Idols SA bids farewell to Randall Abrahams and Unathi Nkayi

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Idols SA confirmed that Abrahams and fellow judge Unathi Nkayi would not be part of season 18 of the talent show which returns on Mzansi Magic mid year. Photo: Mzansi Magic
Idols SA confirmed that Abrahams and fellow judge Unathi Nkayi would not be part of season 18 of the talent show which returns on Mzansi Magic mid year. Photo: Mzansi Magic

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After 17 seasons, the exit of Idols SA judge Randall Abrahams marks the end of an era for the popular singing show.

Idols SA confirmed that Abrahams and fellow judge Unathi Nkayi would not be part of season 18 of the talent show which returns on Mzansi Magic mid year.

“Mzansi Magic is revamping the judging panel for season 18 of Idols SA. The channel will not be renewing Randall Abrahams’ and Unathi Nkayi’s contracts for the upcoming season of the popular singing show,” the channel said in a statement.

 Shirley Adonisi, channel director: local entertainment channels for M-net said: 

We are taking a fresh approach to the judging panel to retain audiences and stay competitive in the Sunday night time slot.

Last week, City Press reported that Nkayi’s contract would not be renewed following her controversial exit from her radio show on Kaya FM after an altercation with her colleague Sizwe Dhlomo.

The channel did not divulge the reasons for Abrahams and Nkayi’s exit. However, sources close to the production revealed that the return of fellow judge Somizi Mhlongo to the show could have led to their departure.

Mhlongo was removed from the show last season after his estranged husband, Mohale Motaung, levelled allegations of abuse against him in a leaked audio recording during their divorce proceedings.

Motaung claimed that Mhlongo physically abused him and, in one incident, chased him with a knife.

Mhlongo denied the allegations, but was taken off air after a backlash from gender-based violence activists and the public. He took a break from several gigs, including as host of popular show The Bridge on Metro FM and as ambassador of sneaker brand Bathu.

READ: Idols SA: Somizi in, Unathi out?

There was a reported falling out between Mhlongo and Nkayi who unfollowed each other on social media.

“It is no secret that Somizi and Unathi cannot work together anymore. So when Somizi was approached to come back Unathi had to go,” the source added. “So the saga with Sizwe [at Kaya] made it easy for them not to renew her contract ... It is not clear why Randall left.

“He is a very good person to work with, never gives anyone trouble, knows his job. His exit was just long overdue though.”

Abrahams has been a judge on Idols SA for 17 seasons while Nkayi lasted 10 seasons.

Adonisi added: “Mzansi Magic would like to thank both Randall and Unathi for their contribution to discovering new talent and launching the careers of so many. We salute these great icons of South African entertainment and thank them both for a great inning on Idols.

“Randall and Unathi have demonstrated high levels of professionalism and made an impact on the South African entertainment scene that will continue to be felt for some time to come. We wish them well in their endeavours.”

City Press understands that the production and the channel have approached several key music industry players to replace the two judges and negotiations are continuing.


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