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Idols: Keeping It Real

2007-09-03 14:24
The Clips
- Duduzile lights up
- Lebogang - One more time
- Luke the Starman
- Centurion village idiots

The Column
Yes, it’s true. Not everything you see on reality TV is real. And if that’s news to you, reality TV is exactly what you deserve.

Why anyone would find this shocking is a mystery. This is Idols we’re talking about. The entire show is fake. The vast majority of the contestants are edited out (this is fair enough though – just turn to the Idols channel on DSTV to find out why), contestants without a snowball’s hope are given way more screen time than necessary, and seriously, what’s the deal with dressing up some bland little poppie and making her audition again? That’s just embarrassing. And sexist too. Notice how they never choose a guy to make over? God knows, the average South African male could use a few fashion pointers far more than the average female.

What’s also interesting is the contempt Ogilvy Johannesburg has shown for the Idols audience in hiring an actor who has already appeared in major movies. But you can see the reasoning here. No problem, they must have thought. How many Idols viewers would actually get up off their arses to go see a movie like Tsotsi? And you could throw in the entire cast of Goodbye Bafana and nobody would be the wiser.

But who cares, anyway? Idols isn’t about reality, it’s about entertainment. It’s just a show, folks, a mere illusion to keep you distracted. Come to accept that fact and you won’t be too horrified the next time you see up the magician’s sleeve. Now let’s move on.

Knysna & Centurion
Knysna is a town with such a serious drinking problem you’d swear it has a university. It’s a twee little dorpie populated by overcharging cottage industry con artists and ageing hippies who will try to sell you junk they made out of driftwood and their own spittle. The best things anyone could say about Knysna are that the oysters are fresh, and it’s not George.

Centurion, on the other hand, is Hell. Not like Hell. It is Hell. Don’t go there. You’ll just end up hating yourself. It’s on the wrong side of the boerewors curtain, and everyone who lives there looks like they tried to eat it.

Just kidding, of course. Neither place is any different from the rest of the country, and the usual slew of contestants showed up at the final part of the first round to prove it. Knysna contributed a fair share of useless brats who threw temper tantrums when the judges showed them the door. Centurion produced a surprising number of teenagers, some of whom didn’t suck. But stars of the show were Stefan and Edu, a pair of future petrol attendants in village idiot hats who sang what appeared to be a lewd Afrikaans drinking song. They were so unbelievably bad they could open for Koolerbox.

And “Cliff Jennings” made his fourth and final attempt, with predictable results. We should be thankful. His exposure as a fake was the best possible way to expose the reality of Idols.

- Chris McEvoy

It’s been only three weeks, and Idols SA has already hit its first major controversy. For those of you who were living under a rock last week, Cliff Jennings, the awful singer who wouldn’t take no for an answer and has now appeared at four auditions, has been exposed as a fake. Apparently, he’s the actor Eduan Van Jaarsveldt, whose credits include the films Tsotsi and Goodbye Bafana, and was hired by ad agency Ogilvy Johannesburg to appear on Idols.

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