Welcome to our first Idols post of the season! This season of Idols South Africa moved at a rapid pace – feels like just a week ago since it debuted with an unconvincing thunker of a premiere, and after auditions wrapped, it was clear this was not shaping up to be a very season.
After what only seems like a while, Idols revealed its top 16 last night, and boys and girls – or should I say girls and boys? – it’s still not very promising.
What is great, though, is that for the first time – ever? – the Top 16 wasn’t constructed out of equality but rather quality, something that should have happened many years ago to be honest. No equal split, no selecting one solid dude over a better girl to make up the required spots, nada. It was purely selected on quality and merit. Would you look at that? Just when we thought decisions made on merit was history.
Let’s get into the Top 16, shall we? Here they are:
Tee – the girl who had the pimp spot during final solo rounds. She’s good, but I have seen a lot better.
Gugu – she has got it all. She just needs to set herself apart from the rest of the girls.
Phindi – one of my favourites. Her last solo audition was pretty great. She’s versatile and that means a lot in my book.
Blessed – haven’t really thought much about her to be honest.
Basetsana – strong, powerful voice, I’m just not sure she’s relatable enough. Her personality needs to come through.
Hadassah – one of my few standouts. She has a beautiful voice, and that Zonke number was really strong.
Mthokozi – the first of only 4 guys in the Top 16. He’s got it made, methinks. He was shot, and he said no, he wants to be an Idol. Chuck Norris se voet. He’s in it with a good shot based on votes.
Christo – PE continues its run of finalists, and he’s a goodie. His last audition was strong and soulful. With the right song choice, he could make it to the Top 10.
Faith – all returnees made it this season, and she was the first to go through. Last season, Faith and her two older siblings were all cut during theatre week. She had faith, and it paid off.
Thapelo – another returnee, another contestant I haven’t really formed an opinion of.
Bothlale – ha! A The Voice SA reject makes it into the Idols top 16. He made history. Usually it’s the old Idols rejects who make it onto The Voice. There’s potential here.
Paxton – she reminds me of Jody Williams, the season 4 winner, except that she doesn’t have Jody’s confidence. If she doesn’t work on that, the competition is going to eat her alive. But her voice is unique and fantastic, so I hope she gets there.
Gabi – yeah no, what a waste.
Lindo – another returnee, he stands a good shot. He’s likable, his personality shines, and he has a good voice. The viewers is going to love him.
Thokozile – she edged out Nolitha for the final spot in the Top 16. She might have been the most consistent contestant, but she is not the most memorable.
There’s only one selection I completely disagree with, and yeah, it seems to be a popular thought; it’s the inclusion of Gabi. She’s not going to be the star the judges thought she could be. Sure, she’s different from the rest of the competition in look, genre, style, as well as quality.
She does not have the strongest voice – she wouldn’t turn a chair on The Voice – and her entertainment packaging is not going to get her the votes on this show. The spot she took could have belonged to Nolitha, yeah, but also two guys with fantastic potential who completely screwed up their chances by forgetting their lyrics, namely Ofentse and Diego.
Ofentse had the most memorable audition, there’s no doubt about that. He has the chilled look, the artistry in spades, and the humbleness that Idols viewers tend to go for. He could have have gone all the way – had he studied the lyrics and got his act together! There’s fantastic potential there but he let it slip, and the judges were right to let him go, but he was still a better option than Gabi.
The same goes for Diego. That voice is beautiful! That warm tone would have set him apart from the other boys and with the right song choices, who knows what he could have done. He needs to try again, and work harder. Try, bro. Nolitha, Ofentse, and Diego would have had a much stronger shot than Gabi, who will never survive the first cut. I’ll be surprised if she musters up 10 000 votes.
But mostly, very sound decisions, right?
It’s not the strongest bunch, but live shows will tell us what’s up. A few may surprise and soar, and others might fail. You never know.
Join us back next week for the first weekly recap of the live shows!
Author: Reinhardt Botha
Writer, producer and occasional asshat.