It feels like the tenth season of Idols South Africa started just the other day but we’re already at the Top 16 stage and just about to start with the live shows. The first of the live shows will start next Sunday, August 31st, and will see which six contestants will be eliminated in order to make up the Top 10. But before that all starts, heres who Gareth, Unathi and Randall chose as the Top 16:
Professional backup singer Bongi (23) from Nelspruit famously won her Idols Golden Ticket on her second try this year. Bongi auditioned at the first Idols Season 10 auditions at the Carnival City Casino and Entertainment World on Gauteng’s East Rand, but the judges didn’t like her song, “Stand Up For Love”. So she tried again a few weeks later at the State Theatre in Pretoria with Beyoncé’s “Halo”, and that did the trick. “I am very happy you gave yourself a second chance. Beyoncé herself would bow down to you after this,” judge Unathi Msengana happily praised her in Sun City. Bongi – who has done backup vocals for the likes of Vusi Mahlasela – was planning to study music next year, but now she would rather try to get herself a recording deal.
[Birthdate: 25 September 1990]
Feisty Celine Homan from Gordon’s Bay has rocked the auditions with her Goth looks and unusual voice. Even though she’s known for her rebellious ways, she also has a soft side and an immense passion for horses, the arts and children. Celine says it was her mom who pushed her to enter Idols: “Granddad has many degrees in music and Mom grew up in that world, and wanted me follow in their footsteps. She and granddad have been pushing me ever since I performed on stage with mom at age 7, so of course I rebelled and would have nothing to do with music. Until I discovered rock n roll.”
[Birthdate: 24 January 1997]
“Shanta”, is how you pronounce this willowy drama student’s name. 20-year-old Chante originally hails from eMalahleni but these days she calls the Jacaranda City home where she studies towards her Drama degree at the University of Pretoria. During the first auditions Chante brought her ukulele along – she collects and plays unusual musical instruments – but at the end of her solo performance at Theatre week, Randall called her “a singer’s singer”. She loves folk music and always wanted to be a singer in small, smoky bar.
[Birthdate: 28 November 1993]
24-year-old leggy blonde Demi Lee from Durbanville, who earns her living as a professional singer, landed in Idols Season 10 as an indirect result of a tragedy. “Last year my best friend passed away on the day of the Cape Town auditions and I was too upset to sing,” she explains. “But this year I felt this was my year! I’m doing it for her …” Interestingly, Demi’s full name is “Demi Lee Moore”, but goes by her two first names professionally to avoid comparison with a certain Hollywood actress! When she doesn’t sing, you’ll find the active Demi Lee on a wakeboard, on a quad bike or in the swimming pool.
[Birthdate: 7 December 1989]
The handsome Ivan Roux (24) from Centurion originally achieved success as a hairdresser, but he took the plunge in February this year to set the combs down and start gigging as a full-time professional singer-songwriter. Ivan is a self-taught musician who learned to play the guitar by Googling instructions. “I’m ready to be molded, to be crafted … anything Idols throws at me,” says this aspiring musician, who often finds himself compared to artists like Danny O’ Donoghue from The Script and even Adam Levine from Maroon 5.
[Birthdate: 19 April 1990]
Tall, handsome Kyle believes a healthy body is a great fashion statement – and key to living an energetic, versatile life. He is a chiropractor from Durban, who has also played on the South African national beach soccer team in his day and who also features as a guest artist on Cassper Nyovest’s megahit album, Tsholofelo. Yet the 26-year-old is laid-back about his many achievements. “I’m not one for planning too much – we’ll see where this takes us,” he said modestly after making it to the Top16.
[Birthdate: 6 May 1987]
London’s road to the Top 16 was a long and arduous one. He has auditioned every year since 2008, and never made it past the first round audition until six years of hard work and determination finally payed off in Season 10. Along the way London dropped 36 kilograms to prepare for his big break. “I was on So You Think You Can Dance and all they focused on was my weight, so that spurred me on to cut out sugar, diary and carbs,” he explains. No wonder London knows how to practice mind over matter – he holds a B Soc Psy degree in clinical neuropsychology.
[Birthdate: 13 February 1990]
Lize Mynhardt was more relieved than most contestants when she won her Golden Ticket to Idols Season 10 “Hell Week”, because it got her out of her B. Comm financial management course at the University of Stellenbosch. “My parents said if I make Top 16 I can kick accounting,” she explained. “I don’t like it! That’s why I’m here!” “Logistically I can’t do my degree and Idols, and I want to do Idols and commit to it wholeheartedly,” says this aspiring 21-year-old singer, whom Gareth Cliff described during Theatre Week as “funky and cool and young” and “very, very, very special …”
[Birthdate: 29 January 1993]
It’s hard to believe that the gorgeous blonde Mirandi Smith is already a mother of four! Mirandi got married young, at age 16, and got divorced when she was 23. Still only 26, she now performs as a popular local singer in the Rustenburg area. “I entered Idols because I would really like to use music to reach out other women,” she says. At the auditions the judges praised her tender, soulful performance and during the Theatre Round she wowed the crowd with Riana Nel’s “Dans”, an Afrikaans song she has never heard before. She describes her kind own kind of style as “country-rock, the Mirandi way.”
