After more than one million votes cast this week, the final contestant to leave Idols Season 8 tonight was 30-year-old Monde Msutwana from Pretoria, which means that Durban’s Khaya Mthethwa (25) and 23-year-old Melissa Allison from Port Elizabeth will compete for the ultimate title in the live Idols Finalé next Tuesday, 2 October. ( Photo/Cobus Bodenstein.)

THE euphoria at the Mosaïek Teatro echoed the feelings of the nation as Khaya Mthethwa become the first black South African to win Idols SA.

The fanfare around the finale included performances by the Top 10 contestants, “zef” rapper Jack Parow, Zakes Bantwini accompanying the guys while Toya Delazy grooved with the girls. Then there was Freshground’s Zolani Mahola – looking like she just arrived from a ballerina rehearsal – belting out Take Me To The Dance. As for last year’s winner, Dave van Vuuren – well, except for the word “mother”, the lyrics of what he was singing was completely lost on me. Um, more like screaming, really.

But the highlight was when ProVerb announced that Mthethwa won.

With over three million South Africans casting their vote – the 25 year old winner enjoyed a landslide win over singing rival Melissa Allison, 23.

Although critics called it – as did Randall Abrahams, to an extent (he predicted Mthethwa cracking the Top 10) – it was the fans that made it abundantly clear where their loyalties were when they booed Allison during her performance at the spectacular at the finale.

Admittedly, it has been both a grueling and rewarding journey for Mthethwa, who took the positive and the critical feedback of judges Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana and Abrahams, to heart, and certainly sung his heart out at the Top 2 Spectacular on Sunday.

Of his first two songs – Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness and R Kelly’s I Am The World’s Greatest – Cliff felt that he was “leading by a slight margin”.

Although, Mthethwa’s win confirms that there was nothing “slight” about the scope of his win.

At the press conference, an unassuming Mthethwa was at his charming best. While his fans were outside celebrating his victory with a song, he commented on them booing Allison.

He said: “I want to congratulate Melissa. If I was in the crowd and I heard that I would have said it wasn’t right. She has come this far and she deserves a round of applause.”

There was no ignoring the question around the controversy of the show being rigged to ensure Idols SA had its first black winner.

Mthethwa commented, “I joined the competition because I love music. Secondly, it saddens me that every time there is an achievement; it comes down to black and white or is political in some way.”

With no other media asking him the all-important question, Msengana, looking ravishing in a fitting white number, took it upon herself to do the honours.

He laughed, “I’m excited. I’m still the same height. I thought something drastic was going to happen”.

Like the title of his single, he is definitely going to Move...up the music scene!