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Idols SA to end after 19 seasons


Idols SA: Somizi Mhlongo, ProVerb, Thembi Seete and JR Bogopa.

Idols SA: Somizi Mhlongo, ProVerb, Thembi Seete and JR Bogopa.

  • The upcoming 19th season of Idols SA will be its final.
  • Auditions to be South Africa’s last Idols winner will kick off on Sunday, 12 February.
  • Idols first aired in 2002 on M-Net.

The long-running singing reality competition show Idols SA is coming to an end.

M-Net is calling the upcoming 19th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic its “farewell season”, meaning South Africans will have one last chance to enter and audition for the show.

Idols started 21 years ago in 2002 on the M-Net channel. It became a simulcast show on M-Net and Mzansi Magic in 2013 from the 9th season, and a Mzansi Magic only show in 2016 from season 12 onwards, after M-Net decided to migrate the show to open it up to a bigger DStv audience on lower-tiered packages.

The cancellation of the South African version of the Fremantle format comes after an effort to revitalise the show in 2022.

Judges Randall Abrahams and Unathi Nkayi’s contracts were not renewed for season 18. They were replaced with artists Thembi Seete and rapper-producer JR Bogopa alongside Somizi Mhlongo, who returned after taking time off from the show in 2021 following serious allegations of physical abuse.

READ MORE | Somizi Mhlongo makes Idols SA return amid controversy, says: ‘My private life is my private life’

About Idols’ revamp attempt to lure DStv subscribers back, Nomsa Philiso, MultiChoice CEO for general entertainment, told News24 ahead of the 18th season last year that “to have such longevity in such a fast-changing industry is no small feat, and we’re proud to keep giving our viewers what they love. One of the key components in having staying power is evolution, and our new-look panel is part of that”.

Asked whether the changes in judges for the 18th season were done to try and reverse the show’s declining viewership, Philiso said: “In part, it is to get the ratings back and also to attract new audiences, right. So, you would know that from around 2017, we started seeing some level of fatigue – some level of viewer fatigue in terms of Idols.

“Part of us refreshing the judges is also us trying to say that we’re going to give you guys a much bigger and better Idols.

Following the conclusion of Idols’ 18th season, Shirley Adonisi, M-Net director of local entertainment channels, said: “Idols is a brand that we believe in and is a brand that connects us to our youth in the country. It promotes nationalism and healthy competition while it gives young people a stage to showcase their talent.”

Auditions for the final season of Idols SA will kick off on Sunday, 12 February.

READ MORE | Where are they now? We look at memorable Idols SA winners

News24 has reached out to Mzansi Magic for comment and will add it if and when comment is provided.

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