Tonight (Sunday 28 April) marked the start of the most excruciating phase of The Voice South Africa – the ferocious Battles! The show’s four coaches – Riky Rick, Riana Nel, LIRA and Francois van Coke - are now forced to pair up the members of their own team and pit them against each with the same song. The winner of this vocal showdown – which is definitely not a duet but a vocal fight of note – then proceeds to the next round, The Voice SA’s Lives, during which the voting public have all the say.
Unfortunately, during the Battles only one of the two singers can remain in the competition. There are no Saves and no Steals and the decision is solely in the hands of the coach who groomed the talent.
To prepare their talent for the Battles, the coaches pull out all the stops. They even bring in professional help to up the skills of their teams. LIRA leafed through her address book of showbiz friends and roped in Ross Learmouth, the lead singer of the multi-platinum-selling South African rock band Prime Circle. Riky Rick selected a South African superstar with intimate knowledge of singing competitions as his co-coach, singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Khaya Mthethwa. Francois van Coke asked Durban-born indie-folk singer and songwriter and frequent collaborator Majozi to be his co-coach. And Riana Nel selected Afrikaans inspirational rocker and heart-throb Joe Black to teach her talent how to wow an audience.
In the end, tonight’s epic Battles were won by Krista Jones, Amy Tjasink, Daniel Jay, Lelo Ramisong and Yahto Kraft. These five incredible vocalists will thus continue their Voice SA journey at the Lives, to be held at the Mosaik Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.
In her first Battle for the evening, LIRA pitched Krista Jonas (29) against fellow Capetonian Petro De Villiers (36) with Irene Cara’s hit “Fame”, from the movie of the same name. The Afro-chic songbird later had to make another incredibly difficult choice when two more strong singers Yahto Kraft (18) from Alberton and Itu Sings (37) from Saulsville, Pretoria, were fighting it out with the U2 anthem “Pride”.
In #TeamRiky Rick Amy Tjasink (26), who was concerned that she was getting too squeaky in the song, beat Joshua Parker (19) from Fourways, Johannesburg, when they performed the Marshmelo hit “Happier”.
Coach Francois van Coke had to choose between Daniel Jay (23) from Port Elizabeth and Cape Town songbird Nikita Williams (25), singing “Human”, from the British superstar Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.
And Riana Nel pitched Lelo Ramasimong (33) from Johannesburg against 23-year-old Ilan van Staden from Krugersdorp for yet another unforgettable showdown – and difficult decision.
While tonight’s Battle winners will all appear in the Lives, The Voice SA host Anele Mdoda also announced which singers from the KnockOut Rounds were saved by the fans in the Strepsils Knockout Viewers’ Save. : Carmen Basson (19) from Kroonstad was saved in #Team Lira ; Katlego Makgotlwe (23) from Vosloorus in #TeamRiky; Soné Joubert (27) from Gordon’s Bay in #TeamRiana; and Ashur Petersen (26) from Cape Town in #TeamFrancois.
Now the fans get to vote again which two of these singers they would like to see Battle it out against each other in the first Live Show in the the Strepsils Viewers’ Battle!
To put Carmen in the Battle, SMS 01 to 33692 or vote for free here.
To put Katlego in the Battle, SMS 02 to 33692 or vote for free here.
To put Soné in the Battle, SMS 03 to 33692 or vote for free here.
To put Ashur in the Battle, SMS 04 to 33692 or or vote for free here.
SMSs cost R1.50 per SMS, while voting on mobi and web is free. All info on how to vote as well as the terms and conditions for voting are available here. The voting lines opened at 19:00 on Sunday, 28 April, and will close on Tuesday, 30 April, at 22:00.
