Weeks of speculation in the media and by Idols fans on social media about who this year’s Idols judges would be ended in a roar of approval this morning [Saturday, 18 February] when Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff were officially introduced as the Season 8 judges in the Grand Arena at Cape Town’s GrandWest Casino And Entertainment World, where almost two thousand people had gathered to take their shot at Idols glory.
“You will never get a better start at stardom than right here, right now,” a characteristically serious Randall told the aspiring singers. “Make it count!”
But off-stage he had a dire warning: “The first ‘Rolling In The Deep’ I hear, I’m setting fire to the rain,” Randall grumbled, referring to the most-covered artist in this year’s auditions, Adele. “We’re looking for find a good original singer,” he explained. “Looking for ‘the next Whitney’ doesn’t mean we need another Whitney…”
Gareth was equally strict in his advice to this year’s singers. “After eight seasons we’ve gotten to the point now where know exactly what we want,” he said. “We can sort the wheat from the chaff very quickly and we don’t want the also-rans.”
“This is the no-nonsense Idols,” Gareth warned. “Don’t waste my time.”
“I’m more excited than ever to see the wonderful diversity that our country has to offer,” says Idols’s most beautiful judge, Unathi, who is returning for her second season. “I’m even more excited now that it’s my second time and also a little more relaxed,” she says, “and this year I won’t have all those pregnancy hormones running me ragged, so hopefully I’ll be less tearful!”