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Idols SA Top 16’s Guys Give Vocal Lessons In A Battle For Votes

This season’s Idols SA Top 16 male singers have given voters a difficult task after an all-round stellar performance. Who will be voted in, who will be voted out?

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The gauntlet was thrown by the Top 16 ladies two weeks back and the last eight guys remaining in the competition duly accepted the challenge. In a night of splendour befitting a season finale, the Top 16 male vocalists lit up the stage in their opening sequence song. Rock City’s Locked Away featuring Adam Levine hit was done justice, evoking a standing ovation from judge Somizi Mhlongo! House music diva Mpumi came on to entertain the audience while the guys were getting ready for their first ever solo performances in front of a live voting audience.

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Under the night’s theme “Hits from the Last Decade”, Thamsanqa started the evening’s proceedings with a local is lekker favourite, Akulalwa by DJ Shimza featuring Dr Malinga. He brought the energy with a vibey performance that received mostly positive reviews from the judges. Gareth Cliff simply said he has booked himself in the Top 10. Somizi also applauded him on a great start to the show, but warned against “gospelising” songs going forward. Randall Abrahams concurred with his fellow judge, and complimented the rugby player on being able to energize the audience. “It looks good for the future,” he said. Unathi Msengana was certainly energized, and thanked the singer for “respecting a House song”.

Sanele took on Charlie Puth’s massive hit, One Call Away. His rendition upped the excitement ante and the judges were generous with their praise. “You nailed it! It was clean and effortless. In one word, it was superspendiflorous!” gushed Somizi. Unathi agreed, saying it felt like Sanele had taken everyone’s critique over the weeks and applied it. Randall was also impressed, but cautioned the young singer to take care that he nails the song from start to finish. “You’ve proven that if you’ve got a good song, a great band and backing vocal, you don’t have to do much,” was Gareth’s take. Following that tough act was Bevin.

The teen got on stage to sing Chris Brown’s sexy Back to Sleep, and delivered in spades. While Unathi admitted to feeling nervous, she was glad Bevin was able to deliver. Randall said his “street sound” was something no producer should ever take away and Bevin himself should never reign it in or water down. Gareth threw the teen contestant’s name in with the likes of Justin Bieber and Usher, while Somizi conjured up another unique adjective to describe his happiness with the performance.

Capetonian Lusanda slowed it down with local love jam of the moment, Thandiwe by Vusi Nova. If the crowd’s reaction was anything to go by, Lusanda’s crooning was on point. But the judges had a different outlook. Randall said the song choice would get him by even though he struggled in some parts. Gareth said Lusanda was showing off a little bit and needed to remember that sometimes less is more. Somizi felt the contestant was self-indulgent and didn’t connect with his audience. Unathi agreed with her fellow judges, and asked that Lusanda connect more with the song on an emotional level in future.

Still keeping it on Mzansi shores was Tebogo, who performed Rainbow by Black Motion feat. Xoli M. Gareth went out on a limb and guessed that people didn’t think it hit the spot. Somizi couldn’t fault him vocally, but said he needed to “find that thing!” Unathi said she loved the vocal and the performance, as well as the different shade he had delivered it in. Randall predicted Tebogo will still be on stage in a few weeks to come.

Thami came on with a completely different take of Drake’s Hotline Bling. Slower, quieter, sexier…the young man gave it his all and was justly rewarded with a standing ovation from the crowd. Somizi said Thami’s falsetto will make local R&B star Donald “speak Chinese”. Unathi called the performance flawless. “You’ve matured and grown into yourself as a performer and a singer,” was Randall’s praise. Gareth agreed with Randall but confessed he was concerned about Thami turning the popular song on its head by completely changing the melody.top-16-guys-idols-sa
As predicted, Terra didn’t have to dig deep for his inner neo soul crooner when he performed Maxwell’s Bad Habits, showing off shades of his voice that had the crowd on its feet chanting “We want more!” Unathi couldn’t contain her excitement and said she wished someone could send Maxwell that performance. Randall called this week “real competition” and Terra the most technically gifted singer this season. Gareth said it was sophisticated, while Somizi gave a deep satisfied sigh before declaring it the performance of the night! One almost felt sorry for the last performer of the night, Keegan, after such high praise for Terra. Closing the show off with Usher’s Climax, he was in it to win it – and boy did he deliver!

Randall led the charge of praise with a shocking: “It ain’t over till the Keegan sings! Ladies, it is going to be a BIG season! Thamsanqa, Bevin, Terra and Keegan!” Gareth followed with his own high octane comment. “This is not the guy we put through in auditions. It’s like he multiplied himself by 10. He’s going to the top!” Somizi did a praise sing and couldn’t articulate more than that, while Unathi ululated and called it “not just my performance of the night but the performance of the last two week!”

Don’t miss next week when six contestants will be cut and the Idols Season XII Top 10 will be announced. It’s going to be epic!

Photo Cred: Images Supplied

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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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