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Idols SA top 8 have the audience dancing on the ceiling with Lionel Richie’s hits

18 September 2023
Big Zulu and Sjava also hit the stage in one of the most exciting episodes of the season.
Idols Top 8 presser

It was a night of euphoric highs and incredible performances as the Idols SA top 8 paid tribute to one of the biggest-selling and most celebrated artists of all time.

The season 19 finalists sang songs from the playbook of American Idol judge Lionel Richie, reminding everyone why they are in the hottest competition on TV by showing off their artistic range. The songs were chosen by each finalist’s family.

Performing in the top 8, in no particular order, were: Thando, Sena, Envic, Niikiey, Thabo, Princess, Nkosi, and Faith. Sadly, it was time to bid Lungelo goodbye.

Before the top 8 were unveiled, the top 9 kicked off the show with a spirited performance of the Ami Faku, DJ Maphorisa, and Kabza De Small hit ‘Abalele’. That was followed by Inkabi Zezwe – the duo of Big Zulu and Sjava – who brought their track ‘Sayona’ to the Mosaïek Teatro stage.

First to perform in the top 8 was Thando, who took on ‘Love, Oh Love’. The judges had praise and pointers, with JR Bogopa saying: “The energy was there, but going forward just focus on your voice control. You’re not using your full range.”


Sena sang the track ‘You Are’, to mostly praise from the judges. Thembi Seete said: “It gives me so much joy to watch you, to see a young woman blossoming into this diva. You were on it and you were on key.”

For his performance, Envic sang ‘I Call It Love’, impressing the judges. Somizi Mhlongo said: “You are a naturally seasoned performer. You gave this song every little thing that it needed. That is called artistic intelligence, and nobody can take that away from you.”

Next to hit the stage was Niikiey, who performed ‘Easy (Like Sunday Morning)’ from Richie’s Commodores days. The judges loved it, with JR saying: “This is what we call timeless music and you can become a timeless artist. What a brilliant performance.”   

Thabo took on ‘We Are the World’, bringing the audience and judges to their feet, and earning a “Whoo-shem!” from Somizi. Thembi said: “You’ve been consistent. This was a beautiful performance. The passion and truth were there. Well done.”

For her performance, Princess sang ‘Just Go’, to a mostly positive response from the judges. Somizi said: “The song wasn’t good, but that’s not your fault. Your vocals were on point. As the song went on, I started falling in love because you made something out of almost nothing. That is commendable.”

Next was Nkosi, whose rendition of ‘Ballerina Girl’ impressed the judges. JR said: “There’s something about you that’s so effortless. There’s a sense of comfort and belonging, and when I listen to you I feel content.”

Ending off a night of great performances was Faith with ‘Penny Lover’. Thembi said: “You are such a charmer, the cherry on top is how comfortable you are with your voice. You are letting go and giving us everything we need to hear.”


Idols SA airs every Saturday at 18:00 on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161), thereafter on Mzansi Wethu at 19:30. Catch up on your favourite performances on DStv Stream. Find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and TikTok. Join the conversation using #IdolsSA. Tickets for the live show taking place at Joburg’s Mosaïek Teatro are available for R40 through Computicket.