Review: A messy bloodbath in Sun City

11 August 2015
78 Golden Ticket headed to Theatre Week - and it was not pretty
Review: A messy bloodbath in Sun City Image : 568

Hot on the heels of a hugely successful campaign that saw our judges scour three provinces to find the best vocal talent the country has to offer, 78 Golden Ticket holders packed up and prepared to descend on Sun City for the next round of the competition - Theatre Week.

Before they could even get to experience “Hell Week”, our Idols hopefuls had other business to attend to, the first Idols SA Masterclass, captained by resident mentor and music director RJ Benjamin. “This workshop will give you tools that will help you be the best you can be,” Benjamin told our starry-eyed bunch of stars-in-waiting during an intense session that was attended by Idols season 9 winner Khaya Mthethwa and finalist Graeme Watkins.

Apart from being given a crash course in voice and mic control, the contestants got to live the Idols experience through the eyes of our Idols alumni. Unbeknownst to them, Unathi, Gareth, Randall and Somizi were already in the building, silently watching the live vocal sessions and reviewing initial audition footage to help with the first big chop of the Group Stage.

Once the judges had seen enough, they headed into the auditorium and dropped a bombshell; one of the three buses that were initially destined for Sun City would be making a stop at the airport instead. Panic set in and tears were shed as it dawned on many that their Idols journey would be coming to an end. “I have no idea where the bus is taking us,” many said between sobs. 30 vocalists got the boot and watched sullenly as 48 competitors sailed off into the sunset, headed straight towards their dreams.

As soon as Sun City was within sight, alliances were quickly formed and strategies laid down as our lucky 48 psyched themselves up for the imminent group performances. Enter curve-ball number two! “This season, we will choose groups for you. You, on the other hand, will pick a group leader” was the directive. Many seemed ill at ease with this arrangement and expressed reservations at the thought of being paired with voices and styles that wouldn’t prove complementary.

Voices were strained and nerves frayed as contestants tried to learn lyrics, harmonise, find fluidity and get on well enough to see the crucial performance through.

After rehearsing all night and getting little, to no sleep, the moment of truth finally came. Winston, Hayden and Phila were first to mount the stage. Their rendition of Westlife’s “If I let you go” started off well enough, but bombed dramatically close to the end. “What a spectacularly bad way to start,” Randall told the trio matter of factly. Gareth piped in too with a “Started well, then cat choir”. Ouch! Based on the strength (or lack thereof) of their vocal performance, Winston and Hayden were sent packing.

During his performance with his group, Sizwe got a stern talking-to after he forgot his lyrics. “If there was a taxi here right now, I’d send you home,” an angry Somizi threatened, before the baby-faced musician was afforded another chance. A string of bad performances (resulting in the dreaded snip) followed thereafter, leaving the judges evidently frustrated. There seemed to be no end to the carnage in sight, until Mandla, Karabo and Lungisa stepped on stage and shut it down with their version of Backstreet Boys’ “As long as you love me”. For their stunning effort, all three members of the group survived the chop. Shenay, Nadia and Dineo also scored great marks for their performance.

Nonhle led her group through one of the more memorable (and riskiest) performances of the night, a captivating acapella rendition of TLC’s “Creep”. Luckily, the risk paid off and the girls got a standing ovation from the judges and their fellow contestants.

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