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Idols Reaches Milestone But Not Enough For Amanda

Amanda’s hopes to become South Africa’s newest Idols were cut short on Sunday evening, sadly.

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Idols SA Season 11 reached another milestone this week with over 6.4 million votes cast for the Season 11 Top 7 between Sunday evening 11 October and Tuesday evening 13 October – that’s over 4 million votes more than for the corresponding week in last year’s Season 10. But unfortunately Idols’s “comeback kid”, 22-year-old Amanda Antony from Port Elizabeth, received the fewest of this massive number of votes, making her the fourth Top 10 finalist to go home.
With the Top 10 now whittled down to Top 6, each contestant on Sunday got to perform two numbers under the musical theme of “90’s vs Today” – one song each in the first round from the decade in which they were all born, the Nineties, and then for the second round, a hit song from the current charts.
The first person to receive enough votes to survive to the Top 6 was 24-year-old Karabo Mogane. Born in 1991, Karabo went back to April 1995 for Boys II Men classic “Water Runs Dry” for his first performance. And from today’s tracklists he selected Hozier’s “Someone New”.
“You were heart-and-soul, knee-deep in that song,” Gareth Cliff said happily. An impressed Somizi Mhlongo said that Karabo was a songwriter’s dream and a producer’s dream and an arranger’s dream. Unathi Msengana agreed with both of her colleagues and also commended Karabo on his professional breath control. “Your singing has improved tremendously during this competition,” Randall Abrahams noted approvingly.
Karabo
Next up was Dineo Moseki (22) from Vryburg, a 1993 baby who chose Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” from December 1998 as her Nineties song. And her current hit choice was local outfit Beatenberg’s “Rafael”.
Gareth noted how much better Dineo sounds when she tackles something upbeat like that second song. “Last week your spaceship crashed and you were the only survivor found!” Somizi joked. “You survived,” he said encouragingly. Unathi commented that she loved Dineo’s interpretation of the Lauryn Hill song, but it didn’t sound like Randall was impressed – “I have a funny feeling the boys are going to take the second round as well,” he commented.
Dineo
21-year-old Rhema Varrie from Alberton was born in 1994 and his Nineties hit from February 1995 was Radiohead’s “High And Dry”. His selection from the 2015 charts was One Republic’s “Counting Stars”.
Gareth noted that Rhema has a unique sound and advised him to make that his distinctive standout quality. “When Jesus says ‘yes’, no Randall can say ‘no’!” Somizi cracked. “Hallelujah!” Unathi concurred. And Randall was happy not only about Rhema’s improvement as a singer, but also with the talent that he displayed on multiple instruments tonight. He just expressed a wish that Rhema would also increase in confidence, like Karabo and Loyiso had done.
Rhema
Siphelele Ngcobo (24) from Inanda, who was born in 1991, selected the classic All 4 One hit “I Can Love You Like That” from June 1995. And for his second round song Siphelele stuck with a vernac choice as always, Nathi’s “Nomvula”, which earned him a standing ovation from Unathi and Somizi.
“I was blown away,” Gareth admitted. “Your voice is anointed!” Somizi raved. “Even if you don’t speak English or sing English, stick to where your heart and soul is, you will never be hungry,” he advised. Unathi thought Siphelele “destroyed” with the second performance, and Randall seemed dumbstruck. “Just a few weeks ago it looked like you were going home,” he spluttered. “In my time on Idols I’ve never seen such a comeback …”
Siphelele
23-year-old Mmatema Moremi from Limpopo was born in 1992 but her Nineties hit tonight was from September 1998: Deborah Cox’s “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here”.  And from the current world charts Mmatema chose Jess Glynne’s hit, “Hold My Hand”.
”It’s almost as if you’ve been performing all your life. You just don’t put a foot wrong,” Gareth marveled. But he requested that she tackle something “risky” next week. Somizi admitted that he didn’t know the song, “but you made me love it!” he raved. Unathi was not thrilled with Mmatema’s first song, “but then you came back and said ‘this is I … this is how it will be done …’” she noted happily. And Randall thought he couldn’t add anything to that feedback. “I’m just going to say it was great to hear you do a pop song,” he smiled.
unname
16-year-old Loyiso Gijana from Uitenhage was born in 1999 his Nineties song, from August 1991, was the Boyz II Men hit: “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”. Halfway through Sunday’s show Gareth Cliff, Somizi Mhlongo, and Unathi Msengana thought that Loyiso had delivered the best performances of the first round, and Randall Abrahams agreed that all four of the guys had given sterling performances.

Loyiso

And for his 2015 hit at the end of the second round Loyiso chose “Hold Back The River”, by James Bay. “You see, you’re not afraid at all to take risky songs and make them work,” Gareth said happily. “I don’t know how to fault you,” said Somizi. He noted that Loyiso could give Usher and Chris Brown a run for their money. Unathi commented on the passion in Loyiso’s performance, “and the passion you will feel in the voting,” she smiled. “We so easily forget how young you are,” said Randall. But he warned that from next week it’s anybody’s competition to win or to lose.
Voting for the Top 6 opened during the course of Sunday’s live broadcast and will close at 22:00 on Tuesday, 20 October.

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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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