It was group two’s turn to shine on the “Idols SA” stage on Sunday, in the hopes of filling the 10 spots that will be announced next week.
They didn’t get off to as good a start as last week’s group.
Siya was the first on stage with his rendition of The Weeknd’s “In Your Eyes”. Although Randall Abrahams thought his performance was a step up from theatre week, he wasn’t convinced that it was a big enough step.
He called it a performance that seemed to be “trying to take off, trying to take off, but just not really getting there”.
“I don’t think you were as good at this level as you’ve been previously in the competition.”
This was echoed by Unathi Nkayi, who said she was expecting the performance to jump off but it failed.
Guest judge Buhle Mda advised him to pick a song that matched his range.
Zukisa impressed Unathi and Buhle with his rendition of Yebba’s “Distance”, which had the two judges exclaiming non-stop, saying “bathong wena”.
Unathi admitted that she and Buhle were worried about his understanding of the depth of the song, but he exceeded their expectations.
“You attacked that song so beautifully and so delicately. I thought you wouldn’t have the emotional maturity to understand that but you surpassed every, every one of my expectations of you, young man,” she said.
Buhle thanked him for respecting the artist by not colouring the song too much, but Randall said he did not enjoy the performance.
“At some point I could hear the backing vocalist, I couldn’t hear you at all. I thought you just faded into the song,” he said.
Responding to Misty’s rendition of “Dying for Your Love” by Snoh Aalegra, Buhle said she sounded like someone who was singing her favourite song instead of someone competing to be the next SA Idol and that she wasn’t moved.
Randall said her performance was too professional and lacked the hunger and edge that most amateurs on the show have.
Karabo’s performance had Buhle on her feet and Unathi’s hands stretched out as she was singing.
The youngster gave a rendition of “Stand Up for Something” by Andra Day and although Randall thought it was a good performance overall, he said the verses were not as good as the chorus.
Unathi said she was so taken by Karabo’s performance that she couldn’t be as analytical as expected. “You are music personified. I believed you and that is what you evoked in me. You moved me,” she said.
Buhle labelled Karabo as a powerhouse, and said she made her feel like she needed to be saved from something.
Although S’22kile’s rendition of Bebe Rexha’s “Meant to Be” impressed Unathi, who said her singing was a reminder of her journey so far, she advised her not to relax.
Buhle wasn’t convinced by her song choice, and while Randall thought her chest voice was round, it was when she tried singing with her head voice to sound powerful that she fell short, he said.
“And that’s not great... it’s sharp, it’s piercing. Firstly we have a great band, and you have to do two things (while singing), you have to listen to the band and listen to yourself at the same time.
“You have to know where you are singing, and where you are in the mix of the music.
“You are young, I know this, and you may well mature so that you don’t sing sharp anymore.
But you don’t have time. You have to make a choice now and make it work,” he said.
Contestant number six Monique’s attempt at Lady Gaga’s “I’ll Never Love Again”, from ”A Star Is Born”, bagged her great reviews all around, with Buhle saying the emotions she injected into her performance were incredible. “You are beautiful. So soothing, so light,” she said.
Randall’s worry, however, was that she could become a one-trick pony with her style of singing that she had perfected so well.
Unathi echoed Buhle, further calling Monique “sensual, kind, soft and genuine and you know who you are, which is beautiful to see”, she said.
Ithana’s Chloe x Halle’s rendition of “Forgive Me” got a mixed reaction from Randall, who said that although it was a great performance, she came across as a little self-conscious.
“I thought if you (could) just let it go and performed, and kind of forgot about trying to be cool, it would have been better.”
Unathi thought the contrary, saying Ithana was getting better and better with each week – calling this performance the most powerful she had ever been.
Buhle enjoyed Ithana’s performance, saying it felt more like being at a festival than an audition.
Last on stage was Kevin who sang Justin Bieber’s “Peaches”. His performance got the thumbs up from Unathi for being a good song choice and being able to take it to the streets.
Buhle agreed, adding that Kevin put a mature spin on the song and made it enjoyable.
Randall thought while most of it was good, he was searching for originality from Kevin because of how much he resembled so many artists while singing.
He encouraged him to be himself so producers could see themselves working with him.