Idols SA 2020 top 8 contestants’ song choice revealed
Our Idols SA 2020 top 8 contestants’ song choices have been revealed.
Be: Billie Eilish – ‘idontwannabeyouanymore’
Be be downtempo this week with a tender song from the preconsciously talented 18-year-old, Billie Eilish and her equally talented brother Finneas. It’s a melancholy tune literally inspired by depression: ‘[It’s] about times I’ve felt this way. The real truth is that depression can happen to anyone no matter who you are or what you have and there is no shame to admitting that you feel this way. It’s a very real thing and should never be ignored or labelled ‘a choice’.* It was the fifth single from her debut EP ‘Don’t Smile at Me’, and Be needs to be vulnerable whilst maintaining its beauty.
Bongi: Zandie Khumalo – ‘Ngiyak’uthanda’
‘All about love’ and local (a switch-up for Bongi), thia song is also a lot slower and more heartfelt than Bongi’s previous choices. Zandie Khumalo is the younger sister of Kelly, with whom she’s has a rather fraught relationship, and this cut is taken from her 2018 debut album ‘Izikhali ZamaNtungwa’, an Afro-soul gem produced by Mojalefa “Mjakes” Thebe, who’s also worked with Zahara, Mzekezeke and Robbie Malinga. A declaration of intent and a staple wedding slow song, Bongi may have to dial back the big and focus on the sincerity.
Brandon: Musa – ‘Angsakwazi’
What’s been great to see in our live shows is the prevalence of songs by former Idols, in this case season 9 winner Musa Sukwene. A much slower and more soulful number than last week’s Bieber track, its gentility should showcase Brandon’s lovely voice. Fun fact: like Bongi’s song, this is co-written and produced by Mojalefa “Mjakes” Thebe, and Robbie Malinga also contributed – and it’s another sincere love song perfect for nuptials.
Jooma: Masego – ‘Lady Lady’
So far, new kids equals slow love songs this week, although this one has the swing of nu-soul and jazz, drawing parallels with Raphael Saadiq. It was the title track of the Jamaican’s 2018 debut album, a mediation on strong women that he described stylistically as ‘TrapHouse Jazz’; Pitchfork even made comparisons to 80’s ‘quiet storm’ R&B. The record earned praise for its versatility, and if Jooma pulls this off similar plaudits could be coming his way.
Mr Music: Sjava & DJ Maphorisa ft. Howard – ‘Ngempela’
More Sjava, more DJ Maphorisa! The contribution of the latter lends this track a minor amapiano vibe, but it’s minimal, dotted with mbaqanga guitar and Sjava and Howard’s fierce and febrile Mzansi voices. Another laidback and profound love song, it earned a SAMA nomination for Collaboration of the Year, and considering how well Mr Music did with the Sun-El Musician and Ami Faku collaboration, this tune could work wonders for him.
Ndoni: Cici – ‘Inyanga’
Ndoni earned praise for her song choice last week, an Amanda Black number, so going local again could be a smart move. ‘Inyanga’ is a standalone 2020 song that’s more upbeat and vibey for Cici, but it’s still tender, with a restrained trap beat and sparse instrumentation that centre the voice. A love-filled tune in which the songstress expresses how much she misses a lover she hasn’t seen in months – hello lockdown! – it demands some earnestness from Ndoni, which she has already delivered on her version of ‘Fast Car’.
Ntokozo: H.E.R – ‘Focus’
A plea to be seen, ‘Focus’ was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B song (it lost to Ella Maai’s ‘Boo’d Up’, performed last week by Be). Sitting just short of 100 million YouTube views, it should certainly be familiar, ‘a lovely jam’ as Ntokozo says, and while she’s addressing it to ‘the male fella’, the track – a ‘baby-making playlist’ fave – was written by Justin Love for his mother. It’s also spare, making a lot of room for Ntokozo’s vocal.
Zama: Thabsie – ‘Finally’
A short year into her solo music career following stints doing backing vocals for the likes of Cassper Nyovest and Black Motion, Thabsie was nominated for three SAMAs. This tune is lovely and local, and it’s also a defiantly modern one, with production reminiscent of Maphorisa’s work with Kwesta. It also has a great coda of a chorus that’ll see Zama in full voice, and some earnest lyrics like this one: ‘I think it’s best we go our separate ways / Before we turn this love into hate.’
ZanoThando: Manu WorldStar – ‘NaLingi’
Manu WorldStar was on the Idols stage during the Top 10 reveal show, performing alongside former contestant Lungisa. This is a change of pace for ZanoThando, a sweet and sedate love song with an Afrobeats vibe that lead to it getting substantial airplay in the UK. Once again though, ZanoThando is showing love for the ladies, with the lovey-dovey lyrics dedicated to the melanin-endowed – sung, not rapped – sitting atop twisty percussion, bass, acoustic guitar and airy pads.
Idols SA 2020 ‘Season 16’ airs every Sunday on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161 at 17:00 (SAST – South African Standard Time).