Bay boasts three singers in Idols top 18

Duncan Reyneke

THREE Port Elizabeth singers have made the top 18 of this year’s Idols. Now, it is up to South Africans to decide whether Jean Huisman, 20, Thabisa Mhlakulwana, 29, and Melissa Allison, 23, have what it takes to go all the way.

The three were chosen from thousands of hopefuls who auditioned hoping for a chance to sing for the Idols title.

Allison, who described herself as “from so many areas in PE” because her family moved often while she grew up, said she spent her free time composing and honing her singing.

“I am the eldest child and have a very musical family.”

Allison – who was given a golden ticket last year but had to turn down the opportunity because she had prior commitments – said she enjoyed singing pop, soul, funk or dance. She said she knew she would make the final rounds.

“I did expect to make it this far, because I believed, had faith, worked hard, prayed and prepared as much as possible.”

Mhlakulwana, who grew up in Kwazakhele with her grandparents, said she was convinced a slip-up early on in her auditions would cost her the Idols title.

“I did not expect I would be here at this stage. Not only because of all the talent South Africa has to offer, but also the fact that I forgot my lyrics on the show,” she said.

“The support has been amazing. People all over have been with me, even during my toughest times on the competition. My family is also wonderful and so understanding.”

Mhlakulwana described her vocal style as more suited to the soul genre.

Huisman, a “20-year-old PE boy from Walmer” who attended Grey High School, developed an early passion for music.

“My favourite style is definitely rock, but I’ve realised that I need to develop versatility in order to be taken seriously. So I’m keen to experiment with genres and singing styles that are out of my comfort zone.”

Auditions for the show began in February, with thousands of hopefuls vying for approval from judges Randall Abrahams, Gareth Cliff and Unathi Msengana.

After an initial phase of countrywide auditions, the entrants were cut down to 89 contestants. From those, the judges first selected 50 singers, then 34.

Usually there are 16 contestants in this final phase, but the judges elected 18 on Sunday evening.

M-Net spokesman Ashmund Martin said yesterday: “During the hellish Idols Theatre Week at Sun City, judge Randall Abrahams made it clear that only the 16 best performers would go to the next round. Yet, in the end, the strict judges decided that the level of talent was so exceptionally high this season that the number had to be upped to18.”

The 18 contestants have been divided into two groups of nine, and will perform at two separate shows on Saturday and Sunday.

The shows will be broadcast on M-Net, M-Net HD and Mzansi Magic on DStv Compact.

Viewers will then be able to vote for their favourites and the eight with the least number of votes will be eliminated.

The top 10 will be announced on July 29, and the winner will be announced in October.

Viewers can cast their votes on the following platforms:

  • Via SMS to 37400, using the unique number of your Idol (R1.50 per SMS – VAS rates apply);

  • Online: (mobile or web), where you can click on the vote link and follow the instructions; and

  • Mxit – simply download the Mxit application onto your phone, and then go to TradePost, Entertainment, M-Net.

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