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In the most brutal day of theatre week history, 66 Idols SA contestants saw their journey to stardom cut short on day one as the judges picked the best from the good.

The open audition for season 17 had seen more than 100 Idols hopefuls make it to theatre week, but the jubilation was short-lived as the pressure took its toll on the contestants. Judges Randall Abrahams, Somizi Mhlongo and Unathi Nkayi made it clear that lukewarm performances were not going be tolerated.

Day one of theatre week comprised of chorus line auditions accompanied by a pianist, with the Idols hopefuls divided according to the song they had selected. The audition songs included Kelly Khumalo’s ‘Uthando’ and Amanda Black’s ‘Separate’.

“Too many people forgot their lyrics and the arrangement of the song,” said Unathi, reflecting on day one of theatre week’s performances. Randall was equally disappointed. He said, “One song, that is all everyone had to learn and yet so many of them failed. If you fail at that, you deserve to go home.”

Fortunately, some contestants managed to impress the judges one more time to make it to the next round. This included Duhlu kaDlamini, Sinovuyo, Faith, Karabo and Siyabonga, who had brought the judges to tears at his initial audition.

The next round proved to be a better day for the remaining contestants. In this round, the class of season 17 got a selection of songs by male and female bands of the 90s and early 2000s.

“It was an interesting challenge as they had to learn the words of songs they possibly have never heard before, as well as learning the choreography. And, they had to do this in 48 hours,” said Somizi.

The first group to appear before the judges consisted of Kevin, Aveesono and Ceejay, singing Dru Hill’s ‘In my bed’. The judges loved their performance, but Kevin was the only one in the group who immediately made it through to the next round.

A similar experience awaited Sia Msizi, Siya and Kwanda. After performing Black Streets ‘Don’t leave me’, Kwanda made it through, while Sia and Siya had to wait a bit longer to know whether they had made it through or not.

Zukisa M, Mike Nash and Athule all made it through to the next round after impressing the judges with their performance of NSYNC’s ‘It’s gonna be me’. Same fate applied to girl group Faith, Andiswa and S’22kile, who performed ‘Independent Woman’ by Destiny’s Child. Somizi said they understood the essence of the girl group.

Unfortunately, the judges did not approve Ziyanda, Zukiswa and Immaculate’s performance of En Vogue’s ‘Don’t let go’, and as a result had to wait to know their fate.

Seemingly, the best performed last. Berry, Sizzy and Tesmine-Robyn also performed ‘Don’t let go’, with the judges in agreement that theirs was the best performance of the round.

With the performances done and dusted, the judges turned to those contestants who were in the “holding room.” There was disappointment and tears as they once again sent some contestants home. The two Siyas, Aveesono, Ceejay and Sinovuyo made it through to the next round.

By the end of day three, 30 contestants had survived the group round and now have one last chance to prove to the judges they have what it takes to make it to the top 16 so Idols SA, season 17.

Idols SA season 17 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 17h30.


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