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Show Details

Broadcaster: M-Net DStv 
Show Genre: Reality Competition
Series Premiere: Sunday, February 24, 2002

Show Summary

Idols is a South African reality competition talent show based on the original UK format Pop Idol created by Simon Fuller in which prospective singers around the country audition for the chance to win big prizes and the title of Idols winner.

The show was produced by Fremantle Media (Seasons 1-4), Waterfront Productions in association with M-Net Original Productions (Season 5) and The Nevermachine (since Season 6).

Idols premiered on M-Net on Sunday 24 February, 2002. It later simulcast on DStv's M-Net HD and Mzansi Magic channels. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.

Season 9 premiered on M-Net (simulcast in HD) and Mzansi Magic on Sunday 28 July 2013, at 17h30. New episodes broadcast weekly for the first seven weeks - once live rounds started the Live Results Shows were on Tuesdays at 19h30.

The show ended on Tuesday, 26 November 2012 (the grand finale was on Sunday 24 November and the results show on Tuesday the 26th).

About the Show

The local version of the international smash hit Pop Idol features the same format as overeas, and at its heart a contest to determine the best young singer in South Africa.

As with other international versions, Idols is a singing talent competition which lets the audience decide on the winner. Hopefuls audition in front of three judges, but only a few are give a "Golden Ticket" to go to the next round, usually in Sun City.

After several rounds of Theatre Week, in which the judges whittle the Top 100 down in a series of singing tasks, a group usually a Top 10) is chosen to face the public vote in weekly eliminations.

Once the judges have whittled down the contestants to the finalists, it is up to the audience to phone in and choose who they want to survive to the next round after hearing them perform.

There are typically a number of prizes for the winner, but the big prize is a recording contract and their own CD release. There is also a "Wooden Mic" prize for the contestant deemed the worst singer each season.

Originally broadcast exclusively on M-Net, the show later began simulcasting on Mzansi Magic. In later seasons, a 24-hour dedicated channel was introduced on DStv which screens all of the auditions, including those of people who didn't make the cut.

Idols also later aired on DStv's On Demand service. DStv's mobile users can watch Idols SA on their Drifta of Walka and DStv On Demand offers the shows for its PC users.

Auditions are typically open to South African citizens between the ages of 16 and 30, although the minimum age is sometimes 18. Auditions take place in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, with Soweto added in Season 7. They have also rotated to places like Bloemfontein and Polokwane.

South Africa was the third country to produce Idols, after the UK and Poland.


Dave Thompson left the show after Season 5 and emigrated to Australia. Randall Abrahams, Mara Louw and Gareth Cliff returned for Season 6, accompanied by a guest judge each week.

Mara was replaced for Season 7 by radio DJ Unathi Msengana.


Having presented Seasons 2-4, Colin Moss declined to continue as host of Idols 5, saying he wanted to concentrate on his film career instead.

After an audition process involving Season 1 host Sami Sabiti, SABC3 continuity presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen, Top Billing presenter Janez Vermeiren and YFM jock and TV presenter Pabi Moloi, the new host of Idols was announced as Liezel van der Westhuizen in December, 2008.

Liezel was joined by rapper ProVerb as co-host for Season 6. Liezel left the show during the sixth season and ProVerb became sole host from Season 7.

Season 1: Candy Litchfield, Matthew Stewardson, Sami Sabiti
Season 2: Colin Moss, Letoya Makhene
Season 3: Colin Moss
Season 4: Colin Moss
Season 5: Liezel van der Westhuizen
Season 6: Liezel van der Westhuizen, ProVerb
Season 7: ProVerb
Season 8: ProVerb
Season 9: ProVerb

Past Winners

Season 1: Heinz Winckler
Season 2: Anke Pietrangeli
Season 3: Karen Nortje
Season 4: Jody Abrahams
Season 5: Jason Hartman and Sasha-Lee Davids
Season 6: Elvis Blue
Season 7: David van Vuuren
Season 8: Khaya Mthethwa
Season 9: Musa Sukwene

Afrikaans Idols

In 2006 an Afrikaans version of Idols was produced and aired on DStv's kykNET channel. The winner was Dewald Louw. Click here for TVSA's Afrikaans Idols mini-site.


Season 1

Premiere: 24 February 2002 | Finale: 17 June 2002

Season 2

Premiere: 22 June 2003 | Finale: 16 October 2003

Season 3

Premiere: 31 July 2005 | Finale: 27 November 2005

Afrikaans Idols

Premiere: 28 May 2006 | Finale: 27 August 2006

Season 4

Premiere: 19 August 2007 | Finale: 10 December 2007

Season 5

Premiere: 1 February 2009 | Finale: 3 May 2009

Season 6

Premiere: 18 July 2010 | Finale: 2 November 2010

Season 7

Premiere: 5 June 2011 | Finale: 4 October 2011

Season 8

Premiere: 3 June 2012 | Finale: 2 October 2012

Season 9

Premiere: 28 July 2013 | Finale: 26 November 2013

Main Cast

(For full cast and characters, click Seasons tab at top of page)
Colin Moss
Dave Thompson
Randall Abrahams
Marah Louw
Gareth Cliff
Liezel van der Westhuizen
Candy Litchfield
Matthew Stewardson
Sami Sabiti
Letoya Mangezi
Unathi Msengana

Related Links

- Reality Competition Forum
- Official Site

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