Brandon: Drake – ‘Toosie Slide’ / DJ Zinhle ft. Loyiso – ‘Indlovu’:
While we doubt Brandon will struggle with this sing-songy Drake rap (especially backed with a big-voiced choir), the song is premised on a (relatively simple) dance move – we’ve yet to see him “dance like Michael Jackson”, and while it’s not compulsory, it’d be a nice surprise! ‘Indlovu’ is the brand-new jam from DJ Zinhle and former Idol Loyiso, and it’s a Dezemba dance hit. A gentle, Rhodes-heavy house cut with a generous vocal, it’s the kind of song Brandon excelled with last week (Azana’s ‘Your Love’), with ample space for our band and backing vocalists. If Brandon is on form, this could be special.
Mr Music: Mbongeni Ngema – ‘Stimela Sasa Zola’ / Mafikizolo – ‘Emlanjeni’:
Mr Music is the master of Mzansi songs, and he has two strong contenders here. Ngema’s number sits at the crossover between mbaqanga and bubblegum – gnarly guitars, organ, horns and an 808-beat bathed in lush vocals; a celebration that should suit Mr Music nicely, but he can’t afford to be complacent. ‘Emlanjeni’, a tribute to Mafikizolo’s late Tebogo Madingoane, is at the more reflective end of their discography, but its slow Afro-soul roll belies a big and intricate vocal. On both numbers, Mr Music needs to exhibit maturity.
Ndoni: Beyoncé – ‘End Of Time’ / DJ Zinhle ft. Mvzzle & Rethabile – ‘Umlilo’:
With its martial drums and Afrobeat horns, ‘End Of Time’ is a Beyoncé live favourite, and it’s a departure for our African Queen – she’ll no doubt get the groove, but the boisterous vocal will be a huge challenge for her. Being in sync with the choir will do her a massive favour. ‘Umlilo’ is, of course, that fire song from last Dezemba featuring another former Idols contender, Rethabile, who Ndoni adores. A deliciously restrained dance track, it’s surprisingly reliant on its vocal dynamics, and while they are rich, they’re more in Ndoni’s range. The Afro direction is also more Ndoni’s vibe – expect her to shine on stage.
Zama: Beyoncé – ‘Sweet Dreams’ / Boom Shaka – ‘Thobela’:
Another Beyoncé number, this time for Zama, who says her fans have been asking her to cover the diva. Atop a snaking electro synth-line, ‘Sweet Dreams’ is a dark and dancey number with a pristine Bey vocal, and Zama will need to embrace it with confidence – something she seemed to lack last week. Let’s hope for a comeback. ‘Thobela’ is of course a kwaito classic graced with Don Laka’s jazzy sensibilities and Oskido’s deft production touches, a party of a track. But it’s not a simple one – Lebo Mathosa was one helluva vocalist and while the tune may be breezy, it’ll require discipline along with joy.
ZanoThando: Caiphus Semenya – ‘Angelina’ / DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota ft. Dr. Malinga – ‘Via Orlando’:
Last week, Mr Music did Caiphus Semenya justice; this week it’s ZanoThando’s turn to try. ‘Angelina’ is kasi through and through, a bubblegum/disco/jazz hybrid that the Mzansi Gay Choir (and band) will revel in. The trick for ZanoThando – as with last week’s Bill Withers song – is to stay in tune. The joyous jive gives him plenty of room for performance, but he needs to nail the singing this week. ‘Via Orlando’ is a high-kicking Afro-house dream, and while Dr. Malinga’s vocal allows for a more latitude and improvisation, it still requires control and skill. That said, it’s the sort of song that has ZanoThando written all over it.
Season 16 of Idols SA broadcasts on Sundays at 17:00 on Mzansi Magic Channel 161. Get exclusive updates and a behind the scenes look at all the action right here on our site. Don't forget to join the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #IdolsSA.