Idols – the fear and the loathing
Was South Africa’s next Idol among the thousands of hopefuls who flocked to the Sandton Convention Centre yesterday?
It will be months before we know, but there was plenty of self-belief radiating from the snaking queue outside the convention centre – even though some wannabe Idols crashed to earth after auditioning and being turned away.
The competition started its first leg of auditions at the convention centre yesterday, but some hopefuls were so eager they had been there since Friday afternoon.
First in the queue was Charlene van Rooyen (27) from Pretoria North, who camped outside the venue from 2pm on Friday to ensure she had a chance to “live my dream”.
“I got here with my friends yesterday. We didn’t sleep at all just waiting to go in for the auditions,” a jubilant Van Rooyen said as she waited for her shot at glory. “For me Idols is like living my biggest dream, using a talent that God gave me since I was three.”
By 8am yesterday, about 2000 people were outside the convention centre’s doors in a queue that stretched around the block of the Sandton CBD.
It wasn’t just Idols in the making in the queue – some familiar and famous faces had come along to offer support.
Miss South Africa runner-up Thuli Sangweni was there to encourage her friend Mpumi.
Sangweni was not ashamed to admit that the pair had jumped the queue to make sure they were closer to the front.
“We got here at 8.30am and the queue was already around the other street, but we decided to walk down to say ‘hi’ to people until we saw a gap and we never left it,” she laughed.
Others present at the Convention Centre were Highveld Stereo’s Whackhead Simpson and Sam Cowen, who were broadcasting live.
Proverb Thekiso, who presents the show, was also there, making his way up and down the queue to offer hugs and advice.
“The trick here is to come nice and early – prepared. And if you have an instrument, have it tuned and just do your best,” said Thekiso.
Former Idols Top 10 contestants Lefa Pike and Crushanda Forbes were there to motivate anxious contestants. “I hope they break a leg and make it to the Top 10,” said Pike, who has just received a recording contract from Universal Music.
“This is a very nerve-wracking phase of the competition. I wish them all luck – they need to stay positive and if they have the talent, go for it,” he said.
By 11am, the queues began to move slowly as groups of 10 were ushered in to see the preliminary judges and then go for the directors’ call.
It was the latter who determined whether hopefuls would go on to strut their stuff in front of judges Randall Abrahams, Gareth Cliff and Unathi Msengana in March.
It wasn’t all good news, of course: at about 11.20am, an angry Van Rooyen stormed out of the audition room flanked by her friends, screaming, “This is bulls***, f**k these people!”
“I went in, and out of 60 people – most of whom could sing – only four were taken into the next round. This is bulls****, Idols is a scam.”
For the rest of February, the show will visit Cape Town, Durban and Soweto, and
air in June.