This week's audition episode (Sunday, 11 August) started off with judge Randall Abrahams trying out a new approach after receiving a letter from an Idols fan who urged him and Gareth Cliff to be more “honest, but positive”, like gentle Unathi Msengana. “You did your best, and we appreciate it,” Randall sweetly encouraged the first contestant through the door, 17-year-old Thereso Kgaka, through gritted teeth.
But he couldn’t keep it up – his patience ran out with 30-year old Portia Ziqubu from Durban. Portia received a record 7 ‘no’s’ from Randall when she auditioned in Durban, but adamantly returned, for more punishment. “It sounds like someone dying,” Randall groaned when Portia bravely tried again, and promptly awarded her an eighth ‘no’. Along with Gareth and Unathi’s votes, Portia now boasts a dubious new all-time Idols record of 10 ‘no’ votes in a single season!
This season's first Golden Ticket from the Golden City was handed out to 26-year-old professional singer Sipiwe “Bunny” Majaja, even though Randall voted against her. But the hypercritical Randall did give a ‘yes’ to 26-year-old Musa Sukwene from Witbank, another professional musician, who was Unathi favourite performer of the day.
They will be joined in Sun City by 19-year-old Brenden Ledwaba from Graskop in Mpumalanga, who in addition to singing also plays keyboard, bass guitar and drums, “because the girls like drummers!” he grinned. Unathi agrees: “I’m convinced the ladies at home are screaming,” she gushed over Brenden.
Brenden and the select group of Golden Ticket winners from all over South Africa will battle it out in the most grueling and dramatic phase of any Idols competition: “Hell Week” in Sun City. But before viewers are whisked off to Sun City, there's another special audition episode on the Idols schedule. Next week Sunday, 18 August, we will see the more hilarious, quirky, or goose-bump moments from the audition room.
Season 9 of Idols is a co-production between M-Net and Mzansi Magic and is broadcast on both channels every Sunday night at 17:30. Also tune into the Idols Extra channel, channel 199 on DStv.
Updates and further information can be found on the official Idols Facebook page at “Idols South Africa”, on Twitter @IdolsSA and on the official Idols Season 9 website at www.mnet.co.za/idols.