What went down at the Battles
International superstar LIRA took her team to Jozi’s iconic Joburg Theatre for their Battle prep, to give them a taste of what’s possible for them in their future careers. Working with the #TeamLIRA co-coach Ross Learmouth of Prime Circle, LIRA teamed Krista Jonas (29) and Petro De Villiers (36), to perform Irene Cara’s hit “Fame” from the movie of the same name. Krista was struck by a bad case of stage fright in rehearsals, but she thought of her 7-year-old daughter Kayla to remind her of why she was there in the first place, and the Capetonians delivered a blistering performance that had the studio audience on their feet.
“That was a boxing match!” Riana Nel marveled. She said Petro sounded better in this performance than ever up to this point in the competition, but that Krista still has notes “hidden inside of her” that she didn’t show in this performance. Coach LIRA said she couldn’t be prouder of Petro, but Krista still didn’t quite trust her talent, she said. Nevertheless, it was the 29-year-old single mom from Mitchells Plain, Krista Jonas, who won the Battle!
Next up to Battle was #TeamRiky, and Riky Rick took his team to a boxing gym for the pairing announcements, to get them in the right frame of mind for the upcoming Battle. Coach Riky pitched Joshua Parker, the 19-year-old performing arts coach in from Fourways, Johannesburg, against experienced songstress Amy Tjasnik (26) from Cape Town.
Riky selected a South African superstar with intimate knowledge of singing competitions as his co-coach: singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Khaya Mthethwa. In rehearsals Amy was on a back foot because the song wasn’t in a comfortable key for her and she didn’t have her trusty guitar to shield her. “It’s going to be a tough Battle,” she predicted, and she proved correct. Francois van Coke commended Amy for stepping out of her performance comfort zone and he thought Josh’s vocals were sounding “sick”. “That was a beautiful Battle,” said a happy coach Riky, before announcing Amy Tjasnik as his winner.
Coach Francois van Coke showed #TeamVanCoke the bar that he co-owns with his band Fokofpolisiekar in Pretoria, to give them some inspiration on building a “brand” for themselves. He pitched Daniel Jay (23) from Port Elizabeth against Cape Town songbird Nikita Williams (25), and his #TeamVanCoke co-coach was Durban-born indie-folk singer and songwriter Majozi. They selected the hit “Human”, from the British superstar Rag ‘n’ Bone Man for this Battle. Riky Rick said Nikita – who was originally in #TeamRiky before Francois stole her in the KnockOuts – came out fighting, “and that’s a spirit that nobody can take away from you”, he told her. Francois was very uncomfortable having to make a choice, but those are the rules, and he declared Daniel Jay the winner.
Riana Nel took her team to the Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria because she wants them to dream big, she said. She pitted the experienced musical theater actress Lelo Ramasimong (33) from Johannesburg against 23-year-old Ilan van Staden from Krugersdorp. “We’re the shocker pairing of the competition!” Ilan laughed nervously. Assisted by co-coach Joe Black, they rehearsed the Ed Sheeran hit “Shape of You”. Ilan was intimidated in rehearsals because Lelo is older and so much more experienced as a performer. “I should step up. And I will,” he vowed. But he needn’t have worried – “you were right up there with Lelo,” Riky Rick congratulated him. Ilan’s coach told him she’s very proud of him. “I don’t want to make a choice,” she wailed, but she had to, and the winner of this Battle was Lelo Ramasimong.
For #TeamLIRA’s second Battle LIRA pitched 18-year-old Yahto Kraft from Alberton against Itu Sings (37) from Saulsville, Pretoria, singing the U2 anthem “Pride”. “This was a Battle!” said Riky Rick, who was happy not to have to choose between them. “For me this was a draw,” he said. But unfortunately coach LIRA could not bend the rules again, as she did in the Blind Auditions, and she decided to take Yahto Kraft through to the Live Shows.
The Battles continue to rage on The Voice South Africa next Sunday, 5 May.Voting for The Strepsils Viewers' Battle opens on Sunday, 28 April at 7pm and closes on Tuesday, 14 May at 10pm. Vote or register to vote here. The Voice SA airs on Sundays at 17:30. Join the conversation on our Facebook page, and on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TheVoiceSA.