It was yet another night to dim the lights and literally cast as shadow over one contestant’s prospects of becoming a South African Idol. 20-year-old Nadia Herbst from Paarl was the first Top 10 finalist in Idols SA Season 11 whose dream of becoming South Africa’s next Idol was shattered by the voting public. In a shocking new turn of events the former teenage beauty queen had to wait until the very end of the show to hear the result, which turned Sunday night’s show into one of the tensest Idols SA Spectaculars ever seen.
In the past the voting results were revealed before the singers took the stage, but this week the Idols SA contestants were called onto stage one by one, in no particular order, to perform their number in this week’s musical theme of “Songs with Strings”.
24-year-old Karabo Mogane from Nelspruit was the first to be called up to perform, and enjoy the relief of knowing he was in the Top 9, and he performed Adele’s mega-hit “Rolling In The Deep”.
“It was a mature performance,” Idols SA judge Gareth Cliff told him. “You re very impressive guy when it’s just you and the microphone,” he noted. Somizi Mhlongo encouraged Karabo to pursue a solo career as a singer regardless of what happens in his Idols SA journey. “You’re a superstar,” he said.
Unathi Msengana agreed with Gareth about the maturity of Karabo’s performance, but Randall Abrahams thought that before he got to the song’s chorus, “the verses were staid”.
“The lack of interpretation just killed me,” he commented, and he expressed the hope that Karabo would take his advice seriously, because he likes him and would like to see him stay in the competition.
The second contestant to make the Idols SA Season 11 Top 9 was Siphelele Ngcobo (24) from Inanda, singing Thandiswa Mazwai’s “Nizalwa Ngobani”.
Gareth thought that the performance was rather flat. “I really expected more,” he said. “I was disappointed.” Somizi noted that you can’t mess around with Thandiswa Mazwai’s music. “It was very risky and it did not pay off,” he said. Unathi commended Siphelele on his love of South African music, “especially because it was the artist’s birthday yesterday,” she said. “I think you did a sterling job,” she told Siphelele. But Randall thought it was flat. He told Siphelele every contestant gets an opportunity during the Top 10 phase to give a performance that they will be remembered for. “This was the song,” he said, “but not the performance. Every opportunity you had to make it memorable, you didn’t take.
16-year-old Loyiso Gijana from Uitenhage was up third with the Sara Bareilles ballad, “Gravity”.
Gareth thought it was a very odd song, “but it showed you off very well. You’re a very talented vocalist, my friend,” he told Loyiso.
“Your artistic intelligence is beyond me,” said an impressed Somizi. “You know what,” he told Loyiso. “Go home – we’ll see you in the Top 3.” Unathi agreed with Somizi that Loyiso’s artistry is unrivalled, and Randall thought that the other judges had said all that was needed to be said. “If you don’t get votes tonight, I imagine the Japanese will win the World Cup,” he joked.
Elwira Standili (22) from Worcester was the first girl to make the Top 9, singing the Christina Aguilera anthem “Hurt”.
“Well done to you for a song that’s very hard,” said Gareth, but he did express a wish that she would have showed a little bit more contrast. Somizi agreed. “Give your song colours, give your song levels, “ he advised. “Don’t just Jennifer Hudson everything.”
Unathi pointed out that Elwira’s performance might have been a result of her nerves getting the better of her while Randall thought her phrasing wasn’t too good at the start but “then you started to live the song,” he admitted, “And I think that’s going to get you votes.
Next up on stage, and safe in the Top 9, was Lungisa Xhamela (24) from Langa in the Cape, sang Eric Benet’s “Hurricane”.
Gareth admitted that he was worried about the song choice, “but you were masterful,” he told a relieved Lungisa. Somizi was glad to see that Lungisa had his confidence back. “Keep on singing like that,” he said.
“Welcome to the Top 9,” Unathi told him. And Randall warned that if he keeps making it look this easy people might not think they need to vote for him! But he thought so far this evening, this performance was “the most well-rounded, the most professional.”
Mmatema Moremi (23) from Limpopo celebrating making the Top 9 singing a Demi Lovato song, “Warrior”.
Gareth thought that she should be safe to get enough votes this week. Somizi thought it was a great song choice, but he asked that she showed him a different side of her artistry next week. Unathi noted that Mmatema was obviously nervous when she started, “but that’s a good place to be,” she told her. Nerves will keep Mmatema giving her best, she said. Randall agreed with Somizi, and he pointed out that some of her top notes were a little strident.
Dineo Moseki (21) from Vryburg was the next contestant to make the Top 9, and she chose the Beyoncé hit “Broken-Hearted Girl”.
Gareth noted that Dineo struggled a little bit with her breathing in this difficult song, but Somizi was ecstatic. “You owned the room!” he told her. “Everyone else wears pacemakers and you ran!” he raved. Unathi thought it was a perfect song for Dineo, but Randall noted that maybe the nerves got her a bit. He warned that as the competition tightened, the performances have to be perfect.
21-year-old Rhema Varrie from Alberton was relieved to be the third-last contestant called up on stage, to sing the John Legend ballad “This Time”.
“It was fine,” was all Gareth had to say. “You have a great voice, very sincere and honest,” he told Rhema. “And I think that’s why people like you.” Somizi advised him to keep his eyes open and connect with his audience more. But he still thought it was the best performance of the night. “It was more than fine!” Unathi chided Gareth. “You are peaking at the perfect time,” she told Rhema. And Randall hopes that if he survived the week, he would sing a fun, uptempo song next week.
In the end only Nadia and Amanda Anthony were left standing, in an eerie replay of the Top 16 results at Sun City, knowing that only one of them would get to sing in the competition again. This week, fortune favoured Amanda Antony from Port Elizabeth as Idols SA host ProVerb revealed that Nadia was the contestant who did not get enough votes to stay in the competition. Saddened for her friend, but relieved to still be in the competition, Amanda took to the stage to perform the Kelly Clarkson hit “Because of You”.
Gareth congratulated Amanda and assured her that she’s a great singer. “Jy’t pragtig gesing!” Somizi smiled, and Unathi thought it was technically one of the best performances so far this season.
South Africa showed their love for this season’s Top 10 in no uncertain terms this week with over four million votes cast. “It’s an all-time record for this phase of the competition,” M–Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard noted. “Even the contestants who received the fewest votes this week has already built a massive following and have a good chance of carving out a successful career in the industry,” she remarked.
The presumed fan-base will be put to the test yet again when the Top 9 have to battle it out for another step closer to becoming South Africa’s idol. The result of this week’s vote will be announced during the live broadcast of the Top 8 Spectacular next Sunday, 4 October, on M-Net, channel 101 on DStv, and Mzansi Magic, channel 161 on DStv.
Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
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.
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.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
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.
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.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
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.
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.