By Paidashe Mandivengerei
POPULAR media personalities, Unathi Nkayi and Randall Abrahams will not be returning to Idols SA judging panel after 10 and 17 seasons respectively on the talent search show.
The duo’s contracts were not renewed after Mzansi Magic revamped the judging panel on the upcoming Season 18 in order to retain and attract new audiences to the singing competition.
Auditions for Idols SA Season 18 started on January 23.
MNet local entertainment channels director, Shirley Adonisi said, “We are taking a fresh approach to the judging panel to retain audiences and stay competitive in the Sunday night time slot.
“We salute these great icons of South African entertainment and thank them both for great innings on the South African entertainment scene that will continue to be felt for some time to come. We wish them well in their endeavours.”
Unathi penned a heartfelt message bidding farewell to the competition after serving on its panel for eleven years.
She wrote: “Oh man! Thank you for your love South Africa and our beautiful continent of Africa. Please allow me to honour you. You have been kind, loving and deeply invested. Truly the real energy and heartbeat of a wonderful wave of hope and dreams coming true on Idols and as you do that, you have made my dreams come true too. THANK YOU.
“To every contestant who stood in front of us. From the ones brave enough to share with us their hopes. I don’t take lightly the act of doing that for the world to see. An honour I will always hold. Thank you for trusting me as one of your judges. To those who unleashed a new level of my tears, heavily pregnant with Baby Idols garnering for Wooden Mic, thank you for the laughter and joy.”
She added: “I can never thank you enough Anneke, for making that call asking me to join the Idols family. Gav and Prozza thank you for trusting me with such a great responsibility. One that would form part of the narrative and soundtrack of our souls as a people. You changed my life and that of my family.
“To Multichoice, how humbling that you continue to make every boy and girl believe in themselves no matter which corner they come from, including me.To every special being who has given to the brilliance of the show. . It has been a true honour being part of the family. And to the new members of our family. GOODLUCK. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for pushing me to be the very best version of my self every Sunday for eleven years.”