Melissa Mpofu, Showbiz Editor
With Ghana out of the Amazing Voices singing competition completely, four groups from three countries — Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya —are left in the race for the US$100 000 prize money.
The competition, taking place in Johannesburg and broadcast on Zambezi Magic and Mzansi Magic on Sunday’s at 5PM, seeks to unearth singing talent from the continent.
Having conducted auditions in the four countries last year, the show is now in its final stretch with Zimbabwe left with one representative, gospel group Family Voices. Other remaining groups are Kenya’s Wanavokali, South Africa’s Simply Six and Africa Rise.
Speaking before the competition started this past Sunday, judge Ammara Brown, while commending the groups, said they need to prove their worth and show viewers why they have made it this far.
“All contestants need to know that they’re superstars in their own right. It’s not easy to perform in front of five judges who’re all musicians.
“It’s tough, but they must give us one more reason why they deserve to be in that final three,” said Ammara.
On what the final four must bring to the stage, judge Fila Tuju said: “Any of the groups can win this competition as they all have what it takes. They just have to decide that this is what they want and bring out their best.”
Trigmatic, a judge from Ghana, asked if Ghanaian groups had failed him by one of the show’s hosts, another Ghanaian Elikem Kumordzie, simply said: “This was a stage of learning for them and I’m sure they’re proud of themselves as they tried their best.”
The theme for Sunday’s show was Golden Classics with the groups celebrating their journey on the show. Also, they were given refreshing news that there would be no elimination after the show.
First on stage was Family Voices who reflected on their journey on the show thus far. Footage of the Family of God church group’s journey was shown from their first auditions in Bulawayo where they were given the golden ticket by selectors, Takura and Selmor Mtukudzi.
Watching their performances, it was clear the group had not had it easy, although they have matured musically. On some days, the judges’ comments were positive, then on others, they were brutal. On some occasions, the group would make it to the next stage easily, but on others, they would survive by a whisker.
“We’re feeling a lot of pressure. We think a lot about our performances and disagree, but as the cliché says, pressure makes diamonds. We’re still soldiering on,” the group said, summarising their experience on the show.
Thereafter, they serenaded viewers with a rendition of Commissioned Ordinary Just Won’t Do.
Commenting on their performance, judge Tamara Dey said their harmonies were perfect.
“Their harmony work was particularly good on this performance. I thought it was beautifully done,” Tamara said.
Fila Tuju, however, was not sold by the group’s performance.
“For the first performance of the night, I think we were just testing the mics. For this competition, I don’t like this kind of music so I’m happy tonight is not an elimination show so you guys are safe, but your music no,” said Tuju.
Ralf Gum who is the judge’s tie breaker said Family Voices performance was fair, although not up to standard.
“You had some mistakes in the background and I think you have to up your game next week to stay in the top three. You’re very lucky that we’re not eliminating this week.”
Ammara who was visibly disappointed by the group’s performance said their song choice was strange.
“Strange, strange song choice because at this point, we were supposed to remember why we fell in love with you and why you deserve to go into the next stage.
“This is the competitive stage so next week, I need you guys to bring everything that you have. Do not sleep on this. I don’t want to hear bad notes and a bad song, I want the best out of you guys. Good luck!”
The final judge, Trigmatic also felt the group’s performance was below standard.
“I enjoyed the lead at some points. When you get to the stage where we’re looking for the king, you can’t come with that prince attitude. You need to be a king and that’s what we’re expecting from you. Tonight was just an average performance for me.”
Commenting on the judges’ feedback, one of the group’s members said: “I think for the sake of going on in this competition, we should just take heed of what the judges’ want. Going forward, we’re going to perform less of chilled, laid back songs and kick it off with vibey songs.”
Family Voices is now hard at work rehearsing for this Sunday’s show which will be broadcast live with viewers expected to start casting votes as from next week. It is a critical performance as two groups will likely be eliminated to pave way for the final two who will battle it out at the finale next Sunday.
Looking at the group’s performances on the grand stage in South Africa over the weeks, they may want to pull up their socks as most of their acts have been average and below judges’ expectations. They also need to improve their song selection and select a track which will leave a lasting impression, if they are to win the show.