by Thinus Ferreira
The 17th season of Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) is switching to weekly gurst judges to fill the seat left vacant after the exit of controversial Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo.
The production company [SIC] Entertainment and M-Net executives decided to have weekly celebrity guest judges join UNathi Nkayi and Randall Abrahams for the series of live shows that is set to start this Sunday with the top 16 contestants.
Mzansi Magic says that the guest judges will be announced weekly.
It comes after Somizi Mhlongo exited Idols' current season as a judge after the scandal-riddled star was exposed following leaked BarLeaderTV production recordings from his now-estranged lover, Mohale Motaung.
Mohale Motaung claims that Somizi Mhlongo broke his ribs and almost knocked out teeth in a violent physical abuse incident in 2020; allegedly threatened Mohale with a kitchen knife, saying he would kill them both; and allegedly even tried to drive him off the road after an Idols afterparty.
Mohale Motaung and Somizi Mhlongo's tempestuous relationship has been marred by persistent rumours of infidelity and breakup ever since their over-the-top and tacky reality TV wedding series, Somizi & Mohale: The Union that was filmed for MultiChoice's Showmax video streamer in 2020.
Somizi Mhlongo and MultiChoice are also mired in drama over allegations that he allegedly stole and plagiarised the idea for the Dinner at Somizi's TV series from another creative, Hastings Moeng.
Somizi Mhlongo in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Friday morning, said the public has now become "audience to what has sadly become a breakup between two people laced by defamation, false but very serious accusations and interference from supposedly close and reliable sources".
He said "I have never been physically or knowingly abusive towards my estranged husband. I vehemently deny the allegations of criminal acts towards him and would like to clear my name of the defamation".
Mohale Motaung in a statement said that the leaked BarLeader TV recordings that were made in conversation with a producer of Living the Dream with Somizi, was him "laying case to reason why I would not want the details of our divorce to be used in the upcoming season of the reality show as this would affect the complete truth and furthermore, did not want the details thereof to be used for financial gain".
Mohale Motaung reiterated the alleged abuse he suffered from Somizi Mohale, saying "I did, in fact, experience abuse at the hands of my estranged husband, both physical and psychological. It is not my wish to seesaw my experience against his as he only has his conscience to reckon with".
In January this year the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) slammed Somizi Mhlongo in a strongly-worded statement over his attacks on and insults levelled against journalists.
Somizi attacked journalists after reports about his alleged infidelity and crumbling relationship and a legal battle over the canned Dinner at Somizi's TV show, after he was approached for comment but declined to comment.
SANEF said that Somizi's "actions have aggravated what is already a hostile working environment, especially for women journalists. This is a direct attack on media freedom in the country. Worldwide similar attacks are being meted out on journalists with the intent to silence their voices, especially that of women and the stories they tell."
"SANEF calls on Somizi Mhlongo to unreservedly apologise to these journalists and the public on all his social platforms for his unbecoming behaviour. He must call on his followers to stop harassing and intimidating them. Further, we call on the journalists to lay charges of intimidation and for MultiChoice to officially distance themselves from Mhlongo's comments."
ALSO READ: As Somizi Mhlongo abuse allegations swirl, Mzansi Magic doesn't tell DStv viewers on-screen about his upcoming absence as Idols judge; Mohale Motaung insists he 'experienced abuse both physical and psychological'.
ALSO READ: Somizi Mhlongo gone from Idols for now, exits Idols judge seat shortly after Metro FM gig following serious allegations of violent physical abuse.
ALSO READ: Somizi Mhlongo out at SABC's Metro FM after serious allegations of violent physical abuse, Idols role on M-Net's Mzansi Magic in jeopardy.