PIETERMARITZBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 14: Bongani Ndulula of Amazulu during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and AmaZulu at Harry Gwala Stadium on March 14, 2014 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

We are in the crucial stages of yet another talent show and this time it is I Want to Sing Gospel. Last Thursday, we saw the top eight finalists battle it out for the judges. We caught up with one of the judges, record label owner Tshepo Ndzimande (pictured), who was not impressed to say the least.

“The unfortunate thing is that I joined the show a little later and they had chosen the top 15.

“The truth is I didn’t think much of the singers left on I Want to Sing Gospel because I thought they would be more talented,” said an unflinching Ndzimande.

For him, the talent was not as polished as he had hoped, but thanks to the contingency plan they made afterwards, the show was saved.

“It was a good thing we had Lindelani Mkhize available to mentor the remaining contestants and now they are all looking and sounding much better,” he said.

For someone who has worked and managed gospel legends Lundi and Rebecca Malope, Ndzimande has a sound idea of what would work and otherwise.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, I admit, but it is a good thing that we put them in some sort of boot camp.

“I can now safely say I see those with potential to become winners.”

That said, the other factor that bothers him is the unfortunate one that the contestants do not know the realities of the careers they are pursuing.

“I am getting a lot of negative comments on Facebook and Twitter where people say I am too harsh to these contestants, but I know what I am doing.

“The truth is, this music business dream that these youngsters are chasing is not easy.

“If I lie to them on the show to say that they are good, then I am blindly leading them into a harsh world where they will not survive.

“I have to tell them as bluntly as I can because that’s how the world is, it is blunt and if people don’t like your music, they will simply show it,” he said vehemently.

While he is slightly happy with what the future holds on the show thanks to the mentorship by Mkhize, Ndzimande did not hold back on his expectations from the contestants.

“They should remember that two things are required of them.

One, we’re looking for an entertainer and secondly, we’re looking for a worshiper. The person who projects these two attributes well, gets far.“

This time around, the winner of I Want to Sing Gospel gets to walk away with a prize of R200 000 and a recording contract deal.

• Don’t miss I Want to Sing Gospel on SABC2 on Thursdays at 7.30pm.