Idols: Pop Pity Party in Polokwane

2011-06-13 07:03
So you think Gareth Cliff is shameless in his harsh criticism of Idols hopefuls? He's got nothing on Yvonne Chaka Chaka. This lady's got a knack for delivering straight-faced, hilarious thruths without flinching.

Chaka Chaka joined Gareth, new judge Unathi and resident grouch Randall at Idols' first visit to Polokwane in the Limpopo province.

Here are some of her more memorable gems:

"I don't dig you darling"
After Candy performed his own composition entitled Digging Me.

"I just love your outfit"
ie. I don’t love anything else. Yvonne tried to let ABBA fan Pierre Callitz down gently.

Despite her comedic moments, Yvonne was mostly unemotional, honest and utterly graceful. A true professional.

Last week Cliff was dealt a public tongue-lashing from the ANCYL in Limpopo after reportedly saying the province was "talentless". But in the selection of auditions Idols viewers saw this week Gareth was nothing but polite and accommodating.

Take 21-year-old Kenton Govender who claims to be South Africa's biggest Coldplay fan. (Interestingly this was shot before the announcement of Coldplay’s tour to SA.) While entertaining the judges and us with his sharp knowledge of Coldplay lyrics, he had an opportunity to show off what he's really good at, even if it's not singing. 

However, even if Gareth had ragged on the province for a lack of talent, let’s never forget this is a TV show. People volunteer their time, talent and egos at the risk of it all being crushed. The show will deliver that which garners the most interest – good or bad. This is NOT a tourism doccie for any province.

Yvonne showed this audition process shouldn’t be about praise or criticism – not at this stage anyway – but rather a simple gauging of where the talent is in the competition.

After a few too many disastrous auditions the judges had been worn down. In steps Jessica singing a decent rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel, but it was nothing more special than your daily Groupon mailer. So she passed the more flexible bar and walked away with one of the ten golden tickets handed out in the province.

And that's the first step on the road to being known as "that chick from Idols" instead of starting a career. While this show manages to gain momentum out of all publicity – good and bad – lowering the already shaky talent bar is not going to do it any favours.

That's why these shows need people like Simon Cowell and to a lesser extent Randall Abrahams. As soon as feelings, politics and desperation get in the way, it’s nothing more than a pop pity party.

New judge Unathi may try to straddle the line between kind and fair but seeing her and Gareth join in song to mock an under par contestant shows she’s just as susceptible to the allure of ridiculing others.

So another episode of Idols has come and gone leaving only a snotty trail of crushed dreams in its wake. That’s what this business comes down to: The sorting, priming and packaging of egos.

Guest judge Yvonne Chaka Chaka teaches Gareth Cliff a thing or two about "constructive criticism" at the Polokwane auditions.
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