By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
HARARE – Reality series enthusiasts last week saw the return of the top rated series – South African Idols season 13, which has kept the entire southern Africa glued to the small screens for its light hearted humour, comedy and music.
So far the show has been on a roll with the first screenings of the Cape Town auditions held at the Grand West Entertainment Centre.
For the lucky few, they would leave clutching the symbol that marks a journey that could change their lives forever: the Idols SA Golden Ticket.
Like in previous edition, the launch of season 13 was marked by drama, intrigue, suspense, comedy, and a whole of SA’s favourite falsetto. R&B star and guest judge Donald, declared being a judge on the show as “one of the best experiences of (his) life”.
Season 13 got off to an eventful start when a somewhat tone-deaf contestant serenaded one of the judges with a love ditty that cracked Randall Abrahams’ funny bone, a monumental feat for a judge known to hardly ever show teeth, let alone chuckle.
But the Queen of Silent Tears, fellow judge Unathi Msengana, need not worry about being dethroned by Randall.
As things stand, it looks like a box of tissues will get its own special place at the judges’ table.
In-between the auditory assault, the impromptu theatrics and the conflict, some true gems showed up to bowl the judges over.
The colourful Somizi Mhlongo was dazzled by a contestant he praised for being a “vocally honest” singer, while Donald could barely hide his delight at another contestant.
“Your voice is intricate and particular. You have amazing potential and impeccable control,” he gushed.
Donald’s passion for talent was on such a high, he even gave another “potential” his Golden Disc, making the other judges’ votes null and void.
The introduction of the Golden Disc is a lifesaver for contestants during the audition phase.
Each judge has one disc in each province that he or she can use to push through a contestant to Theatre Week, overriding the other judges’ votes.
However, receiving the judges’ validation is only one step in the Idols SA journey.
This new generation of hopefuls, some of whom were barely out of nappies and short pants when the show first aired in 2002, have a long way to go and will have to prove their mantle every single step.
Added to the judges as a guest was Idols Season 8 winner and award-winning musician Khaya Mthethwa for the Pretoria auditions held at The State Theatre.
“Idols is the only place you can come in as a dreamer and leave a superstar,” he declared.
The latest episode was proof of just how much people dream of that superstardom.
The episode could have been dubbed “another shot at fame” as quite a few returnees came back to try their luck.
Lindo, Faith, Ginger and Thapelo made it yet again to Theatre Week, but it’s still to be seen if the pressure of “Hell Week” will see them crash and burn again.
As usual, Randall had some curt comments to throw about, including telling a contestant, “The level of originality is none existent,” ouch!
And while getting four nods is like cracking the code to the vault housing the crown jewels, the truly talented ones did it, booking themselves a safe spot in the first round of Theatre Week.
Idols SA season 13 airs on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 17:00 CAT.