The MTN Spotlight kicked off on a high note and with a different twist; Due to Covid-19, there couldn’t be live regional auditions but that didn’t stop MTN and its partners from bringing us the “brightest talent show in the land”. So the Spotlight team came up with an idea to have the auditions happen digitally. Contestants were allowed to submit their audtion videos via the Spotlight app or Whatsapp.
The judges sat together in one room to listen to them all and made their decision. Save for the dogs, dishes and siblings making noise in the background while the contestants were auditioning, it turned out to work well enough. Here is how it all went down.
1. Siwakhile Masuku (23 years old)
All the judges gave her thumbs up. Velemseni said she is so cute, she loves her style, a good song choice. Karly B said he would like to see more of her and Ndumiso said she’s got a vibe.
2. Phiwa Mhlanga (19 years old) – Manzini, Nhlambeni
He genuinely surprised all the jduges who thought he was going to rap but did an R&B Song. Karly B said it was quite impressive, maybe because he had already pre-judged him and thought he would “spit some bars”. Velemseni said he is worth exploring and Ndumiso said they should give him a chance.
3. Lisa Mavuso (24 years old),
Velemseni’s immediate reaction after Lisa finished singing was,
“Oh my God, is this the season of cuteness?”. She said this voice reminds her of Tracy Chapman sometimes. So with that being said, she loves her and would like to hear more.
Karly B went to his stardard comment, “it’s worth exploring”.
Ndumiso said they shouldn’t be too excited by this singining because they seem to be taken by every contestant. He told them to calibrate their ears. When Karly B asked if he wasn’t too excited too, he said she was cool but she tends to have bad habits – “diction issues and all of that”.
Velemseni suggested that she can be coached and Ndumiso conceded and gave her a yes and they all put her through.
4. Ntombifuthi Sibandze (27 years old) – Manzini, Luve
She sang a gospel song by Colile Mcwango – ngilawule.
After what seemed like an avoidance to comment from the judges, Velemseni started by saying she would love to see her sing at her church – sing and lead them in worship and praise, but she is not sure how her voice is going to work in the competition. Karly B said he is not too sure about her too. Ndumiso said she can sing, her voice is probably nothing special – just one of those voices. He ended by saying he is not sure about her. When it got down to a vote, Velemseni said she would pass and was not put through.
5. Lungelo Magongo (20 years old), Manzini,
After singing his lunch out, the first word from the judges was a question by Velemseni,
“If he was a chocolate, what kind of chocolate would he be?” she asked arousing a round of laughter from the judges. She went on to suggest some chocolate brands – magnum, PS, Chomp. Ndumiso said, maybe he is a Kitkat.
On the singing, Karly B said he is quite good. He really really enjoyed listening to him. Velemseni also liked him. She loved the fact that he didn’t have too many runs, you could hear the song as is. Ndumiso said he is different and he likes him too. They all voted him in.
6. Muzomuhle Masuku (30 years old), Manzini
After what seemed like a good performance, Ndumiso threw in the first punch and said he didn’t like it. Velemseni said he has a nice instrument (Assuming the voice) but she wished he gave a bit of performance (than just sitting while sitting – we assume). Karly B said it’s a no, “let him give others a chance”. Truth be told, even thought we din’t hear her say on screen, Velemseni seemed to like him but was outvoted. She didn’t make a clear vote.
7. Mzwandile Mdzebele (22 years old), Manzini
Velemseni said, “he looks sleepy”. Like he just woke up from sleeping and she gave him a no and, “he should look into something else in life”. Karly B said, “he didn’t cut it for him” and that was it.
8. Wenzokuhle Hlophe (17 years), Manzini
This contestant stimulated a conversation about the song choices. Ndumiso said, “contestants must try and choose better songs”. He said it was a good attempt, next year she will be 18 and she will qualify for the competition. Velemseni said she is a cutey though.
