The Voice kicks off on a high note!

Season 3 of The Voice South Africa is set to be a winner with audiences.

08 February 2019 | Art and Entertainment

The Voice South Africa returned to our screens for a third season which premiered on Tuesday evening with an exciting new look, including a new host, the vivacious Anele Mdoda, and three new coaches who are Afrikaans rock rebel Francois van Coke, singer-songwriter Riana Nel and chart-topper Riky Rick, joining Afro-pop sensation Lira.

The honour of launching the third season of The Voice South Africa went to Ross Charles, a 26-year-old musician and sound engineer from Durban, who opened up on camera about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, and how The Beatles saved him.

Skilfully supported by the incredible The Voice SA live band, Ross opened the show with the spine-chilling opening wail of that powerful old Sam Cooke classic, A Change is Gonna Come, and within the first four lines of the song Francois van Coke hit his big red button and turned his chair around.

Moved by the power of that timeless ballad, Lira, Riky Rick and Riana also hit their buttons in quick succession, and then the fight was on.

Riana told Ross that he could be a “one in a million”, but Francois was ready to fight her, to get Ross on his team.

“I'm a singer and a collaborator,” Francois told Ross, “and I'd really like to work with you.” But Lira told Ross she had goosebumps the second he started that song.

The first episode of The Voice SA Season 3 was an emotional one which kicked off with the blind audition phase of the competition during which the four coaches sit with their backs to the stage to listen to the quality of the voices.

If they like what they hear, they push the buzzer to turn their red chair around. When only one chair turns, the coach secures the talent on stage for his or her team and when more than one chair turns, the coaches have to pitch their credentials to the talent to lure them onto their team.

When the end credits rolled at the end of last night's episode, Lira secured Ross Charles and Petro de Villiers for her team; Riana gained Lelo Ramasimong and Greunen Parker on hers; Riky Rick nabbed Joel Zuma and Keanu Harker and Francois van Coke hooked Sade Ross. This leaves coach Lira, Riana and Riky Rick with ten spots open on their teams, while Francois has 11.

The 39-year-old actor and singer, Joel Zuma from Pietermaritzburg, is the son of a bishop, who honed his singing talent in church.

He freely admitted that he had his sights set on working with Lira, and fortunately for Zuma both she and Riky Rick turned their chairs for his soulful rendition of that old Otis Redding standard, Try A Little Tenderness.

But in a surprise twist Zuma then chose to throw his fate in with #TeamRiky.

“I want somebody that wants to make me better, and takes me to another level,” he explained backstage.

The 23-year-old content developer Philip Hanly from Johannesburg was up next to compete for a place in The Voice South Africa Season 3.

He tore the stage up and delivered two classic soul classics which included his energetic pop performance of Walk The Moon's Shut Up and Dance.

But despite an overjoyed response from the studio audience, not one coach turned for him.

“I thought the pitching was a bit off,” Lira noted regretfully.

However Lira turned around for the 36-year-old construction worker from Cape Town, Petro de Villiers, performing Beyoncé's If I Were a Boy as an impassioned rock ballad. “I couldn't let you go home, you need to be on this show,” she said.

The 22-year-old session guitarist Keanu Harker from Belhar in the Cape brought some funk to the #TheVoiceSA stage with Bruno Mars' Treasure and earned a turn from Riky Rick, followed closely by Francois.

Francois insisted on hearing Keanu's guitar skills, which were equally impressive, “and you've got the dance moves, too”, Riky laughed. The two coaches pitched hard to get Keanu on their team, who threw his fate in with Riky Rick in the end.

The 25-year-old Phatiswa Magangane, a teacher and part-time singer from Springs, the daughter of a choir conductor who has a Bachelor of Music in Jazz, gave a stunning performance of Beyoncé's hit Naughty Girl.

But unfortunately this performance was not good enough and no coach turned around for her.

Sade Ross, a singing waitress from Cape Town, spoke courageously about her struggles with anxiety and depression, and then became the first member of #TeamFrancois with her delivery of Sia's Chandelier.

The 22-year-old Greunen Parker from Pretoria became a part of #TeamRiana after he delivered a passionate performance of the 1986 John Farnham hit You're The Voice. Seconds into her performance of Shawn Mendes' Mercy, all four coaches turned their chairs for the 32-year-old musical theatre actress Lelo Ramasimong.

“I turned first, I want you the most,” Riana pitched, and it worked!

The Voice South Africa premieres on M-Net 101 every Sunday at 17:30 and is repeated on VUZU, Channel 116, on Mondays at 20:00. It also be available on DStv CatchUp.



JEMIMA BEUKES

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