The all-new glamorous Top 10 were unveiled on Sunday night, bringing some pop star allure to the Idols SA stage.
This evening’s theme was the Judges’ Playlist, an on-going friendly match to see which judge will have the most songs picked by the contestants. The honour went to Unathi, whose tally of five songs picked dethroned last year’s winner Somizi.
The show got off to an up-tempo start when a red-clad Nosipho performed Lady Zamar’s pop hit, Collide. Randall said it reminded him of Kylie Minogue, but she needed to “turn it up” more. Somizi, on the other hand, predicted it to be a forgettable performance.
Next up was Mthokozisi, who looked spiffy in a tuxedo jacket, taking on Maxwell’s Ascension, a decision applauded by Unathi who said: “To attempt a falsetto with such a deep voice is commendable.” An unimpressed Somizi put it bluntly: “There was no dynamic, no colour. It was bland. It wasn’t nice.”
Lincoln came on stage in a flamboyant floral outfit that he said was inspired by Somizi. His rendition of Ringo’s Sondela was “respectful”, according to Unathi. Randall felt he brought soul to the song, and Somizi said he killed it.
The judges agreed that the diminutive Xae brought some fire with her vocals on Shekhinah’s Please Mr, but needed to go “big” and show off more personality on stage instead of sorely relying on her voice.
The contestant who likes to “smile with my eyes” took on Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. Niyaaz received some mixed reviews, with the judges pointing out the song had started off well, but he had over-sang it by the end. “You don’t need to over-emote; the song’s lyrics are enough,” advised Randall.
Self-confessed tomboy, Ntokozo, took on the uplifting gospel anthem Fill Me Up by Tasha Cobbs. Unathi called her attempt “fearless” while Randall felt the song itself was going to save her for this week.
Thato brought it back home with I Got You by Encore. “You are the first performer so far this evening to have presence. You know that this is a competition,” was Randall’s compliment. “You are the full package,” concurred Somizi. “You have charisma, charm and confidence. Your tone went hand in hand with that song.”
The petit Thando took on the big guns with Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. Unathi and Somizi gave their critique, but all everyone heard was Randall. “Blah blah blah! Finally, we have a competition!”
Blouse-loving King B had all eyes on him as he sang Love On The Brain by Rihanna, with just a piano for accompaniment. “You are a true example of honesty and self-acceptance. You are not just a voice, you are honesty and we love that honesty,” said Somizi. “You are also a great singer. You do melodrama well.” Unathi summed it up: “You killed it! This is one of my favourite performances so far.”
Teen wonder Yanga closed off the show with a superb rendition of Amazulu by Amanda Black, that left Unathi emotional. “I had specifically chosen that song for you and hoped you’d pick it. You have done it justice; avulekil’amazulu.”
With the judges having made their song choices and their voices heard, it’s now up to the voting public to keep their favourite on the show.