Somizi Mhlongo is being added as the new and 4th Idols judge for the 11th season of the reality singing competition.
The flamboyant choreographer is being added to Idols returning the judges' panel to a four person team, the first time since Dave Thompson decided to leave South Africa and abruptly emigrate at the end of the 5th season of the show in 2009.
Somizi Mhlongo acted as one of the mentors during an episode in the 10th season of Idols in 2014.
"Somizi is pure showbiz - he understands what it takes for a performer to really engage an audience, over and above just the music," says Gavin Wratten, executive producer and director of Idols produced by [SIC] Entertainment. "We think his perspective will be an invaluable perspective in the judging process".
Besides his failed VUZU reality show which was cancelled and production halted before it was broadcast, Somizi Mhlongo was a talent show judge for two seasons of the reality show Dance Your Butt Off on SABC1.
Somizi Mhlongo , son of the late comedian Ndaba Mhlongo and veteran actress Mary Twala, has also choreographed several South African music videos and live productions, for instance the Miss South Africa beauty pageant on Mzansi Magic and the Channel O Africa Music Video Awards on Channel O.
"I will be judging the 'razzmatazz," says Somizi Mhlongo in a statement. "Contestants are warned: from now on a good voice alone isn't enough anymore - I'm going to want contestants who have showmanship!"
"Gareth Cliff, Randall Abrahams and Unathi Msengana are a fantastic judging team but we thought it would be valuable to add some extra 'zing' this year with South Africa's 'king of bling'," says Lani Lombard, M-Net's head of publicity.
Auditions for the 11th season of Idols kicked off today in Pretoria, followed by Cape Town auditions on 7 February at GrandWest Casino, Durban on 21 February at The Playhouse and the final auditions at Carnival City on 1 March.
Contestants have to be between 16 and 30 and need to take their ID to auditions.