In tonight’s first episode of Blind Auditions, two phenomenal singers sparked fireworks on the set of The Voice South Africa Season 2. Both Freddy Lalendle (23) and Marissa Petzer (22) sang so well that all four of the coaches turned their iconic red chairs for them, just like they did with last season’s winner Richard Stirton when he first stepped onto The Voice SA’s stage.
During this phase of the competition the coaches assemble a group of twelve singers for their teams based on vocal ability only. With their backs turned to the talent, they show their interest by pressing the buzzer that spins their chair into action. When one coach turns around it’s a done deal, but when more than one chair swivels 180 degrees, it’s fun and games as the power to choose shifts to the talent.
After hearing out the desperate pleas from coaches Kahn Morbee, Karen Zoid, Lira and Bobby van Jaarsveld, who all want to be this season’s winning coach, the funky Freddy decided to follow in Richard’s footsteps by picking Kahn. Spunky rocker Marissa, however, took her cue from her boyfriend who happens to be last season’s Top 4 finalist Almur Marais, also fondly known by The Voice SA fans as “Stilfontein”. Marisa kept it in the family with #Team Karen, hoping that SA’s number one rock chick would be able to boost her music career too.
Freddy surprised the coaches with his rendition of Vance Joy’s “Riptide”. His raspy voice and unique tone conjured up images of a Tom Waits-like figure in the their minds. Instead, they found a cool young guy who cannot be boxed into any category. The coaches showered him with compliments and Karen’s rave included the praise that “South Africa needs something new … and that’s you.” Freddy lives with his wife Celene in Durban, where he also runs a band called “The Subway Run”.
The coaches were also a little shocked when they saw Marissa. Not because they realised that it was Almur’s girlfriend, but because they couldn’t believe that the brave singer who masterfully belted out Led Zepplin’s “A Whole Lot Of Love” was the same person who was unable to get a single coach to turn their chair last season. Clearly Almur’s success took Marissa to a whole new level – or was it perhaps the water in Stilfontein, as coach Bobby suggested?
Even though coaches Karen and Kahn snatched the two talent who received four turns each, coach Lira scored the most singers this week. At the end of the first episode, #TeamLira had three members, #TeamKahn two and #TeamBobby and #TeamKaren one each.
Songstress Lira was over the moon when the appropriately named “Bubbles” Mnomiya chose her above Kahn and Bobby. The 23-year-old entertainer from Richard’s Bay, whose personality coach Kahn described as “effervescent”, opened the show with an energetic performance of the Cee-Lo Green classic “Forget You.” The other two #TeamLira members are Aston Wylie (24) and Luke Lovemore (23). Aston grew up in picturesque Gonubie near East London and is now a full-time performer and private music teacher in Belville. He grabbed Lira with Ellie Goulding’s smash hit “Love Me Like You Do”. The newly-wed Luke studied Environmental Management through Unisa while working and performing in Cape Town’s famous Stardust theatrical restaurant, where he met one of his best friends and Season 1 winner, Richard Stirton! Luke won himself a spot on #TeamLira with the Seal anthem “Crazy”, after both Lira and fellow songstress Karen Zoid wanted to take him to the next round.
The one and only member in #TeamBobby to date is 18-year-old Rick Jansen from Centurion, the handsome young singer whose career started with a near-tragic injury. At school, Richard excelled in all kinds of sports – from water polo and athletics to kickboxing and rugby. Then, in Grade 11 he broke his neck in three places during a rugby match, which pretty much ended all sport activities for him. Rick, who says he is grateful to still be able to walk today, battled the boredom of not being able to compete in the sports arena with the guitar that his grandmother bought him. The young Rick chose Calvin Harris’ “This is What You Came For” as his Blind Audition song and the crowd – and Bobby – loved it.
Freddy’s team mate in #TeamKahn is 23-year-old Kirby Jo from Cape Town, who is currently studying Early Childhood Development at False Bay College and volunteering at a crèche once a week as part of the course. Kirby has been gigging all her life and had the audience on their feet when she performed Michael Jackson’s very challenging “Man In The Mirror”. Kahn was mightily impressed with the amazing quality of her voice and was clearly delighted that he turned his chair around.
The Voice SA Season 2 is broadcast on M-Net Channel 101 every Sunday at 17:30, and is repeated every Monday at 18:00 on M-Net City.
Visit www.mnet.tv/thevoice to watch exclusive interviews with the coaches and talent, and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @VoiceSA / #TheVoice SA or on the official “Voice SA” Facebook page. You can also download The Voice SA app today for exclusive show-related games and special features.