[Birth date: 4 April 1988]
Will it be two years in a row for Idols and men named “Musa” from eMalahleni? 27-year-old Musa Mashiane is a professional musician and a close friend of the Idols SA Season 9 winner, Musa Sukwene, with whom he performed in an eMalahleni band back in the day with the rather prophetic name of “Choice Assorted”! “Being in Top 16 means things are going to change for me, a struggling musician,” he says. “I call my music Honest Music – it comes from the heart and it’s different.” These days Musa is based in Tembisa as he works to make a name for himself as a musician. And that is also how he met his girlfriend of the past two years, a microbiologist named Thandekile.
[Birthdate: 4 November 1986]
20-year-old Tumi was a first-year Musical Theatre student at the Tshwane University of Technology when she caught the eagle eyes of the Idols judges at this year’s Pretoria auditions. And since that day her confidence as a performer has already increased tenfold – especially after the positive feedback she got from the judges during “Hell Week” at Sun City. Gareth Cliff told her after her group’s performance to please believe in herself a little more, because he does, and Randall Abrahams lectured that she needed to take a good long look in the mirror and ask herself if she thinks she looks like a pop star. “And then next time come out and act like one, because you do,” he told her sternly. And Tumi says that comment has made all the difference. “I looked in the mirror and I thought, ‘if he says it’ …” When she isn’t working hard at becoming the next South African Idol Tumi, who originally hails from Vosloorus, lives with her parents, her three sisters and little brother.
[Birthdate: 24 August 1993]
At only 16 Olivia Cloud is the baby of the Idols Season 10 Top 16, but this Grade 11 scholar from Hyde Park in Johannesburg is already a veteran on the South African music scene. Her father, Neil, was a household name in the late Seventies and early Eighties as the drummer for South Africa’s first supergroup, Rabbitt. “I’ve always loved performing,” says the energetic teenager, who already has her own loyal fan base on YouTube. “I am an actress. I’ve done a play that toured around the country called ‘The Boys from the Ashes’, which was based on my grandfather’s story during the Holocaust – I played my grandfather as a young boy and my sister wrote it and directed.”
[Birthdate: 13 June 1997]
Rowan de Villiers
Even though he’s been singing and performing since his early childhood, athletic and tall Rowan has been happy working as a hockey coach the past few years, and studying towards a teaching degree. “I have loved singing since childhood, but I’ve never pursued it seriously,” he says. In the meantime his coaching career really started to take off, but then this year his girlfriend, Cheyenne, pushed him to enter Idols. “She pointed out that at this point in my life I have nothing to lose,” he says. “’Hell Week’ was an eye-opener for me – it made me realise that I am actually a musician.” The 23-year-old also writes his own music and describes his musical style as “contemporary” – á la Robbie Williams, but with strong lyrics.”
[Birthdate: 7 November 1990]
At 19, sexy siren Roxy McVean is very much a millennial, but she looks like she comes from another era – the cool, retro fifties. Roxy, a second-year music student at COPA in Cape Town, describes her unique look as “Rockabilly pin-up” and she doesn’t like it when people assume that she’s just imitating Amy Winehouse – like Randall Abrahams did during “Hell Week”! “Amy Winehouse is one of my idols but I’m not imitating her,” she says. “My sound as a musician is more like ‘indie–jazz’.” But now that she’s made Top 16 Roxy feels sure that she will be able to handle any genre that Idols throws at her. “That’s what we’ve been doing in college anyway,” she points out. “My challenge is to adapt any genre to my style and my look.”
[Birthdate: 2 April 1994]
29-year-old Vincent Bones’ inspiring life story has touched many South Africans during the audition phase. After his mom and uncle passed away, Vincent left Eldorado Park on a train at the tender age of 12 to become a street kid in Sunnyside. A stint in Boys Town turned his life around and he now works as a church worship leader at the Eagle Christian Centre in Pietermaritzburg, the city where he currently lives with his wife and their baby boy. Vincent describes his musical style as “old-school R&B, retro-soul … I love the old stuff, like Teddy Pendergrass,” he says. “So even if I don’t know the song, I get the meaning behind it and interpret it my own way.”
[Birthdate: 29 October 1984]
It took Vincent Verhoog three tries, but he finally made it all the way through “Hell Week” and into the Idols Top 16. “I’m so in awe of this moment of my life. I’m finally here. I auditioned five times – made it to Sun City three times,” the guy who has been dubbed the show’s emo-man reflected when he finally heard the good news from the judges at Sun City. 25-year-old Vincent, who works as a driver for an industrial supplier, says his approach failed him in previous seasons. “I was making fun and jokes to hide my true feelings,” he says. “And now I’ve given them my true self.” He says after three ‘Hell Weeks’ he has learned that the secret to Idols is to be real, and work really hard. “I learned that the hard way!” he says. He also credits his unfailingly supportive wife of two years, who has encouraged him every step of his difficult way.
[Birthdate: 13 March 1989]
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