‘Idols’: Sink or sing as hopefuls flock to uShaka for a shot at the big time

2012-02-13 00:00

A PUMPING party soundtrack and performances by the uShaka Marine World dolphin stars, including the legendary Gambit, helped ease the nerves of this year’s crop of Idols contestants … for a little while at least.

Among those waiting their turn for the first round of judging on Saturday morning were Pietermaritzburg residents Kelly Russell, Anja Schuulst, Gavin Botha and Tessa Rae. Sporting festive hats and holding up a sign that said “Randall, don’t feed me to the sharks”, they were all smiles as they waited to be called on to perform.

Sixteen-year-old Kelly, a pupil at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High, said it had been a dream to perform on Idols since seeing Kelly Clarkson win American Idol.

“I’ve always wanted to try. I’m nervous and excited … I’ve come to have a bit of fun and to see what happens. If I don’t get through this year, then I’ll be come back next year, but I really hope they say yes,” she added.

Sadly, the teenager’s dream was put on hold after the preliminary judges failed to give her one of the coveted green bracelets handed out to those who made it through to round two of the reality show.

Eighteen-year-old Anja, who completed her matric at Voortrekker last year and is planning to head overseas to do au pair work in New York, was more fortunate.

She and her friend Gavin both received green bracelets and the chance to sing again in round two.

Anja said: “I have been singing my whole life. This is the third time I’m doing Idols … third time lucky, I hope. I can’t believe I got through … I’m on cloud nine.”

Two other Maritzburgers who made a successful trip to Durban were Ronayne Isaacs (22) and Farrell Drew (20), who both work at Vacca Matta at the Golden Horse Casino.

After hearing she was through to round two, Isaacs said: “This is my second time auditioning … I chickened out the first time. That was in 2010. The nerves got to me. I’m excited, but I’m prepared for whatever happens. Fate is fate.”

Another happy contestant was 17-year-old Cimberlea van Vreden, who lives in Glenwood and is a matric pupil at Durban Girls’ High.

The teenager was the very first person to face the judges on Saturday morning, clad in colourful tie-dye and clutching a didgeridoo, which she said was the only instrument she could play without needing sheet music.

After performing Seether’s Broken, she earned a coveted green bangle, and said she was looking forward to facing the main judges.

“I really enjoy singing and thought I’d try Idols because it would be an experience,” she added.

Pearl Mahlasela, an electrical engineering student from Mpumalanga, was also wreathed in smiles. Showing off her green bangle, she said it was the first time she’d entered Idols.

“I did it for my mum. I’m really shocked that I got through … maybe they put me through for the wooden mic, who knows?” she added.

During the two-day auditions at the weekend, contestants, some of whom travelled from Utrecht and Colesburg, had to perform for a panel which included both musicians and television professionals. But they didn’t face the main judges — that ordeal is still to come.

The Idols bandwagon returns to uShaka Marine World on March 6, which is when the wannabes will audition in the hopes of receiving their ticket to Sun City and a possible place in the finals.

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