The best way to describe this years Idols SA Top 16 all-female round is in the immortal words of Jay Z, a ‘fresh out of the frying pan into the fire’ spectacle.
The remaining eight female vocalists set the stage ablaze with their rendition of Rihanna’s Work at Pretoria’s State Theatre as they opened Season 12’s live voting shows. As if the humidity in Tshwane wasn’t enough, the Durbanites brought their own heat on stage; with Afrotainment impressario Dj Tira tag teaming with Black Motion to get Somizi off his chair. They were soon followed by arguably the song of the year, Babes Wodumo’s Wololo. The evening’s proceedings were under the theme Hits of the Last Decade and the ladies came on stage in hopes that their performance for the night would endear them into Mzansi’s hearts.
As things got off to a flyer at the State Theatre, it was Valentine‘s opener that set the bar for the night. Considering how she was belting out a favourite on Queen Bey’s birthday, Valentine had a lot riding on the performance. Her performance was a resounding success, with Gareth Cliff saying that she stood out among the other roses, while Som G urging her to unearth her inner alter ego, a Matlakala of some sort. Judge Unathi called the performance emotive and Randall commended her on her perfect choice to open the Top 16 round.
Next up was Lucia with Adele’s Send My Love (To Your New Lover). Her performance didn’t inspire much confidence as Unathi warned that South Africans tend to be unforgiving and ruthless at this stage so Lucia needs to work on her delivery. Somizi said she has a great range and called her a future seasoned vocalist, while Randall said it was safe and good but needed to be memorable, and Gareth was in agreement.
Risk taker Sgherdeed, who opted to perform Deep in the Bottom by Black Coffee feat. Monique Bingham seemed like she enjoyed herself on stage. Unathi complimented her on her interpretation both vocally and performance-wise, Randall said the performance was good but the voice quite flat, Gareth thought the song choice might not have been so great at this “critical” stage and Somizi said he got lost somewhere along Sgherdeed’s performance.
Just when things seemed to be taking a turn for the worst, the downward spiral just didn’t fizzzle out. Luke, performing Yoga by Jhanelle Mone feat. Jadena was less than impressive in her performance. The judges were in unison with their thoughts of the performance, with Randall calling the song choice ‘ambitious’ but that Luke fell short, Gareth concurred with his fellow judge. Somizi thought she was restricted by the heels she wore and was uncomfortable throughout her performance, while Unathi felt nerves got the better of her.
Noma slowed things down with a deeply moving rendition of Rihanna’s Stay feat. Mikky Ekko. The goosebump-o-metre in the theatre went off the charts as she got a standing ovation. Gareth asked her to trust the musicians she way playing with, Somizi said not only is she gifted but has a beautiful soul as well, Unathi called the performance absolutely perfect and could barely contain her emotions, and Randall could not fault her but asked Noma to be more aware of her mic technique.
The lady with the intense facial expressions, Siyakha, brought the energy back up with local hit Valelisa by Trademark and Zinhle Ngidi. Somizi, who is unashamedly her biggest fan on the judges’ panel, said she was the girl to watch. Unathi called her voice incredible but felt distracted by her dancing, Randall believe she had done a better job of standing out than other contestants and Gareth said it was impossible to take his eyes off her.
Amanda was effortless in her performance of Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman. Somizi was left speechless while Unathi called her a dangerous woman. Randall gushed that it was the right song, she had presence and was emotive enough, Gareth called it his performance of the night.
Fans were left less than overjoyed as Nosihe‘s closing performance left a lot to be desired. According to Randall, her rendition of Beyonce’s XO was fraught with nerves that got the better of her and in turn, she gave an average performance. Gareth said the song was a grade or two below expectation, Somizi said she was going to need Mzansi to forgive her so that they can keep her in. Unathi was certain that she was going to stay because Mzansi loves her despite her average week.
Tune in to Idols SA season 12 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161 on Sundays at 17h30 to see how the guys fare.
Photo Cred: Images Supplied