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Top 3 ‘Idols SA’ contestants take centre stage as finale draws near

The Heartfelt Arena in Tshwane was packed with an excited audience eager to see who takes the top three spots.

The lucky trio were Mpilo, Nozi and Thapelo, while Ty, with the lowest number of votes, was booted off the show.

For their first song, the contestants performed the track they auditioned with. The next round saw them performing classic diva hits and the final songs were chosen by the judges.

Nozi kicked things off with Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.’s “Best Part”.

Judge Somizi Mhlongo said: “It was like we were at your concert, and you sang it like Nozi would sing it.”

Her next song was Aretha Franklin’s “Try a Little Tenderness”, a performance judge JR Bogopa called “spectacular”.

Nozi’s final song was Andra Day’s “Rise Up”, and judge Thembi Seete praised her: “You’ve proven yourself week after week. You understand that this is a competition.”

Nozi, 27, from Durban said she was over the moon.

“God keeps showing up and proving to me that He is God. When I’m on stage, I always try my best to fight with everything I have and I think that’s what has gotten me this far.

“I’m definitely moving forward with my head held high and pushing my career should I not make it.”

Nozi first entered “Idols SA” in 2016 but did not make it beyond the first cut. Like with her musical heroes, former “American Idol” contestants Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia, she hopes the competition will catapult her to the top.

Mpilo sang Maleh’s “Ke Mo Afrika” in her first performance.

Bogopa said: “You are unmatched and are one of the best (vocalists) in the country.”

Next, she took on “Angel of Mine” by Monica, a performance Seete called “amazing”. Mpilo’s final showing of the night was Jill Scott’s “A Long Walk”.

Mhlongo said: “There’s one thing you have that not a lot of people have: stage presence and charisma.”

Mpilo, 23, from Johannesburg, said: “This is an amazing feeling, it feels so unreal and I’m so grateful.”

She said her consistency and contentment brought her this far in the competition.

For his first song, the last man standing, Thapelo, revisited Kelly Khumalo’s “Esphambanweni”, which saw Seete calling him “gifted”.

His next song was Michael Bolton’s rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman”, which Mhlongo wasn’t too impressed with. “Just because you’ve got a great voice, it doesn’t mean your vocals fit in every genre,” he said.

Thapelo closed the show with Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing”, a performance Bogopa said was “spot on”.

“You spoke to a lot of people’s souls, but it wasn’t the most punchy or powerful. It got the job done.”

The “Idols SA” season 18 finale is around the corner, and the top three will be recording their solo singles produced by Kalawa Jazmee from this week.

Next week’s show will see the eliminated top 10 contestants gracing the stage one again.

Catch “Idols SA” contestants live on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161) on Sundays at 5pm.