Somgaga – as he is fondly known amongst his many fans – will be the fourth judge alongside veteran Idols SA judges Randall Abrahams, Unathi Msengana and Gareth Cliff for the eleventh season of South Africa’s biggest TV talent competition, it was announced at the first day of auditions today at the State Theatre in Pretoria.
This is the first time since founding judge Dave Thompson left the show at the end of Season 5 (2009) that Idols SA has a four-person Idols panel.
“I literally couldn’t sleep last night!” an excited Somizi said just before he was introduced to the big crowd of wannabe Idols stars, who waited in anticipation to find out who this year’s judges would be. “I’ve never had a wedding but I imagine it feels a little like this. I’ve known about this for about two months already and I didn’t tell a soul,” he continued, “not even Unathi, and we’ve been working on her music video together every day!”
Somizi became a quick favourite with the Idols viewers when he mentored the Top 6 for the Idols SA Season 10 “Showstoppers” episode last year. “Somizi is pure showbiz – he understands what it takes for a performer to really engage an audience, over and above just the music,” Idols SA producer/director Gavin Wratten said today. “That’s why we think his perspective will be an invaluable perspective in the judging process.”
“I will be judging the ‘razzmatazz’,” Somizi explains. “Contestants are warned: from now on a good voice alone isn’t enough anymore – I’m going to want contestants who have showmanship!”
“Gareth, Randall and Unathi are a fantastic judging team,” M-Net Head of Publicity Lani Lombard noted, “but we thought it would be valuable to add some extra ‘zing’ this year with South Africa’s ‘king of bling’.”
Somizi Mhlongo was born into Mzansi showbiz, as the son of the late comedian Ndaba Mhlongo and veteran actress Mary Twala. He has been at the vanguard of South African entertainment for many years, in musical theatre and also as the choreographer of choice for music videos and live productions, including the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards and the Miss South Africa pageant. He has also served as a talent show judge for two seasons of Dance Your Butt Off.
Idols SA Season 11 officially kicked off at the State Theatre in Pretoria this weekend. The next audition session be in Cape Town at the GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World on Saturday 7 February, and thereafter the Idols team will scour talent at The Playhouse in Durban. The KZN auditions take place on Saturday 21 February. The final auditions for Idols SA Season 11 will take place at Carnival City East of Johannesburg on Saturday 1 March.
Contestants should be South African citizens between the ages of 16 and 30 to enterIdols SA 11, and South Africa’s aspiring superstars are urged to remember their ID documents at the auditions. Underage contestants have to be accompanied by their parents.
Follow Idols on Twitter: @IdolsSA or at IdolsSA on WeChat or on Instagram @IdolsSA for audition details.
SA Idols is a co-production between the two pay-television channels M-Net and Mzansi Magic.