Idols SA season 19's first live show off to a blazing start.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
High emotion, higher notes and blockbuster duets: that's how the first live show of Idols SA season 19 kicked off. The six ladies who are part of the top 12 set the stage ablaze, performing at the Mosaïek Teatro in Johannesburg in front of a spirited 2 500-strong audience.
With their fate now entirely in viewers' hands, the performers sang their hearts out for precious votes by teaming up with former Idols SA winners and finalists, before going at it alone.
Kicking things off was Lungile, who collaborated with season 14 winner Yanga on Not Yet Uhuru by Letta Mbulu. Her solo performance was a rendition of Lloyiso and Langa Mavuso's Inhliziyo.
Thembi Seete called Lungile's performance "a powerful way to start the show", while Somizi Mhlongo said: "You were quite nervous in your first song, but your second one redeemed you to the core. Now I am going to remember you."
Next up was Niikiey, who teamed up with season 11's Mmatema to sing Mmatema's Make a Way, before taking on Zonke's Inhliziyo solo. All judges were unanimous in praise for the 18-year-old.
JR Bogopa said both performances were "outstanding", continuing: "Your second performance showed variation. Your range is incredible." About Niikiey's solo showing, Thembi said: "You can play around with that voice. Do not be scared – relax and enjoy yourself."
The third contestant to take the stage was Neve, who partnered with season 13 winner Paxton for Judy Garland's Somewhere Over the Rainbow, while her solo song was Madison Ryann Ward's Mirror.
Neve received a mixed bag of comments from the judges, with Somizi saying: "You need to be honest with yourself – if the key feels uncomfortable, say so. Your lower range is not that strong. You tend to be swallowed up when you go low."
Thembi, on the other hand, praised Neve: "What stands out is your voice control. You have a soothing, powerful voice."
Next was Lungelo, who collaborated with season 11 winner Karabo to sing his new single, Safe. Her solo showing was Golden by Jill Scott, which left Somizi breathless. He said: "I did not listen to you, I did not judge you – I was part of your first live concert. What you did there was start the competition. You deserve a 'Whoo-shem!"
Sena then took to the stage with season 15’s Lloyiso to sing his track Lonely Without You, before she went it alone on Jessica LM’s Juba Lami. All judges were impressed, with Somizi saying: “If we had scorecards, you would be in the lead. You are a powerhouse."
Wrapping up a spectacular show was Princess, who collaborated with season 9 winner Musa on his hit Xolele, followed by her solo rendition of Rihanna’s Russian Roulette.
JR called her first performance "amazing", saying: "You are a powerhouse vocalist. I cannot wait to see more of you. Congratulations." Somizi called Princess's showing "the performance of the night", giving her a "Whoo-shem!".
Next Saturday the gents (Envic, Faith, Nkosi, Sipho, Thabo, and Thando) will entertain the audience, also singing two songs each and performing duets with tonight’s guest performers when they return.
The winner of Idols SA season 19 will walk away with a record deal from JR's FeelGood Music, a brand-new Toyota Vitz courtesy of Toyota, fashion vouchers and their entire Idols SA wardrobe courtesy of Truworths.
It’s now up to viewers to determine who will make the show's final-ever top 10, to be announced during 2 September's live show.