Having sat through several seasons of auditions, Idols celebrity judge Gareth Cliff has gone through a gamut of hopefuls and hopeless. Debashine Thangevelo got his take on the Durban turnout this year

OF the three major cities, Gareth Cliff says Durban was the “least impressive”.

He quipped: “There were good people, but very few.”

On the most cringe-worthy attempts, he says there wasn’t any one particular song that was done to death.

“Adele and Beyoncé were, irritatingly, quite popular,” he confirmed.

Despite a large turnout, only 21 hopefuls were good enough to secure a Golden Ticket to the next phase of the competition at Sun City.

If there was any confusion about Cliff’s feeling about this leg of the auditions, he cleared it up by revealing he couldn’t recall |any standout talent, or anyone who made a colourful impression.

Surprisingly enough, despite the short supply of talent, Cliff was a far cry from frustrated.

“I love doing Idols. It was a great day in Durban and we filmed in front of a cage full of sharks. It was terrific,” he laughed.

As for where some contestants messed up royally, he offered: ”For some people, their biggest mistake is pitching up at all. Some of them have absolutely no idea of how awful they are. For others, it’s either trying too hard, or not trying hard enough. It’s tough. Nobody said it was easy – especially with Randal around.”

With last year’s interesting array of contestants who made it through to the Top 10, I asked Cliff if the judges were solely looking for a brilliant voice, or the full package that includes sex appeal.

He said: “We never take only the voice into consideration. It’s about everything: the talent, the personality, the hunger to succeed, etc.”

As for why viewers should tune in to the show’s eighth instalment, Cliff says: “So far, people seem to be loving the show and I’m really pleased about that.

“Idols is getting bigger and better every year, despite the most cynical predictions about the show’s imminent demise.”

I guess viewers can judge for themselves, though!

• Idols airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 107) on Sunday at 5.30pm.