For the first time in the show's history, Mzansi Magic has become the exclusive home to Idols, having parted ways with M-Net.
To celebrate the move, Mzansi Magic opened the doors to the newly revamped Wild Coast Sun's theatre for the gruelling Theatre Week, allowing friends, family, fans and Idols supporters.
It wouldn't be Idols without the melodrama and this year delivers on the tears, the tantrums, the excitement and the good (and not so good) singing voices.
The same team of judges from last season return, in their defined roles: Randall Abrahams' caustic tongue, Unathi Msengana's river of tears, Gareth Cliff's deadpan critique and Somizi Mhlongo's effervescent personality and tongue twisting terminology.
This season the show auditioned close to 10,000 aspirant singers in four cities over a cross-country audition tour, endured long hours of anxiety and rehearsals during Theatre Week, and finally whittled down the singers to the 16 who will do battle in the live broadcasts.
Auditions began in Durban at the Playhouse on Saturday 30 January, 2016. They moved to Pretoria the following weekend and up next was the Johannesburg phase at Carnival City on 28 February. The last leg of auditions concluded in Cape Town at Grand West Entertainment World on 5 March.
Gareth Cliff Controversy
Having been a judge on the show since Season 2, Gareth Cliff was fired from the show in January 2016 by M-Net, after he posted a tweet in response to the Penny Sparrow racism incident. He submitted an urgent application to be reinstated as a judge and to prevent auditions continuing without his involvement as a judge.
According to M-Net, a meeting was held with Cliff on 8 January, 2016 where it was explained to him that in light of his public statements, M-Net had taken the decision to no longer include him as a judge on the show.
He was offered the opportunity to issue a joint statement with M-Net in order to voluntarily step down from the show, which he declined. M-Net issued its own statement later that night informing the public of its decision to fire him.
M-Net concluded an answering affidavit with the following statement: "M-Net stands by its decision to terminate its relationship with Cliff. We are firmly of the view that this decision was the correct one for Idols SA and M-Net. The statements made by Cliff demonstrated a clear lack of empathy for the history of South Africa and M-Net did not wish to participate in fueling further racially based divisions in the country."
Cliff, however, won his role on the show back after the South Gauteng High Court ruled in his favour. M-Net released the following statement after reinstating Cliff:
"As ordered by the South Gauteng High Court, and as a good corporate citizen that respects the rule of law, M-Net will reinstate Mr Cliff as a judge on season 12 of Idols SA.
"We believe we did the right thing by taking Mr Cliff off the show.
"We remain committed to using our platforms to contribute to a united South Africa."
Having been an M-Net staple since its inception, Idols became exclusive to Mzansi Magic from Season 12.