After garnering the bulk of the 16 million votes cast in the last week of Idols on M-Net and Mzansi Magic Karabo Mogane (24) from Mbombela in Mpumalanga was announced the winner of the 11th season of the reality singing competition on Sunday night in a live broadcast from Carnival City in Johannesburg.
Karabo Mogane triumped over Mmatema Moremi (23) from Zebiedela in Limpopo and wins a recording contract from Universal Music South Africa, as well as other prizes.
The first album of the former Stellenbosch student will be available within the next two weeks from 11 December, the quickest an Idols winner has ever released a debut album.
Karabo Mogane who will be in studio recording from 25 November to 1 December to record his album, plans to sing a wide range of music going forward.
Idols that was already renewed for a 12th season in 2016 a few months ago, set a new voting record this year with an astonishing 78.8 million votes cast, surpassing the 24.3 million votes of 2014's 10th Idols season.
Asked, M-Net declined to say specifically how many of the 16 million votes Karabo Mogane got during the final week to score the victory and said the specific voting figures would only be released next week.
"Right now, I'm excited, I don't know what's really happening, I'm really happy. And I thank God for the opportunity. For here forth I will release my album, gig as much as I can, make sure that I'm relevant and that people can see me," said Karabo Mogane on Sunday night.
He said he planned to invite all the other top contestants for a concert to Nelspruit to perform at the Mbombela Stadium for the community and to raise money for orphans and widows.
He said the Idols experience has changed him and his life tremendously.
"From where I was and where I am now my life has changed tremendously. I've become a better performer, I've learnt so much from all the mentors and going overseas and going to England for the very first time. Just a great experience," Karabo Mogane told TVwithThinus.
His advice for people who want to enter Idols in 2016 is "if it's your dream, own it. Live it, each and every single day. Whatever you confess with your mouth, if you keep on saying it and believe in it, it will come to pass regardless the circumstances."
"Don't look at your circumstances but always think ahead. See what you want to be, and it will come to pass," said Karabo Mogane.
He said he wants to use the prize money to renovate his parent's house and to buy his dad a car. "Even second-hand its fine, right?" he joked.
With the first season of The Voice South Africa starting in January on M-Net (DStv 101) the pay-TV broadcaster declined to say at the press conference on Sunday night whether the 12th season of Idols will again be shown on M-Net and Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) as a co-production or move to just Mzansi Magic next year.
"Idols has done phenomenally well on both M-Net and Mzansi Magic," said Gideon Khobane, the M-Net director for general entertainment channels.
"What we do know is there will be a season 12 of Idols next year and there will be The Voice SA next year. We haven't made any announcements yet or any final decisions regarding it. We just want to see how the last voting went and ratings. There's enough space in South Africa to do both shows because we've got so much talent," said Gideon Khobane.
Asked by TVwithThinus how the pay-TV broadcaster can explain the massive jump in voting from 24 million votes last season to almost 79 million votes this year, Nkateko Mabaso, the M-Net director for local entertainment channels said he attributes it to "how the Idols brand has grown".
"There's a lot more people who are obviously engaging with the brand, so that's the primary reason. The other reason is that the production company has done a tremendous job to put the show together and it just gets better every year," said Nkateko Mabaso.
"There's a much bigger audience out there," said Gavin Wratten, Idols' co-executive producer.
"Mzansi Magic has grown phenomenally well, so to be on both channels, you've got such a huge audience. Most of it is down to the contestants. The whole Top 10 this year worked incredibly hard. The better the contestants, the better the season."
M-Net said it will be making several announcements later this week regarding local shows and local productions on M-Net (DStv 101) and what the channel's plans are for the upcoming year.
Auditions for the 12th season of Idols will start on 30 January 2016 in Durban and then move to Pretoria (6 February), Johannesburg (28 February) and Cape Town (5 March).