MEET IDOLS SA TOP 12

Idols SA (Season 19) is the farewell season of the music talent search show after 21 years of giving budding South African singers a platform to showcase their vocal skills. The competition’s final Idol will be determined towards the end of November 2023.
Season 19’s Top 12 finalists were announced during the show’s 6th episode on 12th August 2023. The contestants will do live performances from 19th August 2023 to 4th November 2023. The chosen finalists must ace the live shows to impress the three judges and please viewers, who will decide their fate through voting.
Here are the Top 12 singers in the final season of Idols South Africa

Thando

Thando

Age: 22

Hometown: Orange Farm

Coming from a musical family (both of his parents were singers), Thando describes himself as “a ball of energy”.

He has been dedicated to his craft and passion since deciding to become a singer in grade three. He says music is his calling, but the journey has been a bumpy one, with the muso feeling he has taken two steps back for every step forward. “I believe Idols SA is the greatest platform to launch my career,” he says.

The list of musicians he is inspired by is dominated by former Idols SA contestants: season 16’s Brendon, season 11’s Lloyiso, former winner Karabo and platinum seller Shekhinah. He also admires SAMA nominee Langa Mavuso.

What is Thando bringing to the Idols SA stage? “I’m here to make the audience happy – they are the most important people. I’m going to make sure I leave a mark. I want to be remembered.”

 

Thabo

Thabo

Age: 26

Hometown: Witbank

Bubbly and God-fearing, Thabo simply says when asked why he entered Idols SA: “I just wanted to give it a shot and see what comes out of it.”

Music has been part of who he is for so long that he can’t exactly pinpoint when he started singing. Thabo was bullied in high school because of how he sounded when speaking, and says he decided to instead see his voice as a gift to be embraced.

That gift has seen him open for Joyous Celebration and collaborate with former Idols SA winner Khaya Mthethwa. He also released an album in 2010 and a single in 2019.

Music-wise, he looks up to Kim Burrell, Kelly Khumalo, Brenda Mtambo and Ntokozo Mbambo. In terms of former Idols SA contestants, he is inspired by Mthethwa and season 11’s Lloyiso.

When it comes to his performances, Thabo can’t tell audiences what to expect. “When I get on stage, what happens at that moment is what needs to happen at that moment. I give it my all.”

Sipho

Sipho

Age: 18

Hometown: Johannesburg

Describing himself as “fierce but sensitive”, Sipho says his father discovered his musical talent while he was a pre-schooler, when his teachers would phone home to report on his boisterous behaviour. “The Beyoncé in me came out,” he laughs.

By the time he was in high school, he was well on his way in his musical journey, performing every chance he got, including at his matric dance.

Sipho is driven by fellow artists to hone his craft, and says he hopes the audience will see a performer comfortable taking centre stage. “I’ll make sure that I keep them entertained. In theatre week I only gave 30% of who I am. For the rest of the Idols SA journey, I’m giving 100%,” he says.

He looks up to Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston and admires Chloe Bailey. Season 14 Idols SA winner Yanga is his favourite.

Sipho’s Idols SA journey so far has driven home a message close to his heart: “As long as you believe in what you do, anything can happen.”

Sena

Sena

Age: 28

Hometown: Durban 

About finally entering Idols SA after years of the idea being rooted in her heart, the dynamic Sena says season 19 gave her the push she needed: “Fear of the unknown won’t help anyone.”

Her musical talent was uncovered by accident: she was tidying up her room as a child while singing, thinking she was home alone. Someone heard her and encouraged her to nurture her talent. Since then, she has sung in school choirs and at neighbourhood events, taking every opportunity to sing.

Inspiration-wise, Sena gravitates towards former American Idol contestant Tori Kelly, British singer Kate Stewart and Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey, while Amanda Black is the Idols SA contestant whose journey she looks up to.

Although she’s made it to the top 12, Sena feels she has been holding back and has been a little afraid of her voice. And now, with the live shows here, she says: “I’m out of my shell. If I can give 150% of my voice, that should be good enough.”

Princess

Princess

Age: 24

Hometown: Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga 

Not one to give up easily, Princess has been auditioning for Idols SA since season 8, never making it to the television stages of the competition until now. She says: “I’m proud of myself because I have always wanted to see myself here. I’m grateful.”

She started singing in grade one and has been a singer since: she’s sung everywhere from church to school choirs, spending the past few years making her own music while hoping for a bigger audience. So, the Idols SA platform is the perfect place for her voice to be heard.

Inspired and supported by her family, Princess hopes to achieve recognition on the show. Musically, she is inspired by Adele, Bucie and Lady Zamar, and says she resonates strongly with season 13 winner Paxton.

How does she want viewers to know her? “As a girl who never gives up and stands for what she believes in. A girl who always gives it her best.”

Nkosi

Nkosi

Age: 29

Hometown: Durban

People’s person Nkosi says entering Idols SA has long been one of his biggest dreams. Having previously left the show during season 17’s theatre week, he’s spent the time since working on his craft.

“It was a matter of doing it or dying,” he says about auditioning for season 19.

A seasoned musician, Nkosi started singing around the house as a child, before performing at local weddings and funerals as he got older. He has spent years in various choirs, honing his skills and searching for his musical identity. Even years later, he still wants to grow more.

Nkosi finds inspiration in former Idols SA winners Khaya Mthethwa and Lloyd Cele, and would love to work with producer and musician Afrotraction.

