When Mhlongo joined the music show he became the fourth judge alongside veteran judges Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff - they all eventually left at different times with Mhlongo joining a new judging panel.
Since joining “Idols SA” he has won the hearts of millions of people.
In 2021, Mhlongo vacated his judge’s seat after allegations of abuse were levelled against him by his estranged ex-husband, Mohale Motaung.
During that time, M-Net and Mhlongo met to discuss his role on “Idols SA” in light of the allegations made against him and reached a mutual agreement that he would take some time off to deal with his personal circumstances until the matter has been resolved.
His seat was replaced with a celebrity guest judge every week.
The following year it was announced that he would be returning to the show alongside Thembi Seete and Tabure Thabo Bogopa Junior, better known as JR, who replaced Unathi Nkayi and Randall Abrahams whose contracts were not renewed.
Taking to TikTok to share his experience on the show, Mhlongo said he will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be part of it.
“I want to share my experience with ‘SA Idols’ when I started nine years ago. Funny enough I was telling my colleagues from Metro FM this morning that I can boldly stand on a mountain and say that ‘Idols’ is probably the only place that I have worked at for like nine years and I can boldly and proudly say it was a non-toxic environment.
“That place was heaven on earth. It saddens me that I have to speak about it in past tense but everything comes to an end and gives an opportunity for a new beginning or new era,” he said.
“I had the best experience in a working environment in that place. From the channel to the production house to the cast and crew, I have never seen a place where everybody is happy to be there.
“Everyone is happy for one another but the level of respect everyone has for each other. That environment was amazing. Those people have humility.
“For me personally, when I joined Idols I was famous right but when I joined Idols I became super famous. I was a star but I became a superstar. I will give them that credit.
“They took my brand and stardom to another level and I ran with it. Today I am still running with it. I do not think I would be as influential as I am today if it was not for South African Idols and for that I will forever be grateful,” he added.