. 

“The solo performances in this week’s Knock-Outs showed once again that Season 2 of The Voice SA’s talent is absolutely phenomenal,” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard. “We can’t wait to see how they will fare when they have to wow their coaches and the voting public during the exhilarating, but also nerve wracking live broadcasts.”

The live shows will start on Sunday 21 May at the impressive Mosaiek Teatro in Fairland, Johannesburg, which is more than double the size of last season’s venue for this stage of the competition. Tickets for these events, during which the talent will also be joined by many of the country’s top-selling artists, are open to the public and available at Computicket at R50 per ticket.  

This is how this week’s Knock-Outs played out in #TeamKaren and #TeamLira: 

After Amanda Faku became #TeamKaren’s first candidate for the live shows last week, the remaining six singers had to follow her victory against Rick Jansen, 19. First up were the two powerhouse female vocalists of Karen’s team, Celest Schoeman, 28, from Strandfontein and Samantha Leonard, 24, from Kimberly. Both ladies received four chair turns from the coaches in their original Blind Auditions, and the pairing promised to be one of Karen’s toughest choices of the night. “You’re both divas, just crazy singers,” Karen explained. The two song birds had similar styles, and only one of them could progress further. Celest stepped up first with a soulful rendition of Rihanna’s Russian Roulette while Samantha followed with her cover of Jessie J’s Who You Are. Karen complimented both talent on bringing grace and finesse to their performances. While Lira connected more with Celest’s offering and Kahn felt that Samantha came out with guns blazing, in the end, Karen chose the singer who she thought could win the entire competition, and that was a visibly stunned Samantha.

Next up, Karen pitted bubbly Emma Ellis, 23, from Port Elizabeth against worship leader PJ Pretorius, 26, from Secunda, which also meant that the final pairing for #TeamKaren was between professional musician Veronique Lalouette, 35, from Johannesburg and Lindo Sithole, 23, from Pietermaritzburg. Emma stepped up first with her stripped down version of Justin Bieber’s Sorry. Karen put these two talent up against each other in this round because they’re “both sensitive souls who battle with insecurity.” In rehearsals, Emma struggled with connecting lyrically with the song but managed to overcome these complicated issues in her final performance. PJ followed her with an acoustic version of the Pink anthem Perfect in which he accompanied himself on the guitar, and Kahn complimented PJ on the versatility and depth in his voice. Despite the fact that PJ made a small mistake in his performance, he continued like a pro, and with that, Karen picked PJ to join Amanda and Samantha.

Lindo must have been slightly intimidated to go up against Veronique who is a professional, full-time musician, but if he was, he didn’t show it. These two talent who have vastly different singing styles both chose to perform Michael Jackson covers, which is why Karen chose to put them together as her final pairing. Lindo was up first singing Love Never Felt So Good – a performance that was challenging for him because he was without his guitar and had nowhere to hide. Little did the coaches know that Lindo was hiding some seriously impressive dance moves behind that guitar all along! Veronique went last with her groovy rendition of Black or White in which she even tried her hand at rapping, clearly having fun every step of the way. Karen told both Lindo and Veronique that they’re “true musicians”, but that she had to pick the person with the best shot in the future of the series, and that was the stylish Lindo.

With Karen’s four picks locked down, #TeamLira took to the stage. Her first pairing was between Andrew Snyders, 38, from Cape Town and Tender Mavundla, 35, from Port Shepstone. “You both have soulful, powerful voices, which is why I think this will make a fair and balanced Knock-Out,” Lira explained. Both Tender and Andrew also chose to perform local songs, with Tender kicking things off with Thandiswa Maswai’s Ingoma and Andrew following with Danny K’s Hurts So Bad. Lira mentioned during the rehearsal phase that she’s looking for the performers who can show her that they’re hungry for this competition, who are willing to “improve week on week and put themselves out there”. Coach Kahn felt that Andrew shone in the second half of his song while nerves got the better of him at the start, while Tender was consistent in her soulfulness throughout. Lira agreed with Kahn, making Tender the first talent to represent #TeamLira in the Live rounds.

The last Knock-Out of the night was by far the most emotional decision made by a coach to date. Lira had to choose between husky-toned beautician Jacqueline Tolken, 31, from Kempton Park and rocker Luke Lovemore, 23, from Cape Town and it resulted in a flood of tears when it came to crunch-time. Lira paired them together because they possess the most unique and different voices in her team, and Luke went in a totally different direction to his usual genre by choosing Alicia KeysFalling for his solo performance. Lira encouraged him not to hold back on this potentially risky song and he took her advice to heart, giving his coach a powerful, soulful, rock-n-roll rendition. Jacqueline’s song choice of Hootie and the Blowfish’s classic ballad Let Her Cry was perfectly suited to her “old-soul”, vintage vibe and she too managed to knock her Knock-Out out of the park!

It was clearly a huge internal battle for coach Lira who told her talent “I’m absolutely baffled by the growth and improvement I’ve seen unfold before my eyes.” Karen told Lira that it was almost impossible to choose between Luke and Jacqueline because “they both deserve to be in this competition”, which Lira agreed with wholeheartedly. But there could only be one victor of the round, and after much angst and deliberation, Lira chose Luke because his song choice involved “guts” and he took a risk that paid off handsomely. As Jacqueline left the stage and hugged Lira goodbye, the waterworks started as the heavy weight of this decision hit home for the emotional coach.

The Voice South Africa, sponsored by Dialdirect, is broadcast every Sunday night on M-Net channel 101 at 17:30 and every Monday night at 18:00 on M-Net City channel 115.

Viewers can also visit www.mnet.tv/thevoice to watch exclusive interviews with the coaches and talent, and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @VoiceSA / #TheVoiceSA or on the official “Voice SA” Facebook page. You can also download The Voice SA app today for exclusive show-related games and special features.