After the energetic Twasa (Seipati Seoke) left Jam Alley a few years ago, it was unclear whether anyone could match her level of agility.
The show has since taken on a new format and new faces, such as rapper Slikour, as well as a new name, Crew vs Crew, and we also see a 180° turn on how it is run.
Joining Slikour (Siyabonga Metane) is actress, singer and presenter Noluthando “Nolly” Meje (pictured). We have all seen what she can do, but can Nolly really pull off the Jam Alley gig?
“I feel I can handle a show like Jam Alley. When we were called for auditions I may have been nervous, but the audition went well. I am sure the producers realised it was just the nerves, but I did well,” said Nolly.
She is already co-presenting alongside Slikour and they look comfortable with each other.
“It still hasn’t kicked in that I actually made it on the show. It’s about 19 years old and so many people made their names off it. I am just hoping it gives me the same benefits,” she said.
Though that may be her impression, the 25-year-old Capetonian has already made her mark on TV. She has been in successful productions such as What’s Your Story 2?, Home Affairs, Stokvel and Interrogation Room, among others. This experience made her the first choice for Jam Alley, because she already has a strong background in television and an amazing personality to go with it.
“I get along with Slikour and the other guys on the show. They treat me like their kid sister and tease me whenever they can, but it is nothing I can’t handle, so I always tease them back. We have so much fun,” she said.
Before Nolly, there were other woman presenters on this show, such as the great Twasa. Slikour could have dodged the bullet because he just came as his crazy self, but Nolly must have felt the pressure as she contemplated filling Twasa’s shoes.
She is not interested in fitting into those shoes, or even trying them on.
Instead, she wants to introduce her own pair – in other words, make her own mark as Nolly.
“It is only fair to say everyone who has been on the show did what they did in their individual capacity.
“In turn, they made their individual strides on the show, so I am trying to do the same. I am not taking over from where they left off, or trying to make the show better from what they did – that was their time and this is mine,” she explained.
If you have seen a bit of the show’s new look, you’ll agree it has something of a hip hop feel to it, especially with the battling “crews” now forming an integral part of the format.
Nolly feels it is not a drastic change, just a few tweaks for a fresher look.
“The market the old format was made for has moved on, so we are adapting to what they listen to now, which is largely hip hop. But Jam Alley is not confined to that, there are also a lot of kwaito groups coming through to participate.
“We are also trying to get back to less dancing and more singing,” she said.
• Jam Alley airs every Friday at 6.30pm on SABC1.