South Africa: More Idols

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South African pay-TV broadcaster M-Net is currently preparing for its fifth season of the hit reality format, Idols. Produced for M-Net by Waterfront Productions, Idols, a nationwide talent search for the next local singing sensation, will begin airing from 1 February.

After launching in the UK in 2001, Idols has been produced in more than 50 countries and continues to deliver top ratings wherever it is broadcast. American Idol remains the top reality show performer in the US - the highest across all networks; in the Netherlands Idols is the highest rated entertainment show ever on Dutch television; and the previous season of South Africa’s Idols generated more votes than the previous general election.

There are some new aspects to M-Net’s new season of Idols. Firstly, auditions will take place over the Christmas holiday season instead of during winter as previously. Secondly, following the success of the latest American Idol series, the strict ‘a capella’ rule will not be enforced during auditions. Even though they will still be judged on their vocal abilities, wannabe Idols may now also bring musical instruments - such as guitars, drums and accordions - into the audition rooms.

Theo Erasmus, M-Net’s Director for General Entertainment: South Africa, says all these tweaks will keep the show fresh and exciting for viewers and contestants alike. “Idols has proved to be a sure-fire hit on television schedules across the globe and with these small changes our viewers can look forward to even more Idols magic. We’ll be tapping into the lively summer vibe and by having auditions during this laid-back period we could attract more fresh talent that might not have been able to attend auditions previously.”

All South African citizens who fall between the ages of 16 and 30 as of 17 December 2008 are allowed to enter Idols. Proof of age, such as an ID document or a birth certificate will have to be provided at the first audition, and as has been the case in the past, there will be no entry form.