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As Big Brother Africa bows out, our next obvious viewing choice is Idols SA. Of course, it started a few weeks ago, but wasn’t as interesting as the stage we are about to head into this week – the theatre week.
About 100 contestants were happy to receive the gold card which allowed them to advance to the next stage where their numbers will be trimmed again.
A few members of the media were handpicked to go along to Sun City to watch some of the action and that’s where Tonight caught up with judge Gareth Cliff and former contestants Simpiwe Gwegwe, Nolly Meje (pictured) and Tshidi Tenyane.
“There is a sense of them trying to get their stuff together before the filming starts. In previous seasons the theatre stage has been messy. You would have groups that are messy which we would see through straight away. This year there is no single group that we have said ‘no’ to without hearing their entire song.
“In my line of work you can tell in the first 30 or so seconds how the rest of it is going to go and I think the contestants this year are geared up to win,” said Cliff.
“To me it shows that there is talent and the level is higher than it has been in previous seasons,” explained the radio jock.
With such praise it appears that the next crop of Idols wannabes will outdo the class of 2012 which brought us the magnificent voices of Monde Msutwana and Khaya Mthethwa.
“This is not to say the previous contestants were less talented, it seems that these people this year know the gig. They get in there and know they have to do a group song, they have to work together, they have choreography, they have to sing on key and everyone knows their part. Generally, I am very very impressed,” said Cliff.
We shifted our focus to the show’s “alumni” – Gwegwe, Meje and Tenyane – who paid the contestants a visit for moral support.
“Being here takes me back to what happened last year,” said Gwegwe.
“I hope the guys here are embracing this moment because this moment is the foundation of the entire competition. It is not going to get any easier,” he shared.
Meje agreed with Gwegwe, saying that returning to Idols to see the class of 2013 made her recall every detail of being on the show when she was a contestant.
“I remember I was so nervous and when Tshidi came to say I didn’t make it, I was shocked. This was the season before last year. You need to understand that we don’t talk to each other at this stage of the competition because we are all nervous so we sit there trying to be calm, but inside we are dying,” explained Meje.
Tenyane, who did very well last year to come fourth, had been on the show the previous season, too. She also shared her experiences at this stage of the competition.
“I had been on the show the previous year so to come back and convince these people that I wanted this put a lot of pressure on me. I knew I had to up my game,” she said.
“They are looking for different themes every year and the previous year it was rock and in season eight I had to do a home-brewed song which was by Lira. That was were I felt I am in my element and that performance launched me.
“So it is nerve-racking, yes, but at the same time I think that most of us hide it very well,” Tenyane explained.
At least these three former contestants are over the dreaded theatre stage and are all working on new music.
• Idols SA ais broadcast every Sunday from 5.30pm on M-Net (DStv channel 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 1-7).