The X Factor SA’s top nine stars unveiled

The X Factor SA’s top nine stars unveiled

Scenes of jubilation mingled with snapshots of heartbreak on SABC1 on Saturday night, when The X Factor South Africa revealed the top nine acts who will go through to the high-pressure round of live gala shows starting this coming weekend.


Television audiences waited with bated breath as the field of thousands of South African X Factor hopefuls was further whittled down by judges/mentors Zonke and Arno Carstens – but not without plenty of tears, frayed nerves and chewed fingernails.

After the competitors visited the judges’ homes, Zonke (with guest judge Zakes Bantwini) and Carstens (with guest judge Toya delazy) were faced with the agonising task of selecting their top three solo singers in the over-24 and under-24 age categories respectively. Oskido had already hand-picked the three groups he wanted to see competing in the next round.

That difficult deed has now been carried out and starting this weekend, on Saturday 25 October at 17:30 on SABC1, the top nine acts – solo vocalists and groups – will have to sing their hearts out live on stage as they compete for a lucrative Sony Music Entertainment recording contract and a cool R300 000 cash prize.

Viewers have the power to decide who stays and who goes by voting for their favourite acts on the SMS line 33121, using the number allocated to each of the nine finalists. The results show will be broadcast on SABC1 on the same night as the live gala show, from 19:30 to 20:00.

Here are the top nine acts that will be going through to the live performance round, starting this Saturday:

Princess (22, from Johannesburg): Princess has already had songs playlisted on local radio and is the mother of a bouncing toddler. She is part of a work programme that empowers young mothers to be independent, and is studying to be a social worker. This young mum entered The X Factor SA because she wants “more and better” – and to ensure that her daughter has the best in life.


MJ (19, from Cape Town): This born entertainer says that “The X Factor saved my family”, after a car accident during boot camp proved to be the catalyst that brought his estranged relatives back together. He is gay and, although his family is supportive, he still gets treated like a “freak”. MJ loves to paint, act and dance, and dreams of being a professional singer.


Eliezer (28, from Johannesburg): Eliezer is a TV talent competition veteran who has entered several such shows in a bid to break into the industry. He has a strong motivation, though: having spiralled down into a life of drugs and self-destruction, it was only when his brother was murdered three years ago that he decided to change his life. By entering X Factor SA, he wants to set an example to his three-year-old son.


Wandile “Bubbles” (21, from Durban): Already a professional musician at the age of 21, having turned to music when she failed matric, Wandile has performed at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence and at King Goodwill Zwelithini’s daughter’s wedding. She entered The X Factor SA because “this is where I belong”, and says she is doing it for her beloved grandmother and her community.


Gavin (36, from Johannesburg): Gavin is used to being in the spotlight – as a boy whose family moved around a lot, he was once the only white kid at an all-black school. Gavin has had some success in Ireland, where he released a single, performed and played keyboards for Westlife star Bryan McFadden and Enrique Iglesias. A husband with two children, he is mainly a cover artist but dreams of having a solo career.


Wandaboy (31, from Johannesburg): Hailing from a large family with 10 siblings (four of whom have sadly passed away), Wandaboy has entered several TV singing contests and has done backing vocals for established gospel artists. His lowest point was using mandrax and heroin, and he regrets the many years he wasted doing drugs. His dream is to make it in the music industry, and to go back to school and study business.


Iziqhaza (from Pietermaritzburg): Khanyisa and Mbongeni, aged 26 and 31, are both professional nurses and prolific songwriters who dream of singing around South Africa and landing a recording deal. Describing themselves as spiritualists and fashionistas, they have previously entered talent-search competitions and have performed in several live shows.


Four (from Cape Town): Steven, Jethro and David, who range in age from 23 to 30, describe themselves as being a pop-rock and R&B-inspired boy band. These family-oriented lads were only together for a month before they entered The X Factor SA, but have already written some 20 songs. They dream of being the biggest boy band in South Africa – but know their biggest challenge lies in breaking into the music industry. That, and Jethro’s preoccupation with his hair.


Avodah (from Pietermaritzburg): The members of this all-girl six-piece outfit – Nonkululeko, Nondumiso, Thembisa, Phila, Siziphiwe and Sindi – are aged between 22 and 37. They met at a church conference last year and decided to call themselves “Avodah”, Hebrew for “serving God through worship”. They have written and recorded a handful of songs and have served as backing vocalists for established artists.


Image credit: The X Factor SA/ SABC1

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