Johannesburg - Born into the entertainment industry, there's no doubt that Somizi Mhlongo has showbiz in his blood. Somizi was just four-years-old when he hit the road with his family, travelling across the country with his actress mom, Mary Twala and late father, well-known comedian, Ndaba Mhlongo.
At nine-year's old he was cast as a presenter on a children's TV show, and at just 14 he was cast as the narrator on the world famous production, Sarafina.
Later evolving primarily into a dancer and choreographer, Somizi's work soon became recognised on the world stage after working on the Miss SA pageant for over ten years, the Confederations Cup and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
And although Somizi has certainly made a name for himself in the entertainment industry, it was perhaps his role as a judge on the 11th season of Idols South Africa that cemented his name into households across the country.
His outrageous personality, bling outfits and his notorious 'Whoo Shem' have been credited with bringing life back into the signing competition. Just one look at the numbers seems to reflect this. M-Net has confirmed that season 11 of the show has been the most successful season to date, with a combined viewership on Mzansi Magic and M-Net increasing by a massive 29% as compared to the previous year. Season 11 also generated over 78 millions votes as opposed to season ten's record of 24.3 million votes.
While the judging panel for season 11 has yet to be confirmed, there has been tons of speculation around possible changes. Last year it was reported that Unathi Msengana may not be on the panel this year, with rumours of a 'surprise' judge. M-Net has refused to comment on the speculation, only saying that the panel had not yet been finalised. With speculation growing in the lead-up to the auditions to be held on 30 January, The Juice understands that judges do have their contracts and Gareth Cliff is amongst those who will be returning.
As for Somizi, well, he's a given, right?
"Somizi was a fantastic addition to the Idols judging panel. As we predicted at the beginning of the series, he brought plenty of razzmatazz to the show. People loved his passion, crazy comments and neologisms which sparked thousands of comments on social media. The chemistry between him and the other judges also resulted in great television and in addition to all of this, viewers and contestants alike valued his insight into what it means to be a great performer. Somizi definitely contributed to the success off Idols SA Season 11 alongside the remarkable talent of this season’s contestants and the great production values of the show," says M-Net's head of publicity, Lani Lombard.
So, as we wait to hear just who will be joining him, it's safe to say that he has wormed his way into our hearts and life just wouldn't be complete without Somizi on our TV screens. Otherwise whoo shem for all of us.