Entertainment / Celebs And Viral

Nandipha Pantsi
2 minute read
11 Jul 2015
8:00 am

Idols SA judge Somizi is looking for a real star

Nandipha Pantsi

Every year, thousands of South Africans tune in to watch SA Idols.

Idols SA judges Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana, Somizi Mhlongo and Gareth Cliff. Picture: Supplied

After weeks of poking fun at the wooden mic contestants and voting furiously for our favourites, a winner is crowned. He or she walks away with instant fame, a recording contract for their first album, a car and even some money. The only thing missing from the generous prize package from our country’s biggest talent search competition is a career.

Whatever happened to previous winners Karin Kortje, Dave van Vuuren and Musa Sukwene? After spending weeks on the Idols stage, convincing the judges and the viewers they are the most deserving of being “SA’s next big star”, it seems they just took their prizes, recorded one album and faded into obscurity.

But when the 11th season of SA Idols starts on Sunday, the show’s new judge, Somizi Mhlongo, says he will be looking for “a real star”. “Over the years, Idols winners have had the talent but not the star quality.

AWESOME FOURSOME. Idols SA judges Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana, Somizi Mhlongo and Randall Abrahams.

AWESOME FOURSOME. Idols SA judges Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana, Somizi Mhlongo and
Randall Abrahams.

“I am looking for someone who has a good voice, the right image and who is street smart enough for the entertainment business. Someone with staying power.” That said, Mhlongo says it isn’t Idols SA’s responsibility to make the winning contestant successful.

“Idols is only a platform. As the winning contestant, you can’t sit back, fold your arms and expect the show to do everything for you. The most successful musicians in this country – people such as Cassper Nyovest and K.O started out performing at taxi ranks.

“Winning Idols doesn’t mean you get to skip the hard work that comes with building a loyal fan base. In fact, it means you have to work 10 times harder and make the most of all the publicity you’ve gotten from the show.”

Having been in the entertainment industry for over a decade, the choreographer says he has learned a thing or two about what it takes to have longevity in a precarious career. “As an entertainer, you have to take yourself seriously because you are a business. You have to be disciplined when it comes to perfecting your craft and you must be professional at all times.

HONESTLY SPEAKING. Somizi Mhlongo says Idols SA is not responsible for making the winners successful. Picture: Supplied.

HONESTLY SPEAKING. Somizi Mhlongo says Idols SA is not responsible for making the winners successful. Picture: Supplied.

“I’ve seen a lot of talented musicians lose out on jobs because they have two or three drinks and think they can jump on stage and perform. That is the easiest way to destroy your career.”

Speaking on people who have criticised his ability to judge a singing competition, Mhlongo says: “I’ve been in the entertainment industry for a very long time. Gareth [Cliff] and I are both not in the music industry, but we have an ear for music.”