This past Sunday saw season 18 of Idols SA go live for the first time. What’s more, the event had an audience that actually qualified for the term, thanks to the easing of Covid restrictions. ProVerb – finally unleashed in front of living, breathing people after so long, could barely contain his glee.
But the show couldn’t spend too much time reflecting on its good fortune, because there was singing too be done. Six of the Top 12 finalists – Zee, Thapelo, Mpilwenhle, Hope, Kabelo and Tesmin-Robyn – had to deliver a double performance: the first a duet alongside an established South African musician. This musician also filled the role of their mentor in preparation for the evening. Immediately after that, the finalist would have to tackle a solo number.
That’s quite enough pressure already, but the hill was made even steeper by the nature of the songs being sung, all under the theme of “Ultimate Hits”. Unsurprisingly, this meant that the contestants would have to sing instantly recognisable, much-beloved hits: set a foot wrong here, and the stumble might take you all the way down.
That said – the finalists held it together well despite the enormity of the situation. All of them received high praise from their local mentor and singing partner, and the judges seemed happy enough, although they did tell a few of the contestants that it was time to dial their energy up a notch.
At least these six can relax, safe in the knowledge that they’re off the hook for two weeks, since it is the turn of the remaining finalists to impress the judges and the voting audience this coming Sunday, and their task isn’t going to be any easier.