Wearing a black beanie, Sonke Mazibuko started off his Idols journey at the Johannesburg leg of Auditions, singing "Home" from Micheal Buble. He would later go on to sing another song from the artist, "Haven't Met You Yet" for the 90s and 00s theme.
But it was his first Audition that left many fans impressed:
Reneilwe Bafedi: I am so in love with your voice Sonke, All the best boy.
Tankiso Monakali: Gifted…
Nikiwe Valashiya: Sonke you are the best
Mbali Khumalo: That was very nice, authentic!
Tumi Mabuso: I really like your voice, you are talented boy well done.
What did the Judges think of him then? Gareth said he liked Sonke and he has a very pure and real voice. But Randall was of a different opinion and said no to him: "I thought it was cold and flat."
During Theatre Week, we first saw what has become Sonke's trademark - his traditional Zulu headgear. He said he struggled during the Group Song, singing with only girls. Luckily for him, everything worked out and he managed to clinch a spot into the Top 16.
His fan base grew after Theatre Week:
Moses Ditshoke: There's just something special about your voice bra! Keep doing the great job!
Precious Zandile Kubheka: Sonke has a soothing and calming voice, he doesn’t even try too hard. All the best I’m behind all the way.
Lethukuthula Maphumulo: This guy is talented.
Neo MaNeenow Langa: I love Sonke, whole heartedly.
Once he reached the Top 16, we got to know him a little better and we found out more about his headgear. His official profile stated: “Sonke distinguished himself at Sun City not only with his beautiful voice but also by always wearing his traditional headdress, which represents where he comes from, he says. “’Makhosonke’ translates to ‘all the kings’ or ‘great kings’,” he explains. “So I always grew up knowing I have to live up to my name – not be a king as such, but be a family man.” Sonke currently supports his mom and two little sisters and his little brother with his music – “whatever I have, I bring to my mother,” he says.”
At the Top 10 Spectacular, the theme was "Cheese" so Sonke went with the cheesy 1980 Air Supply ballad, “All Out Of Love". “When you did that very difficult key change, you did it effortlessly,” Gareth praised Sonke happily. “There wasn’t one person in here who didn’t have goose bumps, and there’s not one person in here who cannot say that was the performance of the night,” he declared.
He had a second good week in a row, when at the Top 9 Spectacular he sang a local number: Zonke’s hit “Jikizinto”. Randall noted that Sonke has been developing steadily throughout the competition. “Amongst the guys I think you’re the one to beat,” he proffered.
Sonke continued his upward trajectory when the Top 6 took on the massive Showstopper theme. In addition, he had the added pressure of opening the solo performances, with 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.
By the Top 4 Phase though, Sonke started to struggle a little. He sang “A Song For You” by the late, great jazz and blues vocalist Donny Hathaway for his first round song, and Céline Dion’s “Love Me Back To Life”, of which Gareth predictably disapproved. “This is a supremely bad song choice,” he grumbled. Both Randall and Unathi thought that Sonke is too young to perform “A Song For You” properly, and the Céline song “might well be the death-knell for you,” Randall predicted. “It’s really not a good week for you,” he complained. But Sonke survived and continued to the Top 3.
His fans also continued showed their commitment to him:
Palesa Bareki: Hi Sonke I really want you to win this competition because you are so real and so talented please do it for the children they'll be thankful forever.
Sindo Ntloko: OH Sonke my dear hang in there.
Kanyisa Mbali: SONKE!! Most unique and versatile... He deserves this more than the other guys!
At the Top 3 Show, we saw snippets of his homecoming in Soweto, which really warmed the hearts of many viewers.
Looking back, Sonke has had an amazing Idols journey and we wish him the best for his future. We thank him for enriching the show as he has, and starting that headgear trend amongst his supporters.