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SA Idols Top 10 Live Perfomances: Vocal Acrobatics On Fleek!

South African Idols Top 10 singers battled it out to woo the public and garner themselves some votes in the competition at the State Theatre on Sunday night.

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We introduced 10 aspirant and unsigned singers who will be vying for the coveted prize at SA Idols last week in this articleLast night, they all gave it their best shot to woo the public and garner themselves votes, hoping to stay in the running on the competition. The theme for the evening was ‘Judges Choice’ as Randall, Somizi Mhlongo, Unathi and Gareth submitted songs from which the contestants chose for the performances. The contestants were made to guess which judge had selected the song.

Elwira Standili belted it out with Mariah Carey’s top selling ballad “Without You”, which came her way courtesy of Somizi Mhlongo. Fortunately for her, the judges were quite impressed with her effort on the song, seeing as Mariah is known for for her powerful voice. She was commanded for meeting the expectations and, most notably, keeping the key on the lower register. “You gave those chilli babas”, remarked Somizi Mhlongo. On the other end of the spectrum, Unathi was not entirely sold on Elwira’s lower keys, while Randall rebuked her for looking like she was not enjoying the performance.

Elwira

All eyes were set firmly on Karabo Mogane, who has thus far done very little to hurt his chances in the competion. The 24 year old Nelspruit crooner gave his best on Macy Gray’s “I Try”, leaving the judges with not much else to say but note very much Mogane’s effortless stage presence. “I couldn’t take my eyes off you”, sad Unathi jubilantly.

Karabo

Gareth was up again with his choice for 22-year-old Amanda Antony from Port Elizabeth:Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me”. Receiving positive feedback all round, Somizi thought it was about time that Amanda realised where her true strength lies. Unathi said Amanda had proven that she deserved to be on this stage after a not so solid performance last time round. And Randall noted that there was something in the vein of Joan Armatrading in how Amanda approached that song, “completely different to how Jessie Ware does it,” he said. “And that’s a good thing.”

Amanda

Siphelele Ngcobo had quite big shoes to fill when he took to the stage to sing Lira’s ‘Soul In Mind’, and he ended falling a bit short on a couple of things. Amongst those, Gareth cautioned the 24 year from Inanda to be very careful with pronouncing the words in a song as every word is as “urgent”. But it was Randall’s criticism that really struck a nerve. He told Siphelele that his lack of charisma might cost him some votes. Not all was lost though, as Unathi and Somizi liked the performance.

Siphelele

Dineo Moseka took on Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, easily earning her a standing ovation from judge Somizi Mhlongo. Although Mhlongo gave the performance a big heads up for ‘showmanship’, Gareth Cliff was not singing along. “There was a lack of energy in the beginning”, he ruled. Unathi and Randall joined Somizi in  praising the performance.

Dineo

Rhema Varrie had to get his game on A to attempt Micheal Jackson’s iconic smash hit Man In The Mirror. Despite the pressure, he pulled it off! The judges were dancing from their seats. “I saw how much you love performing, and that makes me happy”, said Gareth. Randall later added that Varrie’s restraint had actually resulted in quite a good performance.

Rhemi

Lungisa Xhamela gave Goerge Micheal a run for his money when he performed “I Can’t Make You Love”, leaving the judges speechless. Well not quite literally, some pretty cool things were said after. “I didn’t expect such a beautiful performance”, Gareth said. Somizi noted Xhamela’s focus while Unathi gave a compliment to the vast vocal range displayed during the performance.

Lungisa

She had quite a vocally challenging one to take on, considering most of the verses are more like spoken monologues, but that didn’t Nadia Herbst from putting on a great performance of Rihanna’s Take A Bow. The judges were thoroughly impressed, with the exception of the toughest cookie to crack on the judges table. “It was a bit flaky”, charged Randall.

Nadia

It seems like talent knows no age limits, at least that is the case with Loyiso Gijana, the youngest contestant this year. Aged just 16, the Eastern Cape born and bred singer performed Emeli Sande’s Next To Me. The judges had great things to say about the performance. “Excellent song choice, but your interpretation is what made it great”, said Gareth.

Loyiso

Mmatema Moremi did River Deep, Mountain High by Tina Turner. Gareth got goosebumps from the performance, saying that Mmatema was successful in channelling her inner sixties.  “You are wiping the floor … you are ‘vryfing’ the floor with the other contestants, my child! God has blessed you,” Somizi exclaimed.

Mmatema

The result of the vote will be announced at the start of the Top 9 Spectacular next Sunday, 27 September, broadcast live from the State Theatre in Pretoria on M-Net, channel 101 on DStv, and Mzansi Magic, channel 161 on DStv.

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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