RIVETED: Idols judges Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

HOURS after his girlfriend’s burial, singer Hloni Mahate, from Kwa-Thema in Springs, went to Pretoria to audition for Idols.

The mother of his baby girl had died just a few days before that, and his choice of song and the raw emotion with which he delivered Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning blew the judges away and reduced Unathi Msengana to tears.

“You are very good,” said Gareth Cliff.

Being on Idols was a dream his siblings shared, but his big brother died in 2007 before realising that dream.

Then last year, his sister also passed away.

His girlfriend, who got sick soon after giving birth to their baby in October, encouraged him to enter the competition.

And with her death just days before the auditions, and her funeral on the actual day they were held, he just could not bring himself to forfeit that dream.

“She believed in me,” said Mahate, tears streaming down his face, his eyes red.

“I don’t care what science says but there’s a man called God, and when He decides things happen, they happen,” he declared.

Then there was Mirandi Smith, from Rustenburg, a young woman who has had life throwing curve balls at her.

She got engaged at 15, married at 16 and gave birth to twins at 17.

But she was not to get the happy ever after.

Divorced at 23, Mirandi had to deal with all sorts of illnesses, and now, aged 25, she needed something to make her happy – and Idols is it.

“I can give my kids a better life, I can give myself a better life,” she said.

Her rendition of Christina Aguilera’s Just a Fool got her approval from all three judges, including the hard-to-please Randall

Abrahams. - The Star