16-year-old hopes it's third time lucky for family in Idols 10

2014-04-20 06:00

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Months before it goes back on the air, Idols is already well under way into filming its tenth season.

Contestants from around the country auditioned in February and March for the chance to make it to Sun City, where the judges whittle down the 80 contestants to a group of 16 or 18 in a series of surprise twists and challenges.

“I think of it as less of a cut than a filtration process, a refinery,” said judge Gareth Cliff. The contestants who make it through will appear live before thousands of South Africans this September.

Olivia Cloud (16) from Joburg is one of these Idols hopefuls battling to make it through the “filtration process”. This is the first year she’s been eligible to audition, but Olivia has long harboured dreams of Idols fame.

“I always said I would wait until I was old enough to audition,” she said. Music runs deep in the Cloud family: her father, Neil, was the drummer for Rabbitt, a chart-topping local rock band in the 1970s, and her sisters Genna (29) and Courtneigh (25) both auditioned for the show in the past.

“My time was very short,” Courtneigh said. She and Genna both auditioned in 2005, sparking the Idols ambition in Olivia. “It’s quite amazing to watch her go through this process.”

Genna reached the top 75.

Olivia is the youngest of four siblings in this “musical family” and has been singing and performing since she was very young. But it is her dream to be on Idols, Courtneigh said, and not the result of familial expectations.

“I want to make it big internationally, but you have to make it big locally first,” Olivia said. As one of the youngest contestants, she’s been focusing on “commitment, focus and hard work” to rise to the top of the competition. But this year, the Idols team is intent on mixing up the process to keep both contestants and viewers on their toes.

“It’s a landmark year. We’ve really had to think outside the box,” said judge and musician Unathi Msengana. She said the “twists and turns” in the upcoming season are a step in the evolution of the show as it works to keep innovating.

For Olivia, experiencing the show as a contestant instead of through her sisters’ stories has been “really interesting”.

“In the end, reality TV is not real at all,” she laughed. “If people could see the behind-the-scenes work, they’d all be shocked.”

Idols Season 10 is slated to go on air in July on M-Net and Mzansi Magic. The current status of the contestants is shrouded in secrecy.

Olivia’s progress in the competition will be revealed as the show develops this winter.

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