DJ Euphonik, Slikour and YFM DJ Tumi Voster will all be sharing the same platform in the third season of e.tv’s hugely successful reality series Step Up or Step Out. But they have different roles. Debashine Thangevelo got the exclusive on who will be doing what and why Dalen Lance and Arthur Mafokate are no longer in the show…
GETTING people on the dance floor is something DJ Euphonik is rather practised in.
And the influential 5FM DJ’s exposure to music and dance has made him the ideal candidate to take over the reins from Arthur Mafokate, one of the pioneers of Kwaito in South Africa, who is busy with his own dance show, U Can Do It, on SABC1.
Euphonik (real name Themba Nkosi) explains how he landed the gig.
“I met the chief executive of Endemol a few weeks before and we were chatting about random things,” he says. “We were bouncing ideas and stuff, talking about music, and he said we will see if we have any opportunities to work again.”
“And I think his team and he were sold on the idea,” he adds.
On being signed on as a judge alongside Khabonina Qubeka, who replaced Penelope Thloloe in season two, and Emile Jansen, he says, “I don’t know how to dance myself, but I sure as hell know how to make people dance. I see dance moves around the world all the time. I have been meaning to call Khabonina.”
Having caught a few past episodes, Euphonik is familiar with the show and its format.
He says, “I dig the whole reality aspect of the show and the uplifting part where something good happens in these kids’ career paths.”
Euphonik, who has been friends with Mafokate since they worked together on a song, says, “I have been speaking to him quite often in the past two years. I did a song with him and Chomee.
“When I got this gig, I called him and I was like, ‘Bro, I got offered this’. I wanted to know how they are and the show, what’s it like. He was cool and said: ‘Yeah, do it!’”
Although comparisons between Mafokate and Euphonik are par for the course, the DJ makes it clear that he isn’t there to fill the music legend’s shoes.
He says, “I’m not Arthur. I can’t speak for him. I don’t have the same experience as he does. First of all, I am brutally honest – that’s what I bring. I have seen some of the previous tapes. I am not saying the judges aren’t honest.
“To a certain level, I think they tippy-toe around the truth. I want to be the guy who gives constructive criticism. For me, there is no right or wrong. If the move works, that’s it. It is about the whole entertainment value, even if they mess up one sequence.”
Euphonik says he also brings the radio thing and his social media experience to the table.
As for his thoughts on why he, and not Slikour, cracked the nod as judge, Euphonik responds, “I stand in front of thousands of people every weekend and watch them dance. That’s what I do. This is my second TV show. I co-hosted SABC1’s Club Culture with DJ Fresh. This time I judge and give my personal opinion – newfound territory for me. People can ask me about it until they are blue in the face. At the end of the day, e.tv made the final decision.”
Having braved the media circus around his relationship with Bonang M last year, Euphonik says, “It comes with the industry. You have to go through the downs to enjoy the ups. With this show, people will get to see a different side of me. If you had said you wanted to interview me for the sake of interviewing me, I would say ‘no’. That’s not what I am about. People will get to see a vocal side. For me, it’s always about what makes me happy – there is no amount of money you can pay me to do something that I don’t enjoy. I have had opportunities where I could have been a millionaire but I turned it down. My motto is: Live life to the fullest and love what you do!”
New to the judging panel, Euphonik says he plans on stepping up to the plate while also putting his own stamp on his new role.
One of the founding members of hip hop outfit Skwatta Kamp, Siyabonga “Slikour” Metane is also celebrated as a solo artist.
And he is no stranger to the presenting arena or the limelight at awards shows, having co-hosted SABC1’s Jam Alley Crew vs Crew.
Backed by all that street cred and his success as a recording artist, it was his affable personality that sold him for the role.
He says, with admirable humility, “I just take what life offers me. Yeah, I have done some presenting. But I am still learning.”
While he knows he bagged the job, previously filled by the disarming Dalen Lance, he wasn’t aware he was sharing the spotlight with YFM DJ Tumi Voster.
Slikour laughs, “It is good to know, although I was going to find out one way or another. I have always co-presented on previous shows. So it is not new or hard. And I don’t mind the glory or sharing it.”
He wanted to leave his own mark, Slikour says. “There is a bigger energy that I bring in. One of the things with the dancers and the environment is that is how I developed and got to where I am. So I’m more passionate in that regard.”
As co-owner of a record label, he understands the business of talent scouting and grooming.
He says, “I have ushered a lot of talent in the industry. Now I’m doing it for TV.”
Not wanting to give away too much on where things stand on the music front, he admits to writing new music and working on building on that but was not sure whether it would bear fruit as a single or an album.
In the meantime, he is looking forward to making a success of the platform he is being given.
Sassy, sexy and vivacious, Tumi Voster is the full package – on radio and TV.
Step Up or Step Out sees the YFM DJ return to her roots, having been a presenter on YOTV between 2005 and 2009.
Ironically, her TV breakthrough was via SABC1’s Quest4Fame talent search.
On landing the presenter gig, she says, “I just had an audition after getting a call from the Endemol people, was basically given the script and had to deliver it the best way I could.”
Clearly bowled over by her style, I asked her how she feels about being back in front of the camera.
She replied, nonchalantly, “Being on radio, presenting information to the people, I have still been doing that daily.
“My YOTV days taught me a lot about the different styles of presenting. It is like riding a bike once you grasp the foundation.”
“I have been to a couple of auditions as well. So I haven’t been out of practice,” adds Voster.
On getting to work alongside Slikour, she says, “I’m very excited. He is one of the most well-known personalities. Me being on radio, I have a co-host as well. Each and every day, you learn from each other and feed off each other’s energy. That’s great.”
Other than being a “fresh flavour” as a presenter, Voster says viewers can expect great entertainment.
Dalen Lance has been the face of Step Up or Step Out since its inception on e.tv. His charm, youthfulness and wit certainly won viewers over.
So it is jaw-dropping to learn that Lance won’t be hosting the show any more.
While the media may be sniffing around for some serious skandaal… there isn’t any, he insists.
Lance says, “It was a mutual decision. They (e.tv) have changed the timing.
“By now, we would have started shooting.
“Unfortunately, because they started too late, there were scheduling conflicts. It ate into my study time with this being my final year for my Masters of Business Leadership (MBL).”
Lance is on a scholarship after landing among Unisa’s top five students list in the world.
He continues, “I have to finalise my dissertation.
“And I have a lot of work and travel commitments – I couldn’t afford to sideline them.”
Putting his studies first, he also ended his stint on kykNET’s Dagbreek.
He explains, “Although I will miss waking up daily with the South African public, completely leaving the entertainment industry is not an option.
“Presenting will always be my first passion, but the time to focus temporarily on expanding other important areas in my life has arrived.”
• The third season of Step Up or Step Out makes its debut on e.tv on June 23.