Cape Town-130206-Idols auditions took place at Grand West Entertainment World today. Judges present were Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana, Randall Abrahams and Host: Proverb (Tebogo Thekiso) (far right). In pic is contestant Celia Marie who embraces Unathi after she was told that she did not receive a golden ticket-Reporter-Sisi-Photographer-Tracey Adams

A thousand hopefuls filed into the GrandWest Entertainment World to take part in the Cape Town Idols auditions yesterday. For most it was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I’m very nervous. I need to win this,” said Natalie Mafuya, an unemployed 23-year-old from Gugulethu.

Mafuya hoped her rendition of Whitney Houston’s You Light Up My Life would be enough to win her a ticket to the next round – the Idols theatre phase in Sun City.

Esther “Brownie” Philander, 19, took her first step towards her dream. The feisty music student from Ottery waved her golden ticket as she walked out of the audition room.

“I got a ‘yes’ from every judge; I’m going to Sun City!”

Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana and Randall Abrahams have returned as judges of the ninth season of the reality show.

“I’m definitely dreading Randall the most,” said Benjamin Tainton, 18, from Noordhoek.

On reprising his role on the Idols judging panel, Abrahams said: “I can’t wait to come face to face with the next group of contestants.”

A victim of the sharply spoken judge last year, Marius Pool, 30, of Sea Point, returned this season for a final shot at fame: “This is my last year to wow the judges, so I thought why not.”

The Wooden Mic, which is the award given to the worst singer in the competition, certainly had its fair share of candidates, as rejected singers fell victim to the judges’ wrath.

Some contestants arrived at 4am and patiently waited their turn, with song and nervous chatter.

The popular instrument of choice in Cape Town this year was the guitar, with at least a quarter of the contestants auditioning with one.

Idols 9 moves to the Soweto Theatre on February 16 and then to the Durban Playhouse on March 2, before the final auditions are held at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 23.

Idols co-producer ProVerb returns to host the show for the fourth time.

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