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Idols SA Top 17 Group One sets the bar high

Idols SA

On Sunday night, Mzansi got a taste of the excellence they can expect to see over the next few weeks as the Top 17 compete to be the South African Idol for 2019.

Season 15 has come with some pretty interesting twists. For the first time in Idols history – we have a Top 17 instead of Top 16. And in two weeks, SEVEN contestants will be eliminated from the show. So, Group One of the Top 17 really needed to bring their A-game to ensure their spot in the Top 10.

Sunday night’s  theme was “Trending”, so the contestants had to sing songs that have set social media on fire over the past few years.

From Mpumalanga-born Sizwe Hlatshwayo to Capetonian Xola Toto, the contestants wowed the judges who were not short on compliments. There were even two standing ovations from Somizi Mhlongo – one for KwaZulu-Natal’s Mmangaliso Gumbi and the other for twin Virginia Qwabe.

Mmangaliso travelled 550km to get to this point in the competition and tonight proved it was all worth it with her performance of Mlindo’s Egoli. Randall Abrahams made up for all the times he said “no” by giving her three yesses and Unathi Nkayi was thrilled by her performance.

Virginia’s rendition of Kelly Khumalo’s Themba prompted Somizi to call her the perfect star. Unathi said she was an authentically South African performer who was not afraid to be authentic, while Randall commented she showed just what the guys were up against.

Other performances that got the crowds wild with cheering were Virginia’s twin, Viggy, whose performance of Zahara’s Mgodi moved Unathi to tears.

Nolo Seodisha, who sang Talk by Khalid also got kudos from the judges. While Randall said Nolo was probably the best of the male contestants, he wondered whether he really wanted to win enough.

But that is not to say the guys did not have their moments, with Sizwe, the first contestant of the night, generally impressing the judges with Tigi by Sands. Somizi did not think much of his dance moves, but he said his voice gave him goosebumps. Unathi thanked him for giving the song deeper meaning.

The evening ended on a high note, with Xola setting the stage on fire with Black Coffee’s hit Come with Me (You Set My World on Fire). All the judges were unanimous in their compliments, saying she exuded confidence and sang like a seasoned performer.

Voting has started and the five contestants with the most votes automatically get into the Top 10. Next week, the four contestants with the most votes will also secure their place in the Top 10, with one spot being reserved for the wildcard entry – the contestant from either week who get the next highest number of votes.

Sunday Night’s Top 17 performers and their songs

Sizwe Hlatshwayo: Tigi – Sands

Dinky Kunene: Get you – Daniel Caesar

Mmangaliso Gumbi: Egoli – Mlindo

Louise Nichols:  Without Me – Halsey

Andy Keys: Girls Like You – Maroon 5, featuring Cardi B

Virginia Qwabe:  Themba – Kelly Khumalo

Viggy Qwabe: Mgodi – Zahara

Nolo Seodisha: Talk – Khalid

Xola Toto: Come with Me (You Set My World on Fire) – Black Coffee


Idols SA season 15 is available on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 17h00. For more information visit our website:

You can also join the Idols SA conversation via social media on… Facebook: Idols South Africa ( , Twitter: @IdolsSA #IdolsSA Instagram: @IdolsSA

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende