Idols SA still popular despite Cliff race drama

By Drum Digital
08 February 2016

Auditions for Idols SA season 12 prove that the show, despite the negative publicity it received recently, was still high in demand.

By Siyabonga Ngcangisa 

This was proved by the scores of hopeful future stars lined up outside Pretoria’s State Theatre over the weekend. Close to 3 000 hopefuls stretched their vocal chords during the Pretoria leg of the show.

Surprisingly, the racial drama surrounding judge Gareth Cliff, his suspension and his nasty legal battle with the show’s broadcaster, M-Net, has not stopped aspiring singers from following their Idols dreams.

There was a singing chef, musical theatre students, fashionistas, bandmates and a clique of Christian worship sisters. The characters ranged from the quirky to the reflective, with a healthy dose of ridiculous thrown in.

Flamboyant fashionista and hairstylist Vuyo Bene saved money to travel to Pretoria from East London in the hopes of making it on reality TV. Calling himself “Dr Mpandla”, the charismatic Bene said he “kills” fashion. “That’s why I’m a doctor of fashion disaster!”

Limpopo motivational speaker Thato Mokoena came to the audition to “prove something” to herself. The 24-year-old entrepreneur said she was auditioning for the second time. “I’m ready for this!” she declared.

However, anxiety and exhaustion was etched on some of the contestants’ faces.

Nokuthula Mncube (22) from Vereeniging arrived at 7.30 pm the night before the auditions and slept outside, while other Idols wannabes camped outside the State Theatre from 4.30 am. Some even travelled from as far as the Free State and the Eastern Cape.

Contestants have already given us a hint of what their favourite tunes are to sing to the panel of judges: Jennifer Hudson’s One Night Only, Nathi Mankayi’s Nomvula and anything by John Legend.

Meanwhile, Muvhango producer Duma kaNdlovu took a swipe at black people for supporting the show, despite Cliff’s defence of Durban estate agent Penny Sparrow who called black people on Durban’s beaches in December “monkeys”.

The next round of auditions take place at Joburg’s Carnival City on Sunday 28 February before rounding off at Grandwest Entertainment World in Cape Town on Saturday 5 March.

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