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Idols SA S16 top 3 delivers tipple dose of classics

As viewers ponder who will be the last man or woman standing in two weeks’ time for S16 season of 'Idols SA', the top 3 contestants ensured they leave no stone unturned as they delivered a triple dose of classics from South Africa’s gospel and amapiano greats.

The show kicked off with the remaining four contestants being paired with four of South Africa’s gospel greats for a dose of spiritually uplifting performances which blew away judges and viewers alike.

ZanoThando was the first to perform a duet with South Africa’s queen of gospel, Dr Rebecca Malope. Likewise, the performance of of Malope’s well-known hit ‘Ngegazi Lemvana’ injected the much needed energy, which saw Randall Abrahams, Both Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo-Motaung all totally blown away.  

Unfortunately, though, ZanoThando bowed out of the competition, having failed to gain enough of the 21 million votes cast to guarantee him a spot in the top three.

Brandon was paired with Benjamin Dube for the hit ‘El-Shaddai Adonai’, which Randall described using words once used for American music legend Sam Cooke – “a combination of sandpaper and honey that together was more special than the separate elements”.

Returning later to perform Miguel’s ‘Adorn’, the judges were unanimous that Brandon’s song choice was his strength, but Randall added that it was now less about this than it was about the desire to win.

As far as the judges were concerned tonight, Zama redeemed herself after a few weeks of shaky performances. Her gospel duet with Ntokozo Mbambo, singing ‘In The Shadow’, had Randall declaring it her best performance yet. 

“You opened with restraint ….and killed it at the end,” he said. Moved to tears, Unathi said she knew all along that this is what she is capable of, with Somizi saying she and Ntokozo were a match made in heaven and she had held her own. Her next performance, singing ‘Empini’ by Kelly Khumalo, had Somizi saying she was certainly securing her spot in the finale. 

Zama and Ntokozo

Mr Music rounded off the top three with a brilliant duet with Dr Tumi. Singing ‘Udumo’, the duo impressed the judges with Unathi saying it was his best performance to date, while Somizi said their pairing was genius. “This worked like magic – it was beautiful,” he said.

Mr Music’s second performance –  Adele’s ‘One and Only’ – had the judges gobsmacked, with Somizi describing him as an authentic musician. “You are going to be a super star!” he said. “Now you just have to believe.”

The second half of the show was all about amapiano, with Brandon performing Kabza De Small and Sha Sha’s ‘Why Ngikufela’. This time, the judges were more restrained in their praise, with Unathi only saying “well done” and Randall saying the performance sounded like a record rather than a live performance. Somizi underplayed the performance saying he would still get the votes.

Zama sampled Kabza De Small’s ‘Nia Lo’, with the Randall saying she had been the most individualistic voice of all the women in the competition this year. Meanwhile, Somizi felt it was simply a lazy performance.


Mr Music’s amapiano choice was ‘Tikoloshi’ by Soweto’s Finest, with Somizi saying he would make an amazing finalist as he had worked extremely hard, and would give any contender a run for their money. Randall merely said he comfortable with any two of the top three making it into the finale.

With the top 3 performances now in the bag, the big question is now who will be the last man or woman standing in two weeks’ time. This week, however, will be a big week for the top 3 as they record their first singles with Kalawa Jazmee Records.

Idols SA season 16 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 5pm. For more information visit our website:

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