Brandon: ‘Elshadai Adonai’ with Bishop Benjamin Dube / Kabza De Small – ‘Why Ngikufela’ (ft. ShaSha & Madumane) / Miguel – ‘Adorn’:
This week’s duets will really test the Idols, as they’ll be sparring alongside some legitimate gospel greats. ‘Elshadai Adonai’ is gently-paced but the chorus is massive – our advice: listen to Benjamin Dube! ‘Why Ngikufela’ isn’t that much easier – it’s sparse instrumentally, with ShaSha and Madumane doing the heavy lifting. Or, in this case, Brandon, but after his firing performances last week, we think he’ll fare well with this very modern dance number. His My Idol selection is Miguel’s wonderful ‘Adorn’, a languid slice of modern nu-soul. Being a tune that Brandon loves, it’s probably something he sings in the shower, but with its nifty vocal inflections and reaching high notes, it could be difficult. But if Brandon’s on form, it’s his for the taking.
Mr Music: ‘uDumo’ with Dr Tumi / Soweto’s Finest – ‘Tikoloshi’ (ft. Kaygee Daking & Bizizi) / Adele – ‘One and Only’:
Our Durban guest judge joins us again for a duet with Mr Music, and they perform one of his best-known songs. Again, the pace is glacial, and while it’s less dynamic than Brandon’s number, it’ll require the requisite tenderness and joy – the fact that it’s in vernac plays to Mr Music’s strengths. Again though: do what Dr Tumi says! ‘Tikoloshi’ manages to be something that most amapiano isn’t: fun! In fact, vocally it’s more chanting than singing, so Mr Music needs to concentrate less on this and more on the performance – there are some utterly startling dance moves in the video, and if he can nail a few it’ll be a triumph. Adele is another story: she’s all about the voice. ‘One and Only’ is not one of her raging hits though; it’s stately and bluesy and it’ll probably be Mr Music’s biggest challenge so far – he needs to ‘sell’ what is essentially a minor song.
Zama: ‘In The Shadow’ with Ntokozo Mbambo / Kabza De Small – ‘Nia Lo’ (ft. Nia Pearl) / Kelly Khumalo – ‘Empini’:
‘In The Shadow’ is a difficult song: structurally complex, multi-octave and abetted by ad libs, and Ntokozo Mbambo can really sing. This will be a huge challenge, with lots of words to learn, and performing ‘in the shadow’ of one of gospel’s best. Zama will need to be the star she was on last week’s Beyoncé song. ‘Nia Lo’ is the sound of amapiano gone sentimental, Nia Pearl’s vocals veering from washed out and wistful to urgent and vast, but like her Billie Eilish number a few weeks back, it’s hardly a showstopper – but we remember what Zama did there! Whether she’s equipped for this genre will be the real question. ‘Empini’ is massive at the moment, a rallying cry from the always-in-the-public-eye figure. And it’s magnificent, a sprawling mass of languid drums, picked guitar and backing vocals. But the standout is Kelly: subtle in the verses and divine in the chorus. If Zama wants to impress her Idol, she’s going to have to sing her socks off.
ZanoThando: ‘Ngegazi Lemvana’ with Dr Rebecca Malope / De Mthuda & Njelic – ‘Shesha’ / Nathi – ‘Nhliziyo’:
Pairing ZanoThando with Rebecca Malope may be an inspired choice – she won’t take any messing from our resident joker! ‘Ngegazi Lemvana’ is a warm song with hints of bubblegum, but it’s got a really challenging vocal – ZanoThando will either be buoyed by Rebecca and the backing singers, or he’ll flail – this is not a tune where he can get away with simply performing. He must accept remedies from the good doctor! ‘Shesha’ was huge last year and it’s more up his alley, a cinematic slow-burner with vocals that are soulful but by no means out of his reach – it’s another chance for him to perform with aplomb. Nathi’s ‘Nhliziyo; is a sublime piece of Afro-soul with a dynamic vocal that ZanoThando will have to navigate carefully. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a tune with a deep message, and it requires sincerity, not merely a workout on the stage.
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.