Voters splurge for their Idols
Amanda de Lange, Beeld
Johannesburg - "It's in your hands now," viewers are told each week after the Idols contestants have sung their hearts out at the Mosaic Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg.
And some viewers take this "instruction" very seriously when it comes to voting for their favourite Idol.
Debbie Williamson from Strand spends about R1 500 per week, using six different SIM cards and two landlines across all the voting platforms, to vote for her favourite, Jess Yallup.
"I vote on all the platforms and I only vote for Jess," Williamson says.
"It would be pointless to vote for someone else, because that would be taking votes away from Jess. I'm far too loyal anyway."
Williamson thinks Yallup has "everything" that's needed to win the competition, but she feels the judges have it in for the redhead.
"I hope she isn't voted out tomorrow (on Tuesday); at least not if I can help it."
And yes, it is a lot of money, but Williamson feels one can't attach a monetary value to people's dreams. "It's priceless."
Another avid voter is Justine Bishop from Cape Town. However, Bishop and her team of voters have found a way to cast 3 000 votes for only about R480.
"This week we're going to go all-out. We have 15 SIM cards, we vote on MXit and we phone. That's 200 votes per SIM card. If you phone after 20:00, it's 12c per call if you have per-second billing.
"There are six of us. Tonight (Monday night) we're going to have a voting party. We're going to drink Mojitos and cast as many votes as we can."
Bishop says she used to vote for her other favourites as well, but this week each and every vote is going to Yallup, because "I think she's in trouble."
Thuraya Martin, also from Cape Town, is a big fan of Elvis Blue. She says she doesn't know what her votes cost, since she only receives her phone account at the end of the month.
"I vote 200 times with my two SIM cards and I send 200 SMSes. Then I have 3 MXit accounts which gives me another 300 votes, so that's 700 in total."
When asked if she would vote for other participants should her favourite be voted out, Bishop said it would feel like she's "betraying" Yallup.
"I don't know if I'll carry on voting if she's eliminated. Once I have an emotional bond with someone, I'm extremely loyal. If she asks her fans to vote for someone else, I would probably do that."
Williamson says she would vote for someone else if Yallup is eliminated, but probably not with the same amount of dedication. "I'll probably only cast a few votes then," she said.
Lani Lombard, M-Net's corporate communication manager, said the total number of votes cast since the top 14 candidates were announced has increased from about 160 000 in the first results show to about 380 000 last week.
On Monday the total number of votes cast this week was still unknown, but it's expected to be over 400 000.