A day in the lives: IDOLS CONTESTANTS
We spent a day with the Idols SA contestants at their house just to see what they get up to ahead of tonight’s elimination
Time flies when you are having fun, doesn’t it?
We cannot believe that there are only two shows left before the Idols SA grand finale.
Ahead of tonight’s top three show, we spent the day with three of the remaining four contestants to get to know exactly what goes down during the week before we see them perform on the SA State Theatre stage.
We meet a very serious security guard at the gate, who asks us 21 questions to make sure that we are not trespassing. After learning that we have an appointment he lights up and starts smiling. He shows us a spot to park and takes us inside the house. It is quiet inside.
Thando Mngomezulu (19), a first-year media studies student at Boston Media House, is the first contestant we come across. She is lying on the couch, tired from a rehearsal. Next to her is a packet of sweets and marshmallows, and she is glued to her phone with earphones on – watching YouTube videos. She has light make-up on and is clad in black jeans, a black top and a long grey jacket to protect against the slight chill.
Straight from a rehearsal comes in the oldest contestant of season 14, Thato Makape (24), who’s also watching a movie on his cellphone.
Shortly after that we are joined by the youngest contestant, Yanga Sobetwa (17), who seems so energetic and happy to see us that she gives us hugs. Her facebeat is on point and she says she only started to wear make-up when she got on the show.
Unfortunately we could not wait for Basimane Boys “King B” Melato, who was at rehearsals.
Yanga and Thando sit at the table to eat and it’s clear that they have created a strong bond. We loved how they talked to each other – like family, not competitors.
The contestants basically have no lives outside the competition as they are practising or recording most of the time. There is a long list of rules to follow, everything they do is scheduled – from eating to when not to sing in the house. The swimming pool is a nogo area for them and they have only an hour to spend at the mall each week.
“Sometimes we meet our fans and they want to take pictures and while we do that we run out of time and end up not buying all the things we need,” says Yanga, to which the others agree.
“Imagine, who goes to the mall for only one hour? We do not go there to have fun, but to buy what we need,” says Thando.
“But this is teaching us to be disciplined and how to manage time in future. Say, for instance, you have a flight to catch and fans want pictures, you know how to handle the situation,” says Thato.
They rehearse 12 times before the actual show.
“It has been great, but sometimes we get really exhausted. But work is work,” he adds.
For them, a great day is when they get to wake up at 10am because they always have early mornings.
We also got to see the other side of “shy” Thando that we never knew. She is really fun, she talks and laughs when she is free around you. She says she is definitely going back to school to complete her media studies after the competition.
“My plan is to finish my studies and graduate, but I will do music as well.”
She and Yanga were surprised to hear that only two shows are left before the final.
Thando is said to be the one that panics a lot and Yanga is the loudest in the house.
Spending the day with the three contestants was great; we enjoyed their company and getting to know them.
“Oh wow, this was a fun interview, at least we got to laugh,” says Thando as we say our goodbyes.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST From left: Idols SA contestants Thando Mngomezulu, Thato Makape and Yanga Sobetwa at the Idols house in Johannesburg