Unathi Jongihlathi and Zandile Mbabela
WITH just days to go before the Idols Top 16 finalists are announced, two Nelson Mandela Bay hopefuls are holding thumbs to see whether the judges thought they sang their way to the all-important stage.
Christina Williams, 21, and Tourette's Syndrome sufferer Edward Allen, 27, were among the top 33 contestants who have just gone through a gruelling Theatre Week – dubbed "Hell Week" – have several days to prepare for their crucial performances.
From next week viewers can start voting to keep their favourite contestants in the running for this year's top Idols spot.
While Allen seemed to have disappointed the judges a little during his performance on Sunday, Williams impressed them, including the hard-to- crack Randall Abrahams.
After her solo performance on Sunday, Williams got some favourable comments from judges Gareth Cliff, Unathi Msengana and, surprisingly, Abrahams – raising her hopes of a place in the Top 16.
Cliff thought her performance was "cute", while Msengana said it had been Williams's best so far. Abrahams simply said: "I can't say anything bad."
"Not many people get to experience the Top 16, but I deserve to be there because of the comments I got from the judges," Williams said.
She and Allen were two out of four emerging talents from the Bay who made it to Sun City in March, putting them in the Top 100 hopefuls in the popular reality TV talent contest.
Allen described his experience in the competition with "Gareth, Unathi and Randall" to date as memorable.
"I felt at ease with the judges, like we clicked, and I felt inspired by their reaction to Tourette's.
"It made me proud to see just how far I had come as a musician after nine years of hard work. It made me realise just how much I actually wanted this competition and how I could use it as a platform not only for my dreams but for others suffering with mental illnesses and how I could spread awareness," Allen said.
Williams, a full-time singer, said she felt ecstatic when she was chosen as one of the finalists in the Port Elizabeth auditions. "It wasn't that I didn't think I could do it, but I knew the chances were slim," she said.
"My expectations are that one of us PE finalists will make it to the top 10 and even win it," Allen said. – Additional reporting Yoliswa Sobuwa