While he says audiences can expect great performances from him, he’s nervous about dancing onstage because it’s not his biggest talent: “But whatever comes my way I will find ways of working around it and delivering my best.”

Niikiey

Niki

Age: 18

Hometown: Vosloorus, Johannesburg

Wise beyond her years, Niki describes herself as a “humble superstar-in-the-making”. Having been made fun of growing up, she’s come to embrace her uniqueness.

She started singing in church aged six, before joining gospel singing groups throughout her youth, eventually branching out into genres such as amapiano. The Idols SA callback came at a perfect time: Niki says she wasn’t sure what her next step in life would be. “I thought, ‘this is God pulling through for me’,” she says.

Stage presence is important to her, and she hopes the show’s audience connects with her when she’s performing. Lebo Sekgobela and Buhlebendalo Mda are the musicians Niki most looks up to, while season 15’s Sneziey is her favourite former Idols SA contestant.

Niki feels that her authenticity and passion for music are what drives her. She originally wanted to be a therapist or chartered accountant, but she knows she is currently on the right path: “I don’t believe that God gave me this gift to just sit around with it.”

Neve

Neve

Age: 22

Hometown: Stellenbosch 

Having entered Idols SA last year, Neve knew she couldn’t let her final chance to be on the show slip through her fingers. “I felt small last year because people can sing” – she says of falling out in the theatre week solo rounds – “but this time I gave my best theatre week”.

The self-described mommy’s girl started singing when she was seven years old. By high school, her musician father was her vocal coach, and she would also play with his band. “Where there was music, I was there,” she says.

Neve

Musically, she looks up to H.E.R. and season 8’s Shekhinah. She is driven by the people who believe in her and says music itself keeps her going.

Neve hopes Idols SA audiences resonate with her positivity and her never-say-die attitude. We can expect some dance moves with Neve’s live performances, as well as lots of confidence – she’ll be giving her all every time. She says: “The moment I take that stage, I’m somebody else.”

Lungi Mthethwa

Age: 24

Hometown: Benoni (based in Johannesburg)

Having made it to the top 29 in season 13, Lungi returned to Idols SA “to prove to myself that I can do this”. This time around, she says she’s choosing to thrive in the pressure rather than wilt beneath it.

Coming from a singing family, Lungi first performed aged seven at church. She spent years in the choir and performed at events such as beauty pageants and weddings, before starting a YouTube channel where she sang covers. But music was always a side focus for her – until now.

Self-described as bubbly and confident, Lungi says audiences can expect her best self. “Music brings out who I am completely, more than anything else. When I’m on stage I feel the most alive. I hope to inspire.”

Season 11’s Lloyiso is the former contestant she looks up to, and musically she is inspired by Adele. What does Lungi hope to achieve on Idols SA? “That the destined opportunities see me. That whatever is meant for me, finds me.”

Lungelo Motaung

Lungelo Motaung

Age: 28

Hometown: Johannesburg (based in Roodepoort)

After her sister sent through Lungi’s Idols SA audition video on her behalf, she realised that it was now or never. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. I’ll never know where this road could have led to,” she says.

Her musical talent began showing around age three when she would belt out Whitney Houston, resulting in her mother supporting her journey throughout.

Describing herself as “complex” and “esoteric”, musically Lungi looks up to Letta Mbulu, Kelly Khumalo, Lalah Hathaway, and Beyoncé. Season 8’s Shekhinah, season 14’s Yanga and season 15’s Xola stand out to her the most.

Music is healing for Lungi, and she hopes to use her voice to facilitate healing in others. What can we expect her to bring to the Idols SA stage? She says: “Expect a show. Expect something beautiful and something honest… When I stand and sing, I am living in my full purpose.”

 

Faith

Faith

Age: 26           

Hometown: Lebowakgomo, Limpopo (based in Pretoria)

Third time’s the charm for Faith when it comes to Idols SA: he first auditioned while in high school, before trying again in season 18, where he made it to the first round of theatre week.

This time he had to choose between an overseas job opportunity and the last chance to try for Idols SA – and now he’s in the top 12. “Making it this far is the best feeling ever. I don’t take it lightly,” he says.

Coming from a musical, pastoral family, it was around age 10 he discovered his voice, and he hasn’t stopped stop singing since. From Sunday choir and playing community functions and weddings, to being in international competitions, he has spent years “growing in music”.

His inspirations range from opera to choral music, while former Idols SA contestants he is inspired by are season 11’s Lloyiso and season 14’s Yanga. When it comes to live performance, audiences can expect Faith to put his heart on the stage. “I’m definitely bringing my A-game. Music, for me, is spiritual,” he says.

Envic

Age: 25

Hometown: Cape Town (based in Grabouw)

Describing himself as an “unpredictable” and “exciting” performer, Envic looks forward to dazzling viewers when he hits the Idols SA stage. He says: “When it comes to song choices, I would like to do stuff that people can connect with.”

The Capetonian has been entering singing contests since primary school. In matric, he won a scholarship to the Cape Music Institute, where he studied for two years and learned from music industry legends such as Tevin Campbell. Musically, he looks up to Luther Vandross, Zonke, Judith Sephuma, and Kelly Khumalo.

Hailing from the same place as Idols SA season 3 winner Karin Kortje, Envic is not just doing this for himself – it’s also about hometown glory. “So many people in my community are rooting for me and proud of me,” he says.

Another former Idols SA contestant who inspires him is season 11’s Amanda Black: “Besides winning, my goal is to build a solid career that will be timeless, just like she has done.”

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