Like any early teen, Idols SA is going through its own metamorphosis if the first episode of Season 14 is anything to go by. Viewers were welcomed back to South Africa’s most popular singing reality show with a venue change as auditions took place at Durban North Beach Amphitheatre for the first time in its history.
Queues of eager hopefuls snaked around the waterfront and brought vibrant energy against the ocean calm. The pulsating excitement was palpable - even Randall, Unathi and Somizi seemed renewed and rejuvenated as they settled into their seats with guest judge Musa joining them.
Musa, who won season 9 and went on to smell multi-platinum success with his second album Mr Serious, sat comfortably well on the judges’ seat as he revelled sitting on the other side of the table.
As per usual, the province of KwaZulu-Natal did not disappoint. The first contestant got things off in typically authentic KZN style by telling host, Proverb, that she was in it for the money. The jovial judges were so enamoured by her vocal aspiration of following the money, so much so that she received her Golden Ticket for Theatre Week on the spot.
The floodgates were officially opened.
Golden Tickets seemed to fly off the judges’ table as one contestant after the other impressed with their vocal abilities.
Between banshee-like screeching, jumbled lyrical content and song whisperers, Durban became a parade of imitations that left the judges frustrated and some contestants despondent.
Things soon picked up again. The first audition leg also saw an impressive number of teenagers try their hand in music, probably inspired by last season’s winner Paxton, who was 16 when she entered the talent search.
At the end of a long day, Durban produced 24 Golden Tickets who will battle it out later at Theatre Week.
Idols 14 is on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 on Sundays at 17h30.