Before the announcement, the entire Top 10 got to enjoy the stage together for the last time with a fabulous rendition of Mafikizolo’s 'Ndihamba Nawe'.
You could cut the tension with a knife in the backstage waiting room where the contestants were nervously awaiting their fate. This year, the format was slightly altered with the Top 9 slowly being called to the stage to perform their Throwback Sunday song. The contestant that received the least number of votes out of the over 7 million votes cast wouldn't get a chance to perform however.
First to breathe easy was Lincoln, who started off the solo performances with what Unathi called a “very sexy” rendition of Ginuwine’s racy, 1996 hit, 'Pony'. Randall, however, felt he needed to be “a little more serious and a little less cabaret”.
Xae also received a solid number of votes, which saw her get another shot to perform. She gave us a slowed-down version of Janet Jackson’s 'That’s The Way Love Goes'. Unathi thought it was a “great” interpretation of the 1993 chart-topper. Somizi exclaimed: “You are R&B! I can’t fault you!”
Next to be safe was Niyaaz, who serenaded the live audience and viewers at home with 'Forever', the 1997 smooth jam from British boy-band, Damage. Randall called it the “perfect” song for him, and Somizi concurred.
Yanga still gets to be the baby of the group, as she also made it to the Top 9. Her song choice, 'Before You Walk Out My Life' from Monica’s 1995 debut, had the Judges unanimously agreeing it was perfect for her. While Randall felt she was “great” and the “full package”, Somizi advised her to be “younger and more colourful” going forward since her vocal ability cannot be faulted.
A nervous Thato leapt out of his chair in excitement when Proverb called out his name. He managed to restrain his voice for a slow acoustic start to Shai’s 1992, 'If I Ever Fall In Love'. The Judges gave him a thumbs up, with Randall saying he reminded him of a younger Usher while Unathi called him “the full package”.
Thando chose 'Bills Bills Bills' by Destiny’s Child, the 1999 club banger that saw Somizi give her a 10/10 and a “whooshem!” Randall let the compliments roll, saying her performance, attitude, voice and everything were simply “fantastic”. Unathi said she loved that Thando was coming out of her shell. “You are not only becoming an incredible singer, but an incredible performer too.”
A princess-like Nosipho took to the stage to sing Mariah Carey’s 'Open Arms', which the iconic diva serenaded the world with back in 1996. The Judges were not convinced. Randall called it pitchy throughout, Unathi advised her to remember why she was in the competition, and Somizi told her to trust herself.
Ntokozo was the second last to make it on to the stage. Her performance of Toni Braxton’s, 'He Wasn’t Man Enough' from 1996 received the least enthusiasm from the judges. They pointed out a pattern that might see the youngster not make further into the competition. “I’m very worried about you,” said Unathi.
King B brought up the rear after it came down to him and Mthokozisi. He closed off the show with a performance of Michael Jackson’s ground-breaking 1992 hit, Remember The Time, that received a standing ovation from the crowd and Somizi. The judge even went up on stage to gift him a crown – which was quite fitting for a King.
It’s now up to the voting public to keep their favourites in the competition as they vote for the Top 8 next week!