As the fourth season of Idols South Africa draws to a close, an aspiring singer from the rest of southern and east Africa will also get a chance to sign an international recording contract from the show that has launched careers of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Will Young, Karin Kortjie and World Idol entrant Heinz Winkler. Timi Dakolo won Idols West Africa, which auditioned singers from 15 West African states.
Joseph Hundah, M-Net Director of Operations for sub-Saharan Africa, says M-Net is very excited to make the new announcement.
“In 2007, M-Net completed IDOLS in West Africa and season 4 of IDOLS SA is about to end. M-Net wanted this show to tap the talent of East and Southern Africa while celebrating homegrown stars for local audiences. Supported by M-Net’s platform provider, MultiChoice Africa, we’re aiming to deliver more ‘must-watch’ content!”
Kenya has been announced as the new home for Idols, and Nairobi is where the show’s theatre stage and its glitzy spectaculars will be shot. Waterfront Television in association with Freemantle Media will produce the Idols show for M-Net. Entrants who make it into the Top 24 will relocate to Nairobi.
Countries participating in the contest are Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Though preliminary viewing of auditions for Idols is best known for comic relief, aspiring singers aged between 18 and 27 are encouraged to choose current or previous international hit songs for that crucial make or break stage. You may also choose to sing a local hit song in the pop genre. Each contestant will be asked to sing no more than one verse and one chorus of their chosen song.
MultiChoice Botswana’s Public Relations Officer, Tshepo Maphanyane, said at a press conference midweek, “After the good performances by Batswana in M-Net’s reality television formats, Botswana’s involvement in Idols will be the most prolific yet.”
Not only are Batswana entrants eligible for the contest, Botswana is one of the seven countries of 22 that will host auditions. M-Net will advertise centres in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe where singers from surrounding countries would have to travel to for auditions.
Maphanyane said a filming crew would be arriving soon to start taping auditions which will be aired on channel 198 on Dstv. Maphanyane also said Bonolo Thekiso who had participated 2003’s season of Idols South Africa, where contestants from other African countries were auditioned, made it into the top 32.