They beat out thousands of hopefuls, survived weeks of audition rounds and saw their friends leave the show one by one — and now it has finally come down to this one moment: It is time for South Africa to decide whether Cape Town's old pro, Mark Haze, or Johannesburg's young Dave Van Vuuren will become the next South African Idol!
Voting has already opened but tonight the Season 7 Top Two had one final opportunity to sing their hearts out and impress their fans. They were supported on stage by The Parlotones, who helped to get them to this point when they also played backing band for the contestants in the Theatre Phase at Sun City earlier this year.
Tonight each finalist had to sing their own favourite song from the season, a song with the Parlotones, and also the brand new single especially composed for them!
> Whose song was best? Scroll down to vote!
But first, a surprise... Almost ten years ago South Africa became only the second country outside the UK to produce its own Idols show and that very first winner, Heinz Winckler, was on the stage tonight to perform his latest hit, Blindfolded.
And then Dave was first to step into the ring, singing his favourite song of the season, the Kings Of Leon hit, Sex On Fire. "This season, for me, has been about discovering people like you — and they are one in a million," Gareth complimented him. Unathi said what sets Dave apart is that he truly is fearless. "If you keep this going, tonight is your night," she predicted. Randall said Dave believes and acts in a way that shows music truly is his life. "It's great to have you here with us," he said.
For Mark, his favourite song in the competition was Aerosmith's Dream On. "Well, we have got ourselves a competition!" Gareth said. "If that doesn't get votes, nothing will. That was phenomenal." Unathi agreed that Mark had brought everything he had to the table. "You killed it!" she shouted. Randall said it might be a cliché, but tonight Dave and Mark really were both winners, and he commended Mark for having made the most of his Idols opportunity.
For the second round of tonight's Spectacular, Dave performed Should We Fight Back with the Parlotones, from their new acoustic album Evesdropping On The Songs of Whales. "You are a real musician, because the music is talking to you and you are replying," Gareth said. "My friend, you have a musical soul," he praised Dave. Unathi also commended Dave for not trying to compete with Kahn Morbee. "You were so still, but so powerful!" she noted. Randall spoke of the opportunities that Idols had offered Dave to work with artists and superstars. "But you're going to go on to be your own musician," he predicted. "And that is an important part of winning this competition."
Mark's song with the Parlotones was their version of the Elvis classic, Burning Love. "That was a nice surprise," Gareth said. But he didn't know if he "loved" it, though… "I think you and the Parlotones did an amazing job with it, but it's not my cup of tea," he complained. But Unathi disagreed. "I thought what you brought to that song was magnificent," she said. "Have mercy! You boys sure gotta lotta nerve," Randall said in his Elvis voice. But on a serious note, he noted once again what an important opportunity it was for Mark to get the chance to work with artists like the Parlotones and the Idols band.
By the end of this round, Idols host ProVerb asked the judges who they though had the upper hand in the competition so far. Randall awarded Round One to Dave, but wouldn't comment on Round Two, and both Unathi and Gareth voted that Dave had done best in both rounds.
And then, to end the show, for the first time ever Dave got to perform the brand new track especially composed for him, called Hall Of Mirrors. This track is available for download right now at a cost of R15. SMS MIRRORS to 39400 or visit Omusic.com online. (Terms & Conditions Apply.) Gareth said it's a problem to have to sing an unknown song at the end of the competition. "But we can hear someone who's as musical and as talented and has as great a voice as you is able to sing that song and make it yours," he said. Unathi said the song already felt familiar to her. Randall said Hall Of Mirrors would not be the last song we hear by Dave van Vuuren.
The brand new single composed for Mark is called Out Of My Head. To download Mark's track for R15, SMS MIRRORS to 39400 or visit to Omusic.com online. (Terms & Conditions Apply.) Gareth thought it sounded a little Nickleback-ish! "That song was perfect for you and you delivered it beautifully," he said. He though Dave and Mark would have to be neck-and-neck in the voting at this stage. Unathi agreed with Gareth and thought Mark's delivery of his song was "so sweet" and she thanked him for an amazing season. "You truly are incredible!" she said. Randall cautioned both finalists that the music business is very difficult, but he sincerely advised both of them never to give up on music.
Voting lines have been open all week already and will remain open until 22:00 Monday night (3 October). Visit the official Idols website for voting details.
And then on Tuesday, 4 October, the winner of Idols Season 7 will be announced at a star-studded live spectacular at the Home Of Idols, the Mosaïek Teatro in Fairlands, Johannesburg, that will feature the likes of Kurt Darren, Lira, Liquideep, the Parlotones, Elvis Blue, L'loyd Cele, the rest of the Idols Season 7 Top 10 and, of course, Mark and Dave!
Idols is broadcast on M-Net and Mzansi Magic every Sunday at 5.30pm. Get all the lowdown on Idols at the official Idols Facebook page at Idols South Africa, on Twitter @IdolsSA and on the official Idols Season 7 website.