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Idols SA: Theatre Week will this year be extra special. Here’s why

There's no doubt that Theatre Week will this year be special, as 33 more hopefuls joined 75 others as they advanced to the next big stage of the singing competition, bringing the total number of golden tickets to a record 108.

Joining Randall Abrahams, Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo as a guest judge in this week’s episode of Idols SA S17 was singer Zwai Bala. The award-winning singer, producer and director started his day by heading to the piano to give his fellow judges an impromptu, albeit brief performance.

The real fun began with the first audition of the day. While 30-year-old Sizakele “Mr Siza” from Mthatha performed a rendition of Margaret Singana’s ‘Mama Tembu’s Wedding’ to give judges an upbeat start to the day, his journey to fame ended before it could even start as he couldn’t clinch the coveted golden ticket to theatre week.

However, several other contestants managed to get a golden ticket, including 25-year-old Aviwe Sono “Aveesono” from Centurion, who sung his own composition – securing a full house of nods that prompted host Proverb to declare him an Idols unicorn.

Other clear favourites who made it through were 20-year-old Sinovuyo Mbhele from Ekurhuleni, 27-year-old Amanda “Phindile Morgets” from Pretoria, 23-year-old Capetonian Thulani Ngcwembe and 21-year-old Ashley Marutlulle from Johannesburg.

Another theatre-maker, singer/songwriter Ithana sounded as good as she looked!

It was a narrow escape for Karabo “SongKarabo”, whose nerves got the better of him. The 27-year-old from Pretoria fumbled his audition with his rendition of Giveon’s ‘Heartbreak Anniversary’. Fortunately for him, the judges loved his rich and textured voice, and they decided to give him a shot at theatre week.

That opportunity was not extended to 25-year-old Fhatuwani “Elsie” from Limpopo. Her rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘I was here’ earned her a very quick round of noes. However, she was not the only one to be sent home – 24-year-old Dikeledi Morata from Pretoria, 27-year-old Sarah Thibakhoana from Midrand and 28-year-old Ncebakazi “Anzen” from Pretoria also failed to make the cut.

Three contestants who proved that some experience goes a long way were 18-year-old Mpumelelo “Bulelani” from Heidelberg, 23-year-old Tesmine-Robyn Khanye and 28-year-old Kevin Maduna, both from Johannesburg. They were confident and comfortable in front of the judges and were able to book their spots at theatre week.

As the day ended, it was evident that South Africa has exceptional talent – as judges dished out a total number 108 golden tickets. 

Wrapping up the first round of auditions, the judges said they were impressed with the talent they have seen over the four days of auditions. “For me, I am happy because this year the guys are very strong. There is a lot of diversity and many good singers,” said Unathi.

Somizi concurred, adding that he cannot wait for the coming weeks to see who will make it to the top 10. “It’s a tough call for now, because there are so many potential winners,” he added.

Idols SA season 17 airs at 5.30pm on Sundays on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161). For regular updates, visit

*For previous coverage of Idols SA competition from our gallery, click here!

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