SOUTHERN Africa's next big music star is about to be discovered and launched, thanks to a new reality-television talent search called Idols.
Based on the highly successful Pop Idols television show launched in Britain late last year, Idols is being screened on the DStv satellite television network and is already attracting huge viewership across Africa, including Zimbabwe.
Minky Walters, general manager (marketing) of MultiChoice Zimbabwe, said Idols was designed to audition talented youngsters and, from an initial application of thousands, to find one person whom the judges and television audiences believe to be "the next big thing" in the world of entertainment.
Walters said: "The concept is simple: interview and audition all the entrants, select from these a top 20 and then, through viewer participation, whittle this down to a single winner."
Idols is already being screened on DStv's MNet channel three evenings a week with additional focus being given on a special dedicated channel called Idols Extra, broadcasting several hours each night and for much of the day over weekends.
Although the participants are all South Africans, interest in other African countries is high and is likely to strengthen as the contest draws to its conclusion on 16 June.
A total of 6 500 young people between the ages of 16 and 30 entered Idols and were individually auditioned by the four judges, all of whom are leading personalities in the world of show business in southern Africa.