The setlist for this Sunday’s Idols SA performances has been released, and – once again – we can expect two bites at the apple from each of the contestants. Actually, three – since this Sunday will also see the return of the Group Song, where all five of the remaining contestants join in the performance of Zonke’s “Viva The Legend”.
Despite being – like most of Zonke’s music – written for a single voice backed by a choir, “Viva” lends itself toward a group performance, having more than enough verses to go around, and the choral arrangements promise to provide perfect moments for the Idols SA hopefuls to work together and raise the stakes.
The rest of the night has been split up between two themes – “SAMA Winners” and “Judges’ Choice” – which are pretty self-explanatory, really. In the former category, Berry has been selected to perform “Hold Your Kite”, originally by GoldFish and Sorana. GoldFish are a perfect inclusion on this list, as the duo set the record for most SAMA nominations back in 2009, with a total of eight, including “Best Duo or Group” and “Album of the Year”.
Mi Casa also make this list, with their seminal “These Streets” going to Kevin. This could make for a perfect union, as Mi Casa vocalist J-Something’s voice sits in very much the same range as Kevin’s, but it won’t be without its challenges – the track features rather understated instrumentation, which means that Kevin will not be able to rely on the band to get him through the performance.
Daylin, on the other hand, has selected “Weeping”, the 80s protest track by Bright Blue. Written as an allegory about PW Botha and his State of Emergency, the track managed to sneak past the censors despite incorporating elements from the then-banned “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. This is a deceptively difficult song to sing – it demands a pure voice, as well as a range that rises into the high tenor. Daylin is more than capable of pulling it off, but it will always be a challenge, and a pitfall for those who don’t take the challenge seriously.
Karabo has selected “Black President” by Brenda Fassie. Karabo’s powerful voice is more than a match for this, but Fassie’s trademark attitude is harder to pull off. Obviously, part of Karabo’s challenge is to make the song her own, but the “Black Madonna” managed to infuse all of her music with a sense of cheek that would be noticeable if it were lacking.
S’22Kile’s entry in this category is “Sonini” by Sun-El Musician, featuring Sammy and Leto Kamau. The double-platinum single comes from Sun-El’s debut album, Africa to the World, and helped drive that album to the top position on the Apple Music and iTunes Charts. The track’s melody requires the singer to slip effortlessly between the spoken word and a melodic chorus and demands real singing ability, but also the control necessary to ensure that the voice doesn’t become the only thing in the track.
As mentioned, the second theme is named “Judges’ Choice”, and it includes a track list selected by Randall and Unathi. This collection of songs has a somewhat more international flavour, of course. Once again, S’22Kile finds herself singing a song by Rihanna, “Diamonds”. One of Rihanna’s more down-tempo offerings, it nevertheless offers the singer plenty of opportunity to show off an assortment of vocal abilities – range, power, articulation, the works. S’22Kile should tackle this with enthusiasm.
Karabo’s entry in this list is “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Hudson… alright, Karabo could not have asked for a better way to showcase her power and range. This is a track that demands a big voice, and Karabo has one to give. Accompanied by a “theatrical” arrangement, this track is reminiscent of Aretha Franklin’s heyday, and we all know how Karabo did with that.
The judge’s assigned Daylin “Quick Quick” by MarcAlex. A number one on the South African music charts back in 1989, the track has an unforgettable intro that everyone can sing, even if they don’t think they’ve heard the song before. It’s up-tempo and great fun – exactly the kind of song that Daylin has shown he relishes performing.
Kevin has selected “Banyana” by DJ Maphorisa and Tyler ICU. Another up-tempo track, it features vocals that sit nicely in Kevin’s range, but require quite a lot of control. It’s a lovely track, and Kevin should recognise that it gives him an excellent opportunity to show that he means business.
The last track left to talk about is “No Tears Left To Cry”, by Ariana Grande. Berry has selected this track, and she’s shown that she can do pop, but Ariana Grande is not just any pop singer – she is one of those that has real singing talent and doesn’t hide behind the production. The challenge here is going to be hitting the notes – and hitting them with the right energy – while still managing to keep the song fun.
There you go – those are the songs selected for this Sunday’s Idols SA performances. Of course, one of these five contestants won’t be singing since the show will be whittling the competition down to four. We just have to watch to find out.
Season 17 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. Catch up on Idols on DStv.