Idols South Africa Recap: Faith and Paxton Impress on an Average Night

the voice

This season of Idols SA has been underwhelming, right from the first episode. No contestant has clearly stood out from the rest, no one has taken the show by its tiny parts and showed us who’s boss.

For a season to be good, we need those standout contestants, but what we’ve gotten is standout performances.

A few who delivered previously, took a step or two back tonight. Thokozile and Tee struggled to hold their momentum.

Thankfully, Faith showed up, brought the house down, brought the fire, and catapulted her chances. There was a sense that Faith could well be the next Idols standout.

Well, then there was Paxton, who surprised, and showed so much growth.

But for the most part, there really wasn’t something to write home about, so let’s get to it.

Mthokozisi – “Love Me Now” by John Legend: B

The shooting victim and apparent frontrunner did a solid job with this track – it wasn’t as good and soulful as his Top 16 performance – but it was a pretty decent job this time around.

He did swallow some of the words as Randall mentioned, and he didn’t really connect with the song as much as he should have, but his tone still sounded very recordable and relevant, which is what reality competition shows should be about – finding that recording star. Mthokozisi has the potential, and he’s extremely likable. You can’t beat his story!

Tee – Lira’s “Hamba”: B-

Has Tee peaked with her final theatre week audition? Because her two live performances thus far have been disappointing. Yeah, she has a beautiful, big vocal, but her performances have lacked that power.

The song choice didn’t do anything for me – I don’t see her as a Lira, that’s not her lane.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a ‘bad’ performance. Vocally, it was pretty, but pretty basic. She went through the motions. She would need more than pretty to remain a dangerous contestant this season.

Bothlale – “Nanini Na” by Vusi Nova: B

The verse did nothing for his voice. His lower register does not pack a punch. He had to wait until the song gave him the opportunity to do something with it before it turned into a solid performance, therefor the song choice did most of the work.

It’s a good song, and Bothlale was halfway there. He ended very strongly, he was in it all the way, but it still feels like he’s a bit out of his depth.

Thapelo – “Ndawo Yami” by Zama Jobe: B

Slow start, strong ending. It’s becoming a bit of a theme. Lower registers do not come naturally to these guys this season, and Thapelo was no different.

I loved her Top 16 performance, but this was a step down.  She struggled through the verse, but went for it in the end. It was solid, but this has been a run of unimpressive performances. It’s way too safe.

What happened to Zama Jobe by the way?

Lindo: “Ordinary People” by John Legend: C+

It’s a pity his funny insert about how he’d spend his million did not translate to his song choice. Another Legend song?

Those first few lines were barely audible. The vocal got better during the second half, but the performance as a whole left me cold. He didn’t connect, there wasn’t any true soul.

The judges loved it, but I just didn’t get it. He’s more interesting than this.

Phindi – “1+1” by Beyonce: B/B+ 

Well, this stood out. Vocally, Phindi is up there. Beautiful, strong, effortless voice this girl has, and this performance showed that.

She could have went all out there with the performance, but she opted not to, so it was more restrained. With more confidence and experience, she will add that extra layer. The vocal was strong, but during the last 30 seconds she tried too much, and it went a little all over the place. The falsetto, for one, wasn’t controlled.

That said, for the most part, it was really good. With time, she could be fantastic.

Faith – Kulungile Baba” by Sifiso Ncwane: A-

This girl has amazing potential in the South African landscape. She sings and performs with such a passion, she took us to church, and the fire burned.

She infuses her vocal with soul and meaning, and it’s hard not to go there with her.

There’s no doubt that this is the direction Faith must go in after her time on the show concludes, whether she wins or not.

This is Faith, and she’s fantastic doing her.

Paxton – “Side to Side” by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj: B+

Much, much better than her Top 16 performance! Sure, the performance side still isn’t quite there, she is still a kid after all.

But this song suited her perfectly, and I had many doubts after her last performance. I didn’t see her as a viable pop star. I’m still not wholly convinced, but this was a major step in the right direction.

She looked the part, but most importantly, sounded the part. The vocal was on point, and that ridiculously high-pitched note was a stunner. It was poppy but still with the right amount of innocent playfulness.

This was good.

Thokozile – “Going Down” by Mary J Blige: C+

Big song for a big voice. It should have been a slam dunk, but it was not. Her Top 16 performance of “Dangerously on Love” was impressive, but this time around, it fell flat. Sure, the big voice was there, but it didn’t hit the mark, it didn’t hit those spots. The power was there, but it missed.

She’ll survive, but this proved that a big voice does not equate a great, big vocal.

Christo – “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross: B

This was fine, serviceable, a solid pass, but it was way too safe and old fashioned for Christo. He’s much cooler than that. I’m pretty sure there were better, more current options for him to choose from.

It wasn’t the worst performance or vocal of the night, but based on fan base, he’s in big danger heading into next week.

Should go home: based solely on tonight’s performance, Thokozile

Will go home: Christo

What did you think of the Top 10 performances? Do chime in and tell us what you thought!

Author: Reinhardt Botha

Writer, producer and occasional asshat.

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