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SA IDOLS TOP 4 - Tight Horse Race

17 September 2012, 07:46
The competition is coming down the home stretch as the competition gets tighter, season underdogs and bottom 2 sitters Melissa and Monde pick up their socks and perform for their lives in what has been the closest performance night this season.

How did the performances fare? In my opinion these are the rankings, I shall elaborate later in the article1st - Lengoma sung by Khaya2nd - Dominoes sung by Monde3rd - Need You Now sung by Khaya & Melissa4th - Ndawo Yami sung by Tshidi5th   - Indigo Girl sung by Monde6th - Ndihamba Nawe sung by Melissa7th - Think Like A Man sung by Monde & Tshidi 8th - Doo Be Doo sung by Tshidi9th - Lovesick sung by Melissa10th - Blue Eyes sung by Khaya

This week's performances were a lot better than last week, it seems the trip back home gave the contestants that extra fight to drive the competition all the way home.


Melissa was up first this week with Lovesick by The Arrows, I genuinely enjoyed this performance she started the competition very well with this song. She's gotten really comfortable as a performer, as she fills the whole stage with every performance walking up and down and her whoops and all. It was a very consistent performance. In her duet with Khaya, she really kept up with him and sung the song really well and I loved the chemistry between the two as they started apart and finished singing together. Melissa really shines when she's singing vulnerable songs.Her last performance was really good as she got out of her shell and took on Mafikizolo. She was extremely multi-lingual and very hyper in the song, maybe too hyperactive, this song sees her appealing to a broader audience than she has been before and just might be able to get into the top 3.


If Melissa makes it into the top 3, I think her song choices should show-off her full range as a performer. These past weeks she's made a show of strutting around the stage as she performs being more an entertainer than an actual singer so she needs to choose a soft ballad that she can sing while sitting still or moving minimally. One of my favourite performances she's done was with The Bangle's - Eternal Flame where she sung sitting on the piano and let the song do the work. Then pick an uptempo like Beyonce's Sweet Dreams or something intricate to show off her dance moves because no one on the competition can dance like her but at the same time she must remember that it is a singing competition not X-Factor.


This week Monde for me was the top performer. I was really amazed with his first performance of Dominoes. He was using a register in his voice that he has held back the entire competition and gave what I believe is his best performance of the season. He was vulnerable and completely in the song and emotion was completely palpable in this performance.


Monde kept the surprises going in his duet with Tshidi on J. Hud's Think Like A Man where I personally believe that he stole the performance. He took on Ne-yo's role and did Ne-yo a lot of justice with his performance as well as being there for Tshidi with the attitude. The whole season I've felt that Monde's performances have always been quite gimmicky and overly-cliche, performances like R. Kelly's When A Woman Loves and Usher's Scream come to mind, but now I'm starting to see actual performances from Monde. Good on you.In his last performance he tapped into his lower register to deliver Watershed's Indigo Girl which was just as believable as all his other performances tonight and left me nothing to seriously fault.


Monde has a fighting attitude, the man does not give up and what he should do if he makes top 3 is play to his strengths. Monde and Melissa are performers, they can move and they can sing which is Tshidi and Khaya who although are better vocalists struggle with moving. Monde needs to play to his strengths but more importantly needs to show who he is. Of all the contestants left Monde is the one who is most vague as an artist, he travels through genre by genre but does not have a niche. Melissa generally does pop standards and anthems and can be seen with the likes of Rihanna, Jessie J and Rita Ora. Tshidi has presented herself as an Adult Contemporary R&B performer with the likes of Jennifer Hudson and possibly Jill Scott. Khaya also strides in Adult Contemporary niche with John Legend. But Monde is unclear based on the variety of his song choices, he needs to reign it in and show us what he wants to be as a package not just sing week after week in line with the theme.


I see Tshidi being in trouble this week, Tshidi is by far this season's most consistent performer and this is where it just might count against her. Tshidi week after week has been pulling strong performance after strong performance and it looks like she's plateauing as other contestants are upping their game for the showdown. She was beautiful and arresting in Ndawo Yami which is one of the most controlled performances on tonight's show but there was nothing wow about it, it resembled her As performance.In the duet with Monde I felt like she was there in moments but not in the entire performance and I found it very unnecessary for her to dress in practically the same outfit that Jennifer Hudson wore in the music video because all it did for me was compare her to Jennifer Hudson's performance of this song and with this song she paled in comparison to J. Hud while Monde kept up with Ne-yo.Her final performance for me was no different, she gave a strong Tshidi performance but there was nothing new or fresh that was brought to the table in my opinion.


If Tshidi makes top 3, which I hope she will. She needs to find a way to be raw and out of her shell. The one thing she has not done this season which she is yet to do is be vulnerable on stage, she sings songs which require her to have attitude and belt big notes but not necessarily vulnerable. The closest she has come to that was last week's Imagine. I believe next week she needs to pull a Someone Like You or Teach Me How To Be Loved that can give us a real honest and poignant moment to connect on another level with her. Monde did it this week Dominoes, Melissa showed it with Eternal Flame and Khaya showed it in various performances. We need to feel Tshidi's emotion in the song, not just Tshidi singing the song with an attitude.


Last week he pulled the top performance with Otis and continues the wave Zahara. Khaya this week pulled out the best and worst performance of the night in my opinion. Khaya took it up another notch this week with Zahara's Lengoma, he gave us a progressive performance which was authentic from the singing while playing the piano to when he was busting moves on stage. Khaya went through a wave of emotions to pull one of the best performances that he has had this season. He commanded the stage while he danced, even issuing the crowd to pump their fists as he belted out and most importantly looked like he enjoyed it which was missing the last time he danced in Knock You Down. Khaya is really coming into his own as a performer and not just a singer.Khaya was very respectful in his duet with Melissa. Khaya did all that he needed to do, he kept up Melissa's intensity and did not try to outdo her which lead to a very beautiful performance by the two which did both of the contestants justice as oppose to Tshidi and Monde's duet.Khaya closed the show with Blue Eyes which just did not connect with me, I did not find the performance believable. Gareth was wrong when he said Khaya can do anything, yes Khaya sung the song well and tried to pull off the intensity of the song but the fact is Blue Eyes is not Khaya's song to sing as an artist. Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine has a humongous voice and she has previously stated how she would love to sing and produce songs that are more mainstream while talking about Beyonce's Love on Top but the fact is that it's not her song to sing. Khaya was a little too far out of his comfort zone for me this week.

I'm going to repeat myself in saying he needs to play to his strengths and play to what other contestants cannot or have not done. Khaya next week (I'm almost certain he will survive) needs to play a full song on the piano just playing. Khaya amongst all the contestant is the one who connects best with songs so next week he should just go on that stage and play a stripped performance of a love song (play to his female fans) on the piano and let the hearts melt.


To be honest based on this week's performances, I see next week having two guys and one girl in the top 3 based on performances. If it were based on consistency over the season then Monde would be packing his bags but human minds are fickle so Melissa and Tshidi are in the line of fire. But I honestly cannot say who is leaving this week, it truly is a tight horse race to the finale with Khaya inching ahead of the pack
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