Amapiano hitmakers, a top 10 reunion and brand-new solo singles: tonight’s Idols SA show was the most spectacular yet, with the top 2 for season 18 being announced as Nozi and Thapelo.

Sadly, it was the end of the Idols SA road for Mpilo.

With over 18.5 million votes cast this week, it brings the season viewer vote tally to an incredible 100 million.

Alongside the Idols SA season 18 crown, next week the winner will walk away with an impressive prize haul: just over R1-million cash, made up of R350,000 in a Standard Bank MyMo account (sponsored by Old Mutual), R300,000 from Spotify and R350,000 from Mzansi Magic; access to a Standard Bank wealth manager; a Toyota Starlet; a fashion voucher from Truworths and their live show outfits, all to the value of R100,000; R85,000 worth of musical equipment from Yamaha; and a recording contract with Kalawa Jazmee Records.

Tonight’s live show at the Heartfelt Arena in Tshwane opened with an electrifying performance from Musa Keys and Konke singing the amapiano hits M’nike and Selema (Po Po). Before the top 2 were announced, the then-top 3 debuted their Kalawa Jazmee-produced solo singles.

Mpilo performed her funky, amapiano-inspired love jam Ngiyazifela, which producer Oskido described as “something different and fresh”.

All three judges were impressed, with Thembi Seete saying: “We all know you can sing, but what blew me away was the choreography, attitude and confidence on stage. You are on another level. What a beautiful song.”

Next, Thapelo performed his up-tempo, December-ready jam Phanda – a song Oskido said he “had to think about which direction to take in”. While not all the judges were fully impressed, JR said he was happy to see Thapelo’s fun side.

About Nozi’s debut solo single Idliso, Oskido said the production team “decided to do more of an Afro-soul track”. The judges praised Nozi’s performance of the catchy heartbreak song, with Somizi Mhlongo saying: “It’s definitely up your alley, you really gave it your heart.”

All three singles are now available for streaming.

The previously eliminated top 7 contestants – CeeJay, Kabelo, Lerato, Noxolo, Tesmin-Robyn, Ty Loner, and Zee – performed the Q-Mark, TpZee, Afriikan Papi and Cloud9ne hit Paris. Season 16 top 5 contestant Ndoni also took the stage, performing Angfuni Omunye.

The top 2 sang for viewer votes for the last time, starting with Thapelo’s take on Hugh Masekela’s Thanayi, before he later performed his song of the season, The Beatles’ Let It Be.

Somizi compared Thapelo to soul legends Patti LaBelle and Phil Perry: “Their vocal affections are to go high. It is natural to them, and so it is to you. So, if someone says you scream or you shout, they are not your target market. It’s fine. Maybe your loud is too expensive for them.”

Nozi took on Mango Groove’s Moments Away, before later performing her song of the season, Jennifer Hudson’s Giving Myself.

JR had this to say: “You can hardly put a foot wrong. I’m a sucker for a female vocalist with a nice range and with colour. Whether you win the competition or not, you have won South Africa’s heart.”

As the final vote of the season, this week’s voting will be extended until Thursday 10 November at 10pm.

Months after thousands auditioned and weeks into the spectacular live shows that have brought us some of the most memorable performances in the show’s history, the Idols SA season 18 finale is finally here.

Before the winner is crowned, next week’s episode will give us a final top 10 performance, as well as guest appearances from award-winning rapper AKA, popular muso Costa Titch, the iconic Oskido, season 17 winner Berry, and African superstar D’Banj.