Xcellent news for wannabes

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IOL Andile

Munya Vomo

Every time South Africa gets the nod to produce an inter-national talent show, the question is: can we pull it off?

The answer is usually multi-faceted and includes the programme’s host, who is considered the “face” of the show.

We know South Africa has a plethora of presenters, but only a few can handle the hosting duties of an international franchise.

This is the reality the producers from Rapid Blue (Strictly Come Dancing, SA’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, Come Dine With Me) faced when they landed The X Factor SA gig, which will be coming to our screens from September 6, on SABC1. This is the show that brought the world One Direction, Leona Lewis and James Arthur.

After sifting through all the possible candidates with experience, Andile Ncube will host The X Factor SA. Some people know him as the predecessor to Bonang Matheba, Sizwe Dlomo and Minnie Dhlamini on the SABC1 show, Live.

“I got a call from Rapid Blue to tell me I was among the people they were considering for the hosting job,” said Ncube.

“They asked me to audition. I felt like this was something big and really wanted to take part in it,” he added.

To prepare himself, Ncube tracked down past seasons of the show via the internet, bearing in mind what role he would play should he get the job.

“I’ve followed a couple of seasons of the American version as that’s what we see here. I also checked out the Canadian and the Arabian versions and I enjoyed the formats and different aspects,” he said.

After landing the job Ncube resisted the urge to compare himself to some of the international hosts like Mario Lopez, and instead went with what he knows about TV presenting.

“The tagline for our X Factor is u-X-ongasolveki, meaning ‘when it comes to this season there is some South African flavour to it’. Yes, it is an international brand and out there they do it in ways that suit them, but this is South Africa and we are going to do it our way. I have always done things in a way that I don’t mimic anyone because if I do it’s not real any more. So our show will be it’s own kind of show within a brand called The X Factor.”

In his enthusiasm for the job, Ncube used his audition to rate himself and get a feel for what the contestants will go through.

“I wanted to test out the website the other night so I attempted to rap and load something on there and in all my attempts I discovered that the talent was not there,” joked Ncube.

This got him thinking about what it is that those who excel and the winner of this competition will need to separate themselves from the rest of the wannabes.

The one thing they have to have is the “X” factor and, sadly, that’s undefinable. When Beyonce was on stage at the Superbowl, she did wonders, yet so many people have performed at the Superbowl before.

What was it about that year and that moment at the end of her performance when the fireworks went off behind her?

It’s like Michael Jackson and Motown when he introduced the glove, the moonwalk and all his other moves. How do you even define that? When that type of entertainer takes the stage, it’s a number of things unique to them that separates them from the rest.

“I don’t think you can put a finger on it. It’s just a performance that gives you goosebumps. That’s the X-factor,” Ncube explained.

Although The X Factor started 10 years ago in the UK and is only coming to our country now, Ncube feels there is room for it to grow.

“We are 20 years into finding our voice. Which means we are 20 years into fine-tuning kwaito, 20 years in to discovering what it is we call ‘our R&B’. If the current musicians are anything to go by, I think we have enough talent to carry a show like this. I believe the person who will win will be good enough to play on any stage in the world,” he said.

The winner will walk away with R300 000 and a recording contract with Sony Music. While this might seem like a huge prize, Ncube hopes the contestants will realise what comes with that prize and being associated with the show.

“The number of experts who will come through to a show like this is endless. You can’t put a value to that. As far as longevity is concerned, the singer has to step in and do their bit as well. Everyone else can help out, but you have to step up and do your bit as the one who has the singing dream. You will always have to remember why you stood in the sun and had sunburn facing people you don’t know. All that should count for something,” said Ncube.

Anyone aged 16 and older can enter. Soloists and singing groups are welcome, but no bands are allowed. There are two ways to register for the auditions.

To get fast-tracked at the auditions, pre-register online at http://xfactor.sabc1.co.za/ pre_reg.php, or you can opt to do it at the actual audition site.

Auditions will start on Saturday in Durban and will then move to Cape Town, Joburg, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, (Mbombela) Nelspruit and Pietermaritzburg.

Further details can be accessed at www.xfactor.sabc1.co.za.


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