After a dramatic showstopper episode last week, tonight’s Idols SA saw season 18 contestants share their truest selves as they sang songs that inspired them, followed by soaring collaborations with MTN Joyous Celebration.

With over 8.5 million viewer votes this week, the top 6 are Mpilo, Noxolo, Nozi, Thapelo, Ty Loner, and Zee. Sadly, it was the end of the road for Kabelo.

Joining the crowd was British boxing icon Chris Eubank, there to witness the best the contestants had to give the full house at Tshwane’s Heartfelt Arena.

Opening the show was Zee, who performed Christina Aguilera’s Hurt, and later, Uzuliphathe Kahle with Joyous. Commenting on the first performance, Somizi Mhlongo said: “You were flawless. Your lower register is insane – you sounded confident and mature.”

Thembi Seete agreed: “You can do any song right now… The second performance injected life into us.” 

JR Bogopa also had high praise for the 18-year-old: “You’re in your element. You’re growing to become the artist that you wanna be.”

Next was Noxolo, who sang Simi’s We Were Here, followed by Joyous’s My Help. Thembi said: “The one thing I admire is how deeply you connect with gospel… For a second I wondered, ‘where am I, am I in church?’” 

Somizi offered advice: “I need you to find something that’s gonna make you memorable. The only thing that’s gonna stand in between you and winning is us remembering Noxolo, because the only time we remember you is when you’re standing in front of us.” 

Ty Loner’s first performance was Michael Jackson’s Rock With You, followed by Who Am I with Joyous.

JR offered constructive criticism: “Over the weeks, we’ve seen you garner a lot of support, but the performances from you this week have become a little gimmicky. I’m not buying what you’re selling – I feel like it’s not necessarily authentic.”

Somizi agreed: “Do you have star quality? 100%. Do you have charisma? 100%. Do you have what it takes to sell records? 150%. But what you need to do from now on is practise your vocals.” 

Nozi performed Jennifer Holliday’s One Night Only, and for her Joyous collab she sang Wenzile. Both performances were lauded by the judges.

“When you sing, you wipe the floor with your heart. You can sing, man!” Somizi said, before giving her his first “Woo-shem!” of the night.

Thembi said: “It’s your night. This is your Sunday. You pay attention to details. You can go high and lose your mind on stage, but the approach you have to any song that you touch is so delicate.”

Mpilo was next to take the stage, singing Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, before performing Joyous’s Ndenzel’ Uncedo.

Thembi said of the first track: “You gave that song an attitude that I enjoyed so much”, before saying she felt that Mpilo was holding back during her second performance.

JR said: “Mpilo, relax. You’ve got nothing to worry about. You’re in control and you’re in charge. You are running this show.” Somizi agreed: “You are one dangerous contestant. You did not move one single inch [while performing], but you moved the entire country.”

Closing out the show was Thapelo, who sang Whitney Houston’s I Look To You, before singing the Joyous track Hallelujah Nkateko.

JR said of the gospel track: “I’ll tell you this for free – this is your genre. When you go and make a success of this genre, stick to it. This is the way you’re going to speak to the world.”

Somizi pretended to search around the judges’ desk for something he had lost, as he said: “Now, wena, I’ve run out of woo-shems. I’m looking for them!”

Thembi threw her hands in the air, simply exclaiming: “I don’t know what else you want us to say!”

Things will only get hotter from here because, as JR said earlier in the show: “This is the crème de la crème – we have the best of the best.”

Tickets to be in the audience for the Idols SA live shows are now on sale on Computicket (https://tickets.computicket.com) at R20 per ticket and R40 for a golden ticket. Performances will take place at Tshwane’s Heartfelt Arena.

Idols SA is on Mzansi Magic, Sundays at 17h00. For more information visit our website: http://www.idolssa.tv. You can also join the Idols SA conversation via social media on Facebook: Idols South Africa (www.facebook.com/IdolsSA), Twitter: @IdolsSA #IdolsSA Instagram: @IdolsSA.