WATCH: 'Idols SA' takes us to church and groove in one night
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Sunday night’s “Idols SA” show was a triple dose of performances with gospel classics, songs by their own idols and amapiano hits all rolled into one great night of performances.
The show opened with the top four being paired with four of South Africa’s gospel greats for some spiritually uplifting performances that bowled over the judges.
ZanoThando was first with a duet with Dr Rebecca Malope. The performance injected a huge dose of energy as they belted out Rebecca’s hit, “Ngegazi Lemvana“.
Randall Abrahams gave ZanoThando the thumbs up, saying the performance proved last week was not a fluke.
“You did really well on ‘Angelina’ last week and … you really did well on this,” he said.
Both Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung were in agreement, with Unathi adding that the judges had been hard on him over the weeks because they had seen his potential.
Unfortunately, though, ZanoThando bowed out of the competition, having failed to gain enough of the 21 million votes cast to guarantee him a spot in the top three.
Brandon was paired with Benjamin Dube in a performance of “El-Shaddai Adonai” that Randall described using words once used for American music legend Sam Cooke - “a combination of sandpaper and honey that together was more special than the separate elements”.
Unathi said the performance was phenomenal, while Somizi said he had held his own in a combination that he said worked perfectly.
Returning later to perform Miguel’s “Adorn”, the judges were unanimous that Brandon’s song choice was his strength, but Randall added that it was now less about this than it was about the desire to win.
As far as the judges were concerned tonight, Zama redeemed herself after a few weeks of shaky performances. Her gospel duet with Ntokozo Mbambo, singing “In The Shadow”, had Randall declaring it her best performance yet.
“You opened with restraint ….and killed it at the end,” he said.
Moved to tears, Unathi said she knew all along that this is what she is capable of, with Somizi saying she and Ntokozo were a match made in heaven and she had held her own.
Her next performance, singing “Empini” by Kelly Khumalo, had Unathi declaring Zama was back and Somizi saying she was certainly securing her spot in the finale.
Mr Music rounded off the top three with a brilliant duet with Dr Tumi.
Singing “Udumo”, the duo impressed the judges with Randall saying they gave a good performance, but at the same time encouraging Mr Music to go for the big notes.
Unathi said it was his best performance to date, while Somizi said their pairing was genius. “This worked like magic – it was beautiful,” he said.
Mr Music’s second performance – Adele’s “One and Only” – had Randall once again calling for big notes.
Unathi said it was an amazing performance, while Somizi said he enjoyed the performance, describing Mr Music as an authentic musician. “You are going to be a super star!” he said. “Now you just have to believe.”
The second half of the show was all about amapiano, with Brandon performing Kabza De Small and Sha Sha’s “Why Ngikufela”.
This time, the judges were more restrained in their praise, with Unathi only saying “well done” and Randall saying the performance sounded like a record rather than a live performance.
Somizi underplayed the performance saying he would still get the votes.
Zama performed Kabza De Small’s “Nia Lo”, with the judges again choosing their words carefully to highlight her strength.
Randall said she had been the most individualistic voice of all the women in the competition this year, adding that her earlier duet with Ntokozo would carry her through.
Meanwhile, Somizi felt it was a lazy performance.
Mr Music’s amapiano choice was “Tikoloshi” by Soweto's Finest, with Unathi saying he had taken this round.
Somizi said he would make an amazing finalist as he had worked extremely hard and would give any contender a run for their money.
Randall merely said he comfortable with any two of the top three making it into the finale.
With the top three performances now in the bag, the big question is now who will be the last man or woman standing in two weeks’ time.
This week, however, will be a big week for the top three as they will record their first singles with Kalawa Jazmee Records.