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Idols 6: The Back Story

2010-07-26 09:34

This is a popularity contest – you all know that, right? I don't get why they make the poor suckers sing if all that matters is your ability to garner tears and 'aaaws'?

I wanted this week's column to be all about Steve Hofmeyr, the guest judge in Durban. I just knew he would say something incensing, hilarious or ridiculous. He did not disappoint in that area. Steve seems as uninformed about music (other than sokkie) as he is about politics, race and everything else he likes to mouth off about.

When contestant Zintle finished her rather accurate, but almost mimicking rendition of an Adele hit, Steve blurted out this gem: "White people can't do that!" Sassy Zintle pointed out that it is indeed a white girl who did it first. Now who's the pampoen, huh?  Just for that she deserved her golden ticket.

I had hoped Steve would be funnier than that. Even his commentary was lame. He picked musical terms from a glossary and applied them willy-nilly to random contestants. He lamented a contestant's 'throaty' quality while he regularly sounds like a male sex-line operator.

The show milked Steve's reputation and tried all the jokes in the book. When Tracey Duvall brought in her daughter Hannah and Gareth asked her to confirm that the child was indeed NOT Steve's, it just reiterated what a forced, cheap production this is becoming.

SA Idols always sucked. But it sucked because most of the singers were hilariously terrible, and those who made it through never really did much with their new-found 'fame'. Now it sucks even more because a) it's a carbon-copy of American Idol and b) it's got nothing to do with the singing anymore.

Prime Zulu is a, uh, prime example. After a sad video montage of how his father could never become a musician because of poverty, he's now flying the flag for the family and after learning to play the guitar in just a few months, he's here to wow the judges. Prime has a good voice, but it was all over the place and he couldn't hold his note without wavering. Even the ever-eloquent Steve was able to realise that he needs training. Will Prime get it through his Idols journey? Not a chance. But he got the golden ticket because of his soppy story. The silent tears on his knees at the end clinched the votes of thousands. Good going, M-Net.

That was at least well done - better than the editing. Throughout the 90 minutes, we supposedly saw  the day's events chronologically. However, there were shots where contestants we've seen perform already are still sitting in the queue. I know it's hard to believe, but your Idols audience is smarter and more observant than you'd imagine. Shock! Horror! I know. Sloppy details like this make me want to watch WWE on instead.

Just like American Idol got edgy this year with Andrew Garcia's gangster family back story, SA Idols also had to follow suit. Too scared to tackle a real SA gangster tale, they settled for recovering alcoholic Shyloh. Sure she'd win the Hillcrest Pub Karaoke finals, but there's nothing intoxicating about her gruff voice. And yes, of course she got a golden ticket with that 'woe is me' card.

No farts, no former wooden mic winners and no real duds showed up in Durban. If they did, we didn't see them. From irritating wannabes to okay, but not great singers, there was nothing remarkable about Durban's auditions. Oh wait, there was one thing. Randall said no to a hot woman in Daisy Dukes. I couldn't believe it either.

To win Idols this year you'll need a sad, desperate tale and a pair of puppy dog eyes.

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