Yanga and Thato: It’s youngest vs oldest in Idols’ season 14 final face-off

2018-11-13 12:34
Idols SA finalists Thato and Yanga.

Cape Town – It will be youngest versus oldest in the season 14 live finale of Idols on Sunday, 18 November at 17:00 on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) when Yanga Sebetwa (17) will face off against Thato Makape (24) in a hugely compelling climax for the reality singing competition that producers this year couldn't have scripted even if they tried.

While not yet officially announced as renewed for a 15th season, it's virtually 100% guaranteed that Idols will be back for a 15th season in 2019 - on the back of huge ratings and massive, record-setting voting and viewer social media interaction that combined, continues to propel the show into new, stratospheric heights on Sunday evenings and that makes M-Net corner office executives in Randburg smile.

Idols SA finalists Thato and Yanga.

Idols, produced by [SIC] Entertainment, hauled in a staggering and record-breaking 110 million votes so far during the 14th season, with nearly 22 million during the past week – an unbelievable number of votes for a TV show broadcast on any channel – let alone a pay-TV channel.

With a week to go until the end, the 110 million votes so far already far surpassed the 100 million votes there were in total for the 13th season.


Meanwhile the two utterly compelling real-life contestant narratives couldn't be more alluringly perfect for a reality singing competition such as Idols, even if it could be scripted.

With the season 14 live finale looming on the one hand there is Yanga Sebetwa - is the youngest contestant from the top 10 this season. 

From Delft outside Cape Town, Yanga lives just a stone's throw away from the season 13 winner, Paxton Fielies, who has found huge success the past year, continue to sing to sellout crowds and even performed for the queen of Sweden in April

On the other hand there's Thato Makape, is the oldest contestant from the top 10 this season.

From the small town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape, the young barber who left school in Grade 11 to help his sick mom, holds the record for longest traveller to an Idols audition after he journeyed a staggering 1 250km over days – using buses and taxis and all his money – to get to Cape Town for the auditions in February.

Both have their singles out – Yanga with her Scars (All Over Me).


And Thato with his Blow by Blow.



"On all of the aspects of this show, Idols has become this fine-tuned racing car, and every week is a new race and we fine-tune it a little bit more. We learn from that race, and we do a little bit more and do a little bit more," Gavin Wratten, executive producer and director told Channel24 during a sit-down interview.

"Production wise the success of Idols is really just an emulation of experience and saying to ourselves that if we did that, we will look even better; if we did this, if we added that."

"We do try and bring in new tech every season. There's a couple of new light fixtures in the rig, with brighter lights; more intelligent lights, and we're doing some stuff with camera technology as well."

About the jaw-dropping, juggernaut voting results that keep growing week by week, Gavin says "it's one of the most exciting things for me every week".

"The contestants get excited about who's in and who's out. For me, it's like, 'How many votes did we get?' I'm always just blown away".

Thato, Yanga and Proverb.

"If you compare the number of votes Idols gets compared to other shows that have voting it's just astounding and we're miles ahead. It's a rewarding feeling because you're putting in so much hard work, 7 days a week, and the viewers are rewarding us by saying 'Yes, we're enjoying it".

Asked how the 14th season of Idols has been different so far, Gavin Wratten says "I know I say this every year but it really is all about the contestants".

"This was a lovely group. They all get on very well, they are all very young, but they get on very well, they've been a pleasure to have around. They've been easy to work with, and they're also been eager to learn - I think that's such an important part."

"For me it's just about how much they want to work and do this, and how passionate they are, and how willing they are to push themselves. I think sometimes if you're very young, you've got to be careful about the songs that you choose if you're not willing to go to that place, but they've all been incredibly good."

About snagging big-name artists doing surprise guest-performances, the logistically massive overseas jaunt and the live season finale spectacular that year after year constantly raises the bar, Gavin says "I'd like to say it gets easier but it actually doesn't because you're always trying to make it better".

"You push yourself to make it better, so those things that were easy last year they're not going to be easy this year because you're going to be doing them differently. So there are always going to be curveballs."

(Photos supplied: Mzansi Magic)

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