Idols 6: The Formula

2010-07-19 08:10

It's back! Even a disastrous voting scandal couldn't keep this overdose of reality out of your TV cable. Get your mute button ready and let's go.

The first, most obvious change to the sixth season is judge Dave Thompson's absence. He is currently engaging his ears with the bleating of sheep in Australia. Well, we're sure there are many who would prefer that sound to Idols...

But he is not missed. He's been replaced with a collection of South African music stars, one for each audition city. Zolani from Freshlyground stood in at the Cape Town auditions. It's amazing how her 'flabby arms' and 'pot belly' keep her so firmly positioned on the fence. Hey, she said it first... Let's just say she's really good at paraphrasing.

Gareth, on the other hand, is sharper, funnier and meaner than ever before. He's the stinger. As one failed contestant remarked: "No one likes Gareth Cliff!" Poor Randall has lost the wannabe Simon Cowell crown to Gareth. He's vowed to try make people like him this season. Whatever he's doing, it's not working yet.

Mara has expanded her offering. Instead of a simple, demure "I love you baby" , now you get a hug and tears at no extra charge. Lucky us.

All these changes within the judging panel really winded some of the contestants. Poor Tracey Lee let one slip as she struggled to remember the artist who sang "How Do I Live". It's okay, honey. That song has been covered so many times, we don't blame you. Watch her audition here. (If the video does not play automatically, try pressing the 'play' button again.)

Not everything has changed, though. Gareth and Randall are still governed by their primary sense - hormonal detection. 21-year-old Adeline received two 'yes' votes the minute her blonde mane swished through the door. She sang a line or two for Mara and Zolani, and her buxom voice sealed her golden ticket. I actually think looks are very important in picking Idols winners. In this year's American Idol, Casey's journey to third place started with him stripping down for judge Kara. Never forget that we're looking for a package here!

This season has taken on many more traits associated with the US version. The depressing back stories, guest artists at results shows and 'celebrity' judges. Okay, so we don't have Neil Patrick Harris, but you get my drift. However, our resident judges are far less irritating. Mara's "baby" talk is nothing compared to Randy Jackson's ridiculous "Yo Dawg, checkit!". And there's no Kara DioGuardi. The Idol gods have heard my prayers. While Gareth may be there for entertainment value more than his musical expertise,  he's a lot more credible than AI's funny judge Ellen Degeneres who just loves everyone too. Mara and Ellen should do lunch.

Let's remember that these are early days. Everyone's trying to impress. M-Net has been ballsy enough to laugh at themselves, with their mascot Gary the Tooth Fairy proclaiming "Maybe this year we'll have THREE winners." It's all fun and games now.  Everyone laughs at the vocally challenged together. But once we get to the big stage and live shows, host Liezel van der Westhuizen will pounce with her giraffe-like stature and Eliza Doolittle diction. Judging from her interactions with the contestants last year, we don't have much hope for witty banter between her and ProVerb, the new co-host.

We do have one small glimmer of hope for a talented winner, though. Elvis Blue. No, it's not his real name. This music teacher from George may have had the help of an emotional story behind his rock star name, but it was his moving Bob Dylan rendition that turned on Mara's waterworks. Watch this name. In last year's audition rounds, we spotted Jason as a front-runner, so trust us on this guy.

Idols is in your face until November. You can tell us how much you hate it below in our comments section, but remember that we'll know you watched.

* If you missed Tracey Lee's fart or Adeline's pretty face, you can catch the repeat on M-Net on Mondays at 16h30. Idols will also be broadcast on MagicWorld (DStv channel 112) every Monday at 16h00, and on M-Net Series (DStv channel 110) every Saturday at 11h00. All auditions are available online. Need more? Get Idols auditions 24/7 on Idols Extra - Channel 199.

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