When you put the six best unsigned singers in the country on stage with some of the best musicians in Mzansi and one of the country's most respected choreographers, the flamboyant Somizi, along with lasers, pyrotechnics and special effects, what you get is the Idols SA Season 9 Top 6 Showstopper!
The Top 6 kicked the show off on an energetic note with a group performance of the Fall Out Boy hit, "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark", and then the live audience in the Moreleta Park Church Auditorium in Pretoria was treated to a performance by this week's Mentor, SAMA nominee Chiano Sky, of her hit "Home Sweet Home".
Sonke Mazibuko (21) from Soweto kicked off the competition part of last night's show with a homegrown choice, Mafikizolo's "Khona". "I really believe that was visually and aurally spectacular," Idols Judge Gareth Cliff praised. "You were terrific, man." "That was 'fantasties'," Unathi Msengana grinned. "People don't understand how difficult it is to dance with that intensity, to hit every key, and still to get your breathing right," she pointed out, and she complimented Sonke on his fitness levels!
Randall Abrahams commented that sometimes during the Showstopper show the performers tend to fade into the background against the spectacle, but that Sonke was upfront and the centre of attention for his whole performance. "Your singing tonight I would say was the best I have heard on the show," he told Sonke.
To vote for Sonke, SMS the number 06 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
Next up was Durban schoolteacher Crystalene Nair (24) with her cover of Rihanna's "Right Now". Unathi commented on how sexy Crystalene looked and Gareth agreed that he'd never seen her looking better. He also thought it was her best performance in a long while. "You were so sexy! You felt yourself!" Unathi praised. "And you have to feel yourself for us to feel you." But Randall said he wasn't moved during Crystalene's original Audition in Durban, "and tonight I wasn't moved either," he shrugged. He said Crystalene's performance just "didn't sizzle".
To vote for Crystalene, SMS the number 02 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
Brenden Ledwaba (19) from Graskop in Mpumalanga performed local hero Zahara's hit, "Lengoma", accompanied by the drummers from First Project. Gareth remembered once accusing Brenden of choosing a song to show off his vocal abilities, but tonight he showed off everything, he laughed. "It was terrifically entertaining," he said.
Unathi gave a shout-out to the fantastic drummers, and she told Brenden he was very smart to sing his first vernacular song in the Top 6 stage. "I thoroughly enjoyed it as well," she said. But Randall complained that "the singing was a bit flat. And while the dancing had its moments," he said, "if you look at someone like Sonke, he was good in everything."
To vote for Brenden, SMS the number 01 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
Zoe Zana from Bishop Lavis in Cape Town chose Jessie J's "Wild" for her performance. "I'm amazed," Gareth admitted. He said there were very few people who could have pulled off the choreography and energy that Zoë did in that performance. "So far you and Sonke are wiping the floor!" he said. "You are a freakin' star!" Unathi told Zoë. "What you just did was annihilate any doubt anyone could've ever had about you. You and Sonke are born performers," she said. Randall said obviously some performers look forward to the Showstopper episode more than others. "You were glorious," he smiled at Zoë.
To vote for Zoë, SMS the number 05 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
Bunny Majaja (26) from Florida Glen in Johannesburg rocked the house with some P!nk, singing her hit "Raise Your Glass". "You brought it. You brought every last nickel and dime of it," Gareth praised, and he also complimented the choreographer Somizi's work with the contestants. "So now, so relevant, so you!" Unathi laughed.
Randall said it was refreshing to see Bunny do something "very 2013", and he also enjoyed seeing her enjoying herself. He said it was a good idea to show a different side to her personality at this stage of the competition. "That's what you did tonight. I think you're going to get votes," he told Bunny.
To vote for Bunny, SMS the number 08 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
And the gentle giant from eMalahleni, Musa Sukwene (26) closed the show with another local hit, "Via Orlando" from Vetkuk vs Mahoota, featuring Dr Malinga. "You were really, really great," Gareth said. "This is you. You're a genuine guy, a very authentic performer," he said. Unathi applauded the fact that Musa honoured the original version as well as the more current version of that song. "It was ayoba!" she smiled.
"In a performance like this where the choreography is so good and there is so much going on, it is easy for the performer to get lost," Randall pointed out again. "But you were absolutely essential to what happened here," he told Musa. "I don't think your singing has been more dynamic than it has been tonight," he noted.
To vote for Musa, SMS the number 09 to 37400. [R1.50 per text] or vote online via mobile or web at mnet.co.za/idolssa, for free. Fans can also vote on Mxit [25 moola].
Voting for the Top 6 opened at the start of tonight's show and will close tonight (Monday night, 28 October), at 22:00. And on Tuesday, 29 October, fans will find out which singer won't make it to the Top 5.