What goes down at POPSTARS auditions?

2010-09-03 10:02

POPSTARS is back and thousands around the country will be hitting the auditions to be heard.

See photos from the Cape Town auditions here

The first round of auditions kicked off in Durban last weekend, but it was the Cape Town auditions that we managed to sneak into, catching a glimpse of the talented contestants, and the not-so-talented for that matter. The process was brutal, with groups of five standing before the judges, a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer was given and they were dismissed. But what seemed brutal to the contestants, was necessary for the judges, sitting through over 500 hopefuls a day.

“We can’t waste time, there is talent out there and we need to find it” said Judge Kevin Ndubeki, A label manager with EMI records. Ndubeki stepped in for the day as resident judge PJ Powers had to fly off for a concert out of the country.

The judges themselves are certainly not lacking talent.  Azania Ndoro, a popular radio DJ and MC is back on the judging panel for this season of Popstars and has no problem turning people away at the auditions. Her definitive 'no' had the contestants firmly in their places.

The second judge, Zwai Bala has had his own singing success, but more than that he's a songwriter, musical director, teacher  and public speaker who not only knows what he’s looking for in contestants but knows how to get the best out of them, asking the stronger candidates to sing different verses in different ways.

The third judge, PJ Powers, who had to pull out of the Cape Town auditions, is no stranger to South African stages and her musical success over the years stands her in good stead to pick the cream of the crop. 

Queues were snaking around Tygervalley shopping centre on Sunday morning long before registration opened. Clemence Bastiaan (above) was one of the hopefuls who was to audition, with his twin brother accompanying him on the guitar. Clemence, a dedicated member of our local police force, was keen to make his dream come true, but when he finally stood in front of the judges he said "it was hectic, and the nerves and all make it harder".  After a straight no from Azania he thought he was all out of luck, but the other two judges pushed him through, with some stern words of advice for Monday's call back, with Clemence promising "next time I will be better".

Gilbert, a training hairdresser from Mowbray was not so lucky, saying "they just gave me a no, that was it, and I was like 'heck, what are they looking for?' It would have meant a lot for me to go through but I guess I will have to try again next time".

But just what exactly the judges are looking for, no one quite knows yet.  It’s certainly a combination of voice and performance, and I guess that elusive star quality. "Yesterday, the bar was set very high which is why we’ve had so many  nos today but there is always a lot of talent in Cape Town, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of the contestants coming from here’, said Kevin Ndubeki.

If you have what it takes to be the next POPSTAR, then get to the auditions in Johannesburg on 4 and 5 September or Pretoria on 11 and 12 September.

POPSTARS starts on e.tv on Saturday 4 September at 6:05 pm.

Shaky nerves, stern-faced judges and a simple yes or no can make or break your dreams. Here's what happened at the Cape Town POPSTARS auditions...

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