KZN’s Idols singer out, not down

2011-09-03 00:00

“YOU’RE here! You’re really here!” exclaims Erin Fourie as I arrive at the door of the Idols house in Northcliff, Johnnesburg. She gives me a hug and there’s a sense of relief from her, as if my being there offers some reality from some kind of crazy dream … and I get a small sense of what her life has been like as she takes me through the mansion that houses the Idols contestants.

It’s after the results show, where Erin and Dene Vorster garnered the fewest votes. She’s out of the competition, but she’s got that usual glint in her eye and spring in her step as she shows me around the mansion with room for 15 contestants. It’s a far cry from where she and I know to be home, and as we sit down next to the pool outside, I ask what she’s looking forward to about getting home.

“The beach!” she says. But surely she’ll miss the Idols experience? “Not really,” she says. “It’s harder than most people think it is.”

A typical day is 10 am to 5 pm, constantly rehearsing technical and performance aspects of the weekly show. “We’re used to weeks and months of preparation for shows that Peter [Mitchell] directs, but this three or four practices, tops,” she says.

Hair and make-up takes up a lot of the time in between each contestant rehearsing their performance, and the night before requires a full dress rehearsal to make sure all aspects of the production are tight.

When I point out that the urge to watch Idols isn’t that intense back home in KZN now that she’s out of the competition, she is, as always, quick to deflect the attention off herself. “No you must!” she says. “Find another favourite and get behind them.”

She is as self-effacing as always, and while she admits to having enjoyed the big stage and the attention, she points out just how ruthless some voices in the public can be.

“There are a lot of mean people out there,” she says. “We read most of what people say about us, even if they think we don’t. Most of the time we just try to ignore it, but it does affect you. Every now and again we say something.”

One particular incident involved comments made on Twitter by a someone called Nick watching Idols.

His tweet read: “Wanna see an example of how black isn’t slimming? #Erin #IdolsSA #SAIdols #WhitePrecious”

Erin replied: “@OrsmNick That’s because I’m fat. Well done for noticing :P”

That started a conversation which eventually ended amicably.

“Sometimes by saying something it does all work out in the end. He did apologise and it ended up with me following him.

“Mark [Haze] has a theory,” she continues. “People out there don’t see us as people. They don’t relate to us as people.

“We do read all the shit they write about us. What a lot of people don’t realise is that it affects their favourites as well, because we’re all in this place together.”

It’s an astute observation, and probably completely understated given the frivolous nature of a pop show like Idols where people can jeer and jest as much as they want.

“While it has been hard, I would have liked to stay. But at the same time, I recognise that what we have been doing is not really my style of music. It’s difficult to show everything you are in two minutes,” she points out.

She’s right. Those who know her know her depth as a person and as a songwriter. So what does the future hold?

“Dunno,” she shrugs. “We’ll just have to see!”

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