There are just two young pop stars left standing, but only one can claim the Idols SA throne.
This evening either Thato Makape (24) or Yanga Sobetwa (17) will be crowned winner in a year that has seen a record number of votes.
If you ask iTunes, it’s neck and neck; both Thato and Yanga’s singles, which we heard for the first time last week, are doing well. Yanga has the second-fastest-selling song in South Africa (after King Monada’s Malwedhe), but Thato is at number three.
On social media, too, fans in both camps are equally vocal. So, to predict the winner, we reached out to this season’s guest judges:
Dr Malinga (Pretoria guest judge)
“What I love about Idols is how the contestants grow. I have to be honest, I think Yanga will take it because we are looking at real talent there.”
DJ Cleo (Cape Town guest judge)
“They are both going to have great careers. For me Yanga is a better vocalist, but Thato offers more … I will go with Thato because he is the whole package.”
Musa Sukwene (Durban guest judge)
“My bet is on Yanga, but whoever wins I wish them all the best.”
Rebecca Malope (Johannesburg guest judge)
“As a mother I wish them both the best. They both deserve to win because they made it this far. It is a pity the prize can be taken by only one person. Congratulations to the both of them. We love them.”
Yanga seems to be the frontrunner. But it’s up to the viewers to decide who walks away with a recording contract, a car, R30 000 in cash, R20 000 in fashion vouchers and R12 000 in music equipment.
Idols, produced by [SIC] Entertainment, hauled in a staggering and record-breaking 110 million votes so far during the 14th season, with nearly 22 million during the past week – an unbelievable number of votes for a TV show broadcast on any channel – let alone a pay-TV channel.
THE TWO FINALISTS
Meanwhile the two utterly compelling real-life contestant narratives couldn't be more alluringly perfect for a reality singing competition such as Idols, even if it could be scripted.
With the season 14 live finale looming on the one hand there is Yanga Sebetwa – is the youngest contestant from the top 10 this season.
From Delft outside Cape Town, Yanga lives just a stone's throw away from the season 13 winner, Paxton Fielies, who has found huge success the past year, continue to sing to sellout crowds and even performed for the queen of Sweden in April.
On the other hand there's Thato Makape, is the oldest contestant from the top 10 this season.
From the small town of Postmasburg in the Northern Cape, the young barber who left school in Grade 11 to help his sick mom, holds the record for longest traveller to an Idols audition after he journeyed a staggering 1 250km over days – using buses and taxis and all his money – to get to Cape Town for the auditions in February.