Idols SA: Emotions Run High at Theatre Week

15 August 2016
After 11 seasons of Idols SA, Theatre Week has come to take a life of its own with all the melodrama, personality clashes, shock exits, tears of joy and despair.
Idols SA: Emotions Run High at Theatre Week Image : 1045
After 11 seasons of Idols SA, Theatre Week has come to take a life of its own with all the melodrama, personality clashes, shock exits, tears of joy and despair. This is why it’s known as “Hell Week” to many!

Season 12 was no exception – but it had more twists and turns than ever before.

The first bombshell to hit the Golden Ticket winners was the announcement that they would not be travelling to Sun City as per norm. This caused a flurry of confusion for the contestants, as they were shuttled to a private airstrip and boarded a chartered flight to … where?

The fear of the unknown mixed with the excitement of flying on a chartered plane, for some being on a flight for the first time. It wasn’t long before the guessing game started. Where were they going? Were they still part of Idols SA? Were their Golden Tickets going to be revoked? What was going on?!

It turned out that Mzansi’s loved reality singing show was moving to a new Theatre Week venue; the majestic and scene-stealing Wild Coast Sun in Port Edward, KwaZulu-Natal. Relief, exhilaration, apprehension all fused together as contestants made their way into the breath-taking destination.

But there was hardly time to unpack and take in the scenery before the 78 contestants were ushered into the newly-renovated theatre to sing for their lives in front of judges Gareth Cliff, Somizi Mhlongo, Unathi Msengana and Randall Abrahams.

That’s when the next surprise was thrown into the mix.

Randall announced that all those who had received four nods at their auditions were safe – for now – and could leave the stage and cheer on their fellow contestants from the relative safety of the auditorium. This left the rest of the contestants feeling even more apprehensive and nervous as they stood in front of the judges for their solo performances.

28 year-old Nosihe Zulu from Pietermaritzburg got things off on a high with her smooth rendition of Rihanna’s Diamonds on keyboard. She was followed by Tebogo Louw’s emotional performance of John Legend’s Coming Home, also on keyboard.

But with no immediate reaction and feedback from the judges, everyone was left wondering what the immediate future held for them on the Idols stage. They didn’t wait long.

Shortly after an intense debate, the judges came back with the results: 23 Golden Ticket holders were cut and their journey ended before it could even begin.

The First Cut is the Deepest

Some were pragmatic about the end while others were in shock and disbelief, with tears streaming down their stricken faces.

Then it was on to the Group Round, where even a good voice is no guarantee that you will make it through.

“The group stage is a real challenge. We’ve seen many good singers crash and burn,” was Unathi’s observation.

“People don’t know each other, others don’t even like each other, the practice songs and choreography all through the night. It’s not pretty; but then again this industry is not pretty,” added Randall.

Even the Idols SA returnees were terrified, reminiscing about the brutality of the previous year. And just like previous years, lyrics proved to be the Achilles’ Heels for many contestants. Already tired, stressed and anxious, some fluffed their lines and mumbled through songs, to the annoyance of the judges.

Notably was Luke Ntombela, who fumbled her way through Marvin Gaye’s Heard It through the Grapevine. Randall called her performance ridiculously bad and a let-down to her group-mates. The strong group performance with Karabo and Lucia saved her and she scraped through to the next round.

A Narrow Escape

Soon, contestants started falling off as harmonies proved painful to the ears, lyrics were mangled and attitudes were on the petulant side.

“Nerves overwhelmed them. Those who stepped up prove that they are bullet proof,” was Gareth’s summation.

Somizi put Theatre Week in a nutshell when he declared: “Group round was much better than last year. Contestants brought the pizzazz, drama, and snazz!”

Idols SA season 12 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161 on Sundays at 17h30.

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