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

CityPress - - News - NOMPUMELELO MAGAGULA por­tia.magagula@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: MPUMELELO BUTHELEZI

SUR­VIVAL OF THE FITTEST From left: Idols SA con­tes­tants Thando Mn­gomezulu, Thato Makape and Yanga So­betwa at the Idols house in Jo­han­nes­burg

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