About 200 Club View residents in King William’s Town braved the cold to watch Idols SA finalist Luyolo Yiba at tonight's grand finale at a public viewing location provided for community by the local ward committee, where he was eventually declared the Idols SA season 15 winner.
Yiba is the only Eastern Cape contestant to ever reach the top two.
Luyolo, from Buffalo River in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape, an underdog, the Idols SA season 15 winner, walks away with a recording deal from a leading record label, a R1m cash prize, a brand-new car and other prizes from brands such as Telkom, Capitec and Truworths.
Luyolo had shown unwavering determination throughout the competition. With his soulful voice and understated charm, he has shown tremendous growth – from the shy aspiring musician he was to the bold and confident top contender he has become. It wasn’t until recently that he emerged from the shadows and received the recognition he deserves.
“I didn’t see myself getting to the Top 2. My aim was the Top 10 but as I progressed I kept wanting to stay. What I told myself is that with God anything is possible,” he said.
Luyolo said certain songs and genres had him doubting himself during the competition and one of his low points was when negative things were said about him on social media.
But the friends he has made in the house, the trip to New York, the Idols competition itself and the support from his family were the things that kept him going.
“I hadn’t had so many people commenting on how I sing and it was challenging,” he said. “But just as I sang in my single [Sunshine through the rain], I will never lose this hunger. My dreams won’t be in vain,” he said.
It has possibly been the most dramatic Idols season yet! But the IdolsSA team were determined to end it with a big bang.
Tonight saw IdolsSA final two go head to head at Carnival City where #IdolsSneziey and #IdolsLuyolo performed to a sold out crowd!
To usher in the new winner and cleanse us of the drama of this season was music greats such as our favourite queen of bright, Sho Madjozi, Isiphithiphithi platinum artist Samthing Soweto and queen of the decks DJ Zinhle – just to name a few.
The show has been steeped in controversy, including a contestant walking off and allegations of bullying and tribalism, yet more than 3-million viewers are expected to vote for their favourite pop singer in tonight’s final of Idols SA.
After a gruelling few months, Snenhlanhla “Sneziey” Msomi and Luyolo Yiba had to face off for a prize including R1m in cash and a record deal from Gallo.
“I’ve worked hard for this moment,” Sneziey, 25, told the Sunday Times this week.
“From the time I entered the competition, I dreamt about winning. Dreamt about celebrating with my gran and those I love. I will be happy whatever the outcome, but I want to show the country who I really am.”
It has been an emotional rollercoaster for Msomi, who faced abuse on social media and was accused of bullying earlier in the season.
The singer from Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, who has been a favourite since the start of the competition, released her debut single, Kungumusa, last week. The gospel song was inspired by her difficulties during the competition, which nearly prompted her to quit.
“It hasn’t been easy for me being a church girl in this competition,” she said.
“The abuse also got to me. There was a point where I felt like I wanted to go home, leave the competition … The one thing I love most in the world, singing, was breaking me and making me cry every day. God saved me. He gave me grace.”
The last few weeks saw Msomi’s popularity plunge amid accusations on social media that she bullied and “bewitched” fellowcontestants Viggy and Virginia Qwabe. She has denied the claims.
The Qwabe twins turned down an invitation to be part of the finale. Virginia was eliminated after viewers showed little support for her in their voting, and the same night Viggy decided to follow her out the door.
The finale also included performances from the Mzansi Gay Choir, Sho Madjozi, Boity Thulo, DJ Zinhle, Yanga Sobetwa and Samthing Soweto. Singer Vusi Nova will perform with the finalists and Msomi and Yiba will also perform a duet.
“We haven’t even really spoken to family,” said Yiba.
“It’s a surreal feeling because I sometimes catch myself thinking this is the last week I will be on this competition. We will both give it our all.”
Yiba, 24, who hails from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape, emerged as a dark horse in the competition over the past few weeks. Few had bet on him to go all the way when he was named in the top 10. He admitted he had been worried what people would think of him and his singing at the start of the competition, but then started blocking out the noise.
“I had to start letting go of constant thoughts of what people would say about me. I would second-guess myself.