Idols judge from left Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msenagan, Gareth Cliff.

South African singers are getting another shot at the spotlight with the kickoff of the eighth season of Idols SA.

While celebrity-hopefuls took to the microphone for auditions back in February, viewers got their first taste of this year’s talent pool when the show premiered on M-Net and Mzansi Magic last night.

South Africa’s biggest reality competition arrived in Cape Town at the end of March for auditions, and 29 singers from the Western Cape made it into the Top 100.

”I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout in Cape Town… in terms of personality, looks, the vibe and, of course, the voices,” Idols SA host and co-producer ProVerb said on the DSTV website at the time.

Radio personalities Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff have returned as judges for the latest season. Abrahams has been a judge for all eight seasons. He was joined by Cliff back in season two and Msengana completed the trio in season seven.

The judges confirmed the richness of the Western Cape’s talent. “Cape Town has always delivered quality contestants,” Cliff told DStv during the auditions, “and today was no exception. We saw some really talented people and some really odd ones.

“Cape Town, you’ve done it again!”

The show is using social media to keep viewers involved. Fans can check out Facebook and Twitter for news updates, live feeds and coverage, show highlights and additional video footage. The winner won’t be crowned until October 2.

A mixed bag of people auditioned last night, including a famous singer’s daughter who did not make it because she was too young, a man playing a ukulele who went through to the Joburg finals, and a 22-year-old woman who claimed to have been writing songs since she was five, but who couldn’t sing. Msengana said that performance made her dizzy. “What the hell was that?” she asked.

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