Back in the judges chambers, Unathi let new judge Somizi in on a couple of Idols secrets. “If you think the fights we had during deliberations last night were dramatic, let me tell you, it’s about to get worse”. Despite the stress taking its toll on the nervous contestants, there were loud cheers and clapping when Rhema, the first contestant to be summoned by the judges, made his way to the auditorium. Luck was on Rhema’s side and the soft-spoken vocal powerhouse was swiftly ushered into the Top 16 by our judges.
The same fate awaited Ruan and Siphelele, who both got the thumbs up from Unathi, Gareth, Somizi and Randall. Tebogo, on the other hand, was not so fortunate and was sent packing. It all went downhill from there as Matthew and Mlondi also became casualties of the dreaded chop. The latter put it all into perspective. “I don’t blame the judges for making this decision. I messed up badly during my solo performance,” he mused, before disappearing into the Telkom Boom Booth to tell his family the devastating news.
Karabo, who the judges had felt “is special” following his breathtaking solo performance was as nervous as can be. When he was finally put out of his misery and told he had gone through to the next stage of the competition, he almost crawl-walked out of his chair and fought back tears.
Loyiso’s fresh, pop personality caught the judges attention and earned him a spot in the Top 16 too. The shy 16 year old is officially the youngest contender for the crown. “You’re the youngest this season, but you sang to Unathi who could be your gogo. We don’t care about that. You’re through,” Gareth said, as Loyiso stared at him in disbelief. As soon as he had processed the news, he ran down the walkway and straight into the Boom Booth to call his mom.
Bagpipe player Thami, disposed of his trendy glasses when he was told he had made the cut and was soon followed into the chambers by Durban’s Sizwe, who had the perfect audition when the judges first saw him in his city. “You are really hungry for this, Sizwe, but we have to put our emotions aside on this one. It’s the end of the road for you,” Unathi told him. Lihle and Nadia were on hand to give him a hug and comforted him in a corner. Little did Lihle know she would be needing a hug as desperately, after seeing the judges.
When Phila and Lungisa also returned with good news, the worried girls who still hadn’t seen our judges, started deliberating and attempted to do Idols maths. “This season, they are probably letting in eight girls and eight boys”. They didn’t have to wait too long to find out, as each of them was called into the judging arena.
Dineo had failed in season 10, but even though the odds were against her this time around, the pint-sized vocalist got the thumbs up. Dineo was so shocked by the news she broke down and walked out of the room without exchanging any pleasantries with the judges. “No more sleeping on the floor. All my struggles are over,” she said between sobs.
Bridgitt, who got conflicting feedback after her Solo Performance, also had nothing to worry about. “You’re in the Top 16,” Randall told her.
Chrystal, Busisiwe and Lihle were not so lucky and despite hoping to go further, were sent packing. Amy’s cartwheel skills couldn't save her either and following her dismal showing during the performances, she had prepped herself for the worst. “It sucks, but the truth is, I didn’t perform well”. Gareth had to employ shock therapy tactics to get Nina excited about her success, while the tears just fell when Nonhle got her news.
Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Nonhle has had to pull out of the competition and is no longer in the running for the Idols crown. Amanda has been bumped up and takes her spot, alongside Shenay and Nadia.
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