9. Sipheleliselwe Hlatshwayo (20 years old), Manzini – Ngculwini
The first rapper of the season and didn’t go through. Velemseni said, it’s hard (to even judge) when the rappers don’t have tempo” and said it’s a no. Karly B seemed to “secretely” like the guy but was outvoted.
10. Simphiwe, Manzini
Simphiwe delivered a song that seemed fully done in the studio – we dare title it, Siyeb Yeb Sami. A wild guess is that this guy knew he wouldn’t go through but wanted to get some PR for his song. If you have seen mayoki yoki from the South African idols then this guy is a version of that. Needless to say, he didn’t go through.
11. Bongeka Dlamini (19 years), Manzini
He recited a poem and the judges didn’t bite.
12. Phinda Dlamini (19 Years) – Manzini
Karly B made a slight joke about the song but generally No comment
13. Melusi Mbuyisa (28 years old), Manzini
14. Msimeto Masuku (22 years old), Manzini
Singing My Yoki Yoki the judges didn’t bite and there was no comment
15. Sithembiso Dlamini (25 Years), Manzini, KaShali
16. Thabiso Dlamini (20 Years old), Manzini
No comment from the judges
17. Neville (23 years old), Manzini
Except for a shocked reaction from Velemseni when the guy sang some lyrics saying, I think the demons are winning, there was no comment from the judges
18. Nkosikhona Hlatjwako, Manzini Siphofaneni
19. Qhawe Khumalo, Manzini
20. Sanele Sihlongonyane (20 years old), Manzini
After this performance KrTC came on to give the judges a quick break and asked them how it was going.
Velemseni said, “it’s good”. When KrTC jokingly said, “this is not America’s funniest home videos”, Velemseni responded and said, “The line is not so clear my friend.” as she fueled on the laughter in the room. Ndumiso said, “he had mixed feelings so far but there are some interesting things they are hearing”.
He then talked about those people who couldn’t get the rules right to which KrTC emphasized that every competition has got its own rules so contestants need to follow those rules correctly.
He lamented and said, “there are auditions that are very good but they didn’t follow the rules”.
21. Phiwayinkhosi Matsebula (18 years old), Manzini
After what the contestant may have perceieved to be the best rap audition ever delivered, the judges simply said they are going to pass – with no further comment.
22. Naledi Masuku (22 years old), Manzini
Ndumiso said, “she’s got an instrument (voice)” and Velemseni agreed they put her through.
23. Nompiliso Dlamini (25 years old), Manzini
Ndumiso said he likes her, Velemseni simply said, she’s in and with that majority vote, the decision was sealed.
24. Dida Sihlongonyane (24 years old), Manzini
Another rapper in the auditions who didn’t trigger any positive reaction from the judges.
25. Nompilo Dlamini (21 years old), Manzini
No comment from the judges.
26. Mayibongwe Gamedze (21 years old)
Singing a worship song, Ndumiso said, “it works for congregational singing but it’s a no”. Karly B said “uyahlonipha nkosi yami.” Velemseni noted the stray music in the background that seemed to put her off.
27. Sebenele Shongwe (28 years) Manzini
28. Mlandvo Zwane (24 years old), Manzini
After transposing the song 3 times – evidently his killer move, there were no comments from the judges.
29. Tandzile Mtsenjwa (21 years old), Manzini
A simply no from the judges and that was it.
30. Ncobile Magagula (21 years old), Manzini
Velemseni said, “Maye u flat sisi. It hurts you know, when you never reach the note”. So it’s a NO-te. Lol. Karly B also said it’s a no for him and the decision was final.
31. Debbie Maseko (30 years old), Manzini
After being amused by her hand gesture when she sings, the judges passed with no comments.
32. Mlandvo Simelane (21 years old), Manzini
We didn’t hear any on screen comment but KrTC mentioned him in the final list of those who went through in the end.
33. Debra Maseko (30 years old), Manzini
No comment from the judges.
You can watch the full auditions below.