With only five contestants left in the competition, this week the Idols sang the classics: iconic hits that have been listed by Rolling Stone magazine as the Top 500 songs of all time. Each contestant had to prepare two performances for tonight’s Spectacular and they were aided in their preparation by Freshlyground lead singer, Zolani Mahola.
Kicking off the first round was Monde
, who chose the U2 anthem “One” to open the show. “I think the phrasing and the timing of every word was exactly where it had to be, Monde,” Gareth said approvingly. “But more than all that technical stuff, I felt it was real and I was in that song with you.” His fellow Judge Unathi thought that Monde’s performance was “outstanding”. But unfortunately Randall disagreed. “For a great song you need a great voice and you, I’m going to be honest with you, have a very good voice, but you don’t have a great voice,” he told Monde.Simphiwe
gave a rendition of the Bob Marley classic, “No Woman No Cry” for the first round. Gareth deferred to Unathi for her opinion. “Let’s see if the woman’s crying,” he joked. “You know how to belt out music,” said a disappointed Unathi, “but I wish you could take the lyrical message of the song more seriously.” Gareth agreed with Unathi’s assessment and said for that reason this had been a bad song choice for Simphiwe. Randall said he would not comment on the interpretation of the song, “but you have a tendency to over-sing,” he cautioned. Tshidi
chose the John Lennon classic “Imagine” as her first song. Gareth commented on how important and meaningful this particular song’s lyrics are, and he thought that Tshidi had “done it beautifully”. Unathi said Tshidi made her forget the original artist. “I think you brought a degree of soulfulness to it, but it’s the kind of song you don’t need to show off in,” Randall cautioned. “Often in music it’s what you don’t do that counts more than what you do.”Khaya
selected Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” as his first song. Gareth seemed to weigh his words carefully… “It’s got to be done right…” he mused. “The fact is I didn’t get the sexiness, dude,” he said regretfully. “I’m with G on this one,” Unathi said. “Incredible performance vocally but I wish you could have sung it more from your groin,” she said. “Unfortunately you simply didn’t get under the skin of the song,” Randall criticised. “Singing the words is one thing. Singing the song is another,” he said.Melissa
went with Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”. “None of you should ever choose your own music ever again,” complained Gareth, who insisted that the Judges were not just in a bad mood tonight. “You guys need to focus on the meaning of the song,” Unathi criticised. “We know you can sing. Give us the meaning of the songs and make us feel,” she implored. “For not one second during that song did I believe that anyone had shone some sunshine into your life,” Randall grumbled.
At the end of the first round Gareth admitted that all the performances had been good, technically, but “the only one I thought was ‘in the song’ was Monde,” he said. Unathi also thought Monde took the first round and Randall said it was too close to call. “Everybody oversang and lost the meaning of the song,” he complained. He thought the only Contestant who was in the moment some of the time was Tshidi.
For the second round the songs were selected for the Idols by some of the country’s top radio stations. Monde’s
, second song, Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”, was chosen for him by Kfm in the Cape. Gareth simply gave Monde the thumbs-up. “Good choice,” he complimented the radio station. “I don’t think you’ll be in the Bottom 3,” Unathi predicted. Randall thought this song was a lot more in keeping with Monde’s style. “If you’re with us next week, song choice is going to be critical,” he warned.
Highveld 94.7 in Gauteng chose Bonnie Raitt’s powerful ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as Simphiwe’s
second song of the night. “Simphiwe, I actually believed you!” said a surprised Gareth. “And I think you had the audience eating out of your hand,” he said approvingly. “You were so powerful and yet so still,” Unathi said happily. “Sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about the song,” Randall lectured. “Once again I thought it was over sung, histrionic and heartless,” he said mercilessly.
The song that KZN radio station Gagasi FM chose for Tshidi’s
second performance was the Tina Turner classic, “River Deep, Mountain High”. “Us radio people aren’t as stupid as we look!” a delighted Gareth exclaimed. “I want to thank you because finally I’m really pleased I came tonight,” he said. “That was fun, that was feisty, that was cheeky... that was grrreat!” Unathi raved. And even Randall was happy. “It’s the kind of song that works absolutely for you,” he said. “You went for it and, you know… who dares wins.”
Up in Polokwane, Capricorn FM decided that Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness” would be Khaya’s
second song. Gareth had to wait for the roar of the audience to die down before he could speak. “I didn’t like the song choice because I thought it was going to cost you votes. But you did that right!” Gareth complimented. “It was so beautiful, and so… just... together,” said a beaming Unathi. And Randall thought maybe Khaya shouldn’t ever make his own song choices because the radio station’s choice was so good for him.
And finally, Melissa’s
home radio station Algoa FM decided that she would close the show with another Tina Turner hit, “Proud Mary”. “I never really thought of ‘Proud Mary’ being as sexy as that before!” Gareth smiled. He said Melissa brings a bit of pizzazz to the Top 5. “It was very sexy,” Unathi agreed. But she noticed that there was a moment where Melissa lost focus. “There are four weeks left!” she warned. Randall said that Melissa is a very good pop singer but while the performance as a whole worked tonight, he didn’t think it was a great vocal delivery.
Watch all the performances again here
Remember, voting lines opened at the start of the show and close on Monday (10 September) at 22:00.
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and Mzansi Magic
this Tuesday (11 September) at 19:30 to find out which Contestant will be sent home and catch a performance from local RnB sensation, Loyiso Bala. Remember, entrance to the Mosaïek Theatre on Tuesday nights is free if you want to be there in person.
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