Idols judges find gems in Cape Town 

By Faeza
20 July 2015

In this week's edition of Idols SA, the auditions moved to the GrandWest Casino and Entertainment Centre, where judges Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana, Somizi Mhlongo and Randall Abrahams met all kinds of weird, wonderful – and terrified – contestants. Many of the wannabe stars were completely traumatised following an unusual encounter with Randall in the holding room, but in the end nothing could hold down the real talent -  the extraordinary singers who might just become South Africa's next singing sensation.

20-year-old Emma Ellis from Port Elizabeth was the first contestant to overcome her nerves sufficiently to walk away with a Golden Ticket – and delivered another Idols first: she is Idols’s very first ever female rugby player! Emma took a gap year after Matriculating at Pearson High School in 2013 to au pair in Philadelphia in the U.S., where she took up rugby. She loved it so much that upon her return to South Africa she immediately joined the Kwazakhele Rugby Union (Kwaru) women's team back in her hometown.

There were raised eyebrows in the audition room when 24-year-old Ruan Grobbelaar from Somerset West walked in looking like a homeless surfer, but Somizi loves a style challenge. “Don’t worry – if you get through our stylist is going to help you,” he reassured Ruan, and fortunately not even Randall judged this book solely by its cover, and Ruan made it through to Theatre Week at Sun City.

But Randall was not able to look past Paarl beauty queen Nadia Herbst’s pretty exterior. At age 21 Nadia is already an experienced pageant veteran, with the Miss Teen Cape Town and Miss Teen Western Cape sashes on her CV, but Idols SA is not a beauty pageant, and one cynical eye-roll from Randall had poor Nadia in tears. But with three yeses from the other judges, she has a chance to prove Randall wrong in the next round.

23-year-old Tebogo Louw made it all the way to Sun City last year in the Season 10 auditions, but he stumbled at the last hurdle and didn’t get into the Top 10. “He’s a perfect example of how Theatre Week can cripple you if you’re not strong,” Somizi noted. “This year I’m going to ‘do me’ and not try something that I’m not, and make sure that the pressure doesn’t get to me,” Tebogo vowed before his Season 11 audition, and it seemed to pay off for him, with three yeses sending him to Sun City for a second chance.

And the same thing happened to 24-year-old Lungisa Xhamela from Langa, who got sent home on the first day of Hell Week last year. Lungisa gave up his studies in medical bioscience at the University of the Western Cape to pursue his musical dreams full-time, for the sake of his two-year-old daughter. “I want her to be proud of me,” he noted, and he is well on his way now with a “yes” from each of the four judges.

Idols Season 11 might just be the year of the singer-songwriter. Last week we saw talented busker John Niel and this week his counterpart from Stellenbosch, Josh Webber (21) impressed the judges with what Unathi called the "coolest audition in the history of Idols." He made up songs for the judges and serenaded Unathi's shoes on the spot.

Next Sunday the auditions will move to The Playhouse Theatre in Durban, followed the following week by the good, the bad, and the ugly at Carnival City on the East Rand. The lucky few who receive a Golden Ticket will then face the music again at Idols SA's grueling Theatre Week, before the Top 16 finally gets to sing for the voting public.

Idols SA Season 11 is screened in HD on M-Net, channel 101, and Mzansi Magic, channel 161, on Dstv. And as always all the auditions will once again be played on the Idols SA Extra channel, channel 199 on DStv, from the time the show's end credits roll.

You can follow all the Idols SA conversations on the official Idols SA Facebook page: ‘Idols South Africa’, on Twitter by following @IdolsSA, or on Instagram by following @IdolsSA. You can also find us on WeChat on the ID “idolssa”, where you can test your knowledge by using the keyword “Quiz”.

For the latest information on Idols SA visit the official website at

The full list of Cape Town Golden Ticket winners who will be at Hell Week in Sun City:

Anelisa Motaung (24) from Port Elizabeth

Braxton Schoor (17) from Goodwood

Earl Deetlefs (26) from Port Elizabeth

Elvira Standili (22) from Worcester

Emma Ellis (20) from Port Elizabeth

Jaco Botha (23) from Fishhoek

Jo-Lene Slingers (24) from George

Josh Webber (21) from Stellenbosch

Lungisa Xhamela (24) from Langa

Marcha Lombard (29) from Swellendam

Matthew Kent (22) from Wynberg

Nadia Herbst (21) from Paarl

Robin Pieters (25) from Grassy Park

Ruan Grobbelaar (24) from Somerset West

Tebogo Louw (23) from Stellenbosch

Thurston Charles (24) from Kensington

Wynand Barnard (26) from Kraaifontein

Article by M-Net