My Journey with SA Idols Season 7

The Road to Idols has been long and arduous and it all started in my home province KZN. Yup, I auditioned and that is a long story.

If you want to see how I did at my audition check out:

http://dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=4526&AdCategoryId=0

Durban managed to take 30 of the coveted Golden Tickets to Sun City for theatre week, including Ballito’s Jess Solimene.

She rocks! For those of you who aren’t aware, Jess is a phenomenal  musician.

If you’d like to check out some of her stuff try this:

I hear a likeness to Juliette Lewis in her voice, but not quite as barbaric, more refined. Jess also has several other videos on Youtube so go nuts!

Us Durbanites, or KZN-ites really (I’m a Maritzburger myself) flew up to Sun City for Theatre (a.k.a. Hell) Week where we met all the other Golden Ticketers from across the country.

From Johannesburg Airport on it was a flood of people, names, faces, 80% of which I couldn’t remember if I sat for days on end. The worst part was that I didn’t even meet so many of them. Everything happened so fast that sometimes I wonder if some of it happened at all.

After a bus ride from the airport to Sun City itself there was a long period of admin, the stuff that goes on behind the scenes is sometimes more intense than that you actually get to see. What you don’t see is the amount of work, time and admin that goes on to make this show run smoothly.

We were paired with roommates for the night and were sent off to “chill” before dinner. I got lucky with my first roommate who was Khanya (a fellow KZN-er and, as I understand, a fellow Maritzburger too).

Just so you know, no Khanya was not moving around like a Banshee on speed, the camera on my phone just doesn’t work that well at night. Either way I think this photo is awesome because I feel like it captures her true essence!

After dinner we were each (all 96 of us) assigned a 10 minute slot with a vocal coach to give us a little guidance in how to be ready for the first challenge of Theatre Week. Acapella pop song. Acapella is not such a problem. The real challenge comes from trying to find a pop song that isn’t so overloaded with electronica that there aren’t long gaps of no words that you then have to try and skip over. (I’m just exaggerating. Sometimes they have real instruments in them too.) Some contestants were still going for their time slots after 11pm. Respect guys. I got lucky with 10:30. It’s not so great when you have to get up at 5:30 to be ready for breakfast at 6:30. We had a pretty hectic time regime but we dealt.

The next day was the challenge and we were all freaking out just a little bit. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t feeling totally confident. I hadn’t even really settled on a song choice yet. I was going to go with either Halo by Beyonce or Take a Bow by Rihanna. Either way I wasn’t totally sold on them and was beginning to freak out. But then the most amazing thing happened! (Those of you who watched the show will know this already)

In the theatre we were divided into 2 groups. The one group had received 3 Judge votes while the other had received 4. Then I think I kind of blacked out for a moment from disbelief. All contestants who had received 4 votes had immunity and were exempt from the challenge. I think I was actually waiting for them to tell us they were just kidding. I have never been so grateful for something so random as getting 4 votes in my life before.

While the other group faced one of the most annoying challenges, the rest of us went to The Palace for tea and pastries. Victory tastes sweet dear bloggies. I had my first taste of Darjeeling tea and now I’m a tea snob:)

Unfortunately, sooner rather than later, our tea time was over and we had to go back to the “real world” of the competition. We were reunited with the survivors of the first round a bit later in the afternoon. The judges had been Ruthless…(with a capital R) and we were down to 60 contestants. There were rumours that the next round would probably be a group number and that rumour rang true as we were given an option of 10-ish songs to a) choose from and b) find a group who wanted to do the same song with.

Well, people were bouncing from groups of friends to groups of strangers trying to establish a working combo of people and song. Well I was wandering around trying to find a new group after swapping twice already when I stumbled across Jean-Pierre (from Polokwane) who wanted to do Fat Bottom Girls by Queen. Well, that was my first choice of song so we teamed up and went on the hunt. Somehow (and I honestly don’t remember exactly how it happened) but we got Dene’ Vorster (from Jozi). Now, although we were now a complete group, we had yet to decide on a song that we were all keen on and it seemed that none of us wanted to step up to the decision plate. We kind of chose Need You Now by Lady Antebellum but none of us were really enthusiastic about it. We spoke to our vocal coach and he gave us the lyrics for Fat Bottom Girls as well to look over.

During the time between then and our vocal coaching Dene’ listened to Fat Bottom Girls and said she wanted to do it. I was mostly concerned that she’d never heard it before and I thought it was unfair of us to ask her to learn a brand new song overnight. However, my concerns were unfounded. Dene’ picked the melody up in 2 minutes and from then on we were rocking on like a dream. We rehearsed until about 11 that night before Dene’ and I insisted it was time to call it a night. Jean-Pierre wanted to carry on but (from my years in performance) I know that sometimes a tired body needs rest to allow what it has learnt to sink in. so we resumed our rehearsals in the morning.

What I remember the most of that day is how, after we finished rehearsing and after I had had a shower, when I got into bed my feet started throbbing. we had pretty much been on our feet from about 7 that morning. It was about 15 minutes before they had stopped throbbing enough for me to not notice them that much any more.

The next day flew by so quickly I can barely remember what happened. All I know is that we seemed to get through it unscathed. I’m sorry I’m not being very elaborate here but I truly don’t remember much of that day. I do remember the part where the camera crew came into our room at 6 am while we were still asleep. That sucked. I still had another half hour to sleep. To see the group performance check out this link: http://dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=5941&AdCategoryId=0

After the performances we were left to wait in a room while they made their decisions and came to inform us. Long story short I made it through to the top 33.

The next challenge was a massive surprise and definitely the coolest challenge. We were told we would be performing with The Parlotones!!! I really, really love the Parlotones. They are top of my SA Band list. And then came the pulling the names out of the hat. We would be choosing our songs by pulling them out of a hat and as I stuck my hand in the drum I was holding my breath. There was only one song I really wanted to do. As I pulled out that slip of paper I think my heart stopped beating.

I got it. The one song I wanted to do above all others. I used to play this song in my car at full volume pretending I was singing it with The Parlotones to a packed stadium. Well, Sun City wasn’t a packed Stadium but I think that the fact I got to sing the lead with The Parlotones more than made up for that.

I can’t begin to describe how amazing it felt. While I was singing it I didn’t think about anything else. Not the competition, not the judges, nothing. I was totally in the moment. A dream of mine came true that night. What more can one ask for? I think that just then, I didn’t really care if that’s where it ended. That’s how awesome it was:) To see it (yes another link) go to: http://dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=5985&AdCategoryId=0

Also take a look at: http://dstv.com/mnet/idolsSA/Video/Play.aspx?vid=6180&AdCategoryId=0

because they’re just so damn freaking awesome!

It’s amazing how dreams work. You can wonder when your life is going to really start (even if it’s up to you to do it) and wonder how you are going to achieve those things that you crave when SUDDENLY, they just kick into action. I got 2 dreams in 2 days. I sang with The Parlotones and in the all day elimination extravaganza I made it into the top15!!! I went up there trying not to get excited. I was scared that I was being too sure of myself. I’m not trying to be arrogant, I’m trying to be as honest as possible. I felt like my performances were getting better and better. I felt like Giant Mistake was the pinnacle of my Idols experience so far. I walked into the “Chamber of Judgement” and sat down. Gareth asked me how I thought I did. I couldn’t help the massive grin on my face. I told him I thought I’d done well. He said nothing so I continued and said something like I could be wrong. And I don’t remember what else he said but all I heard was that I’d made the top 15.  I may not have jumped up and down and screamed or cried but inside all my innards were doing a little dance:)

So that’s it for the moment!!! Watch this space!