5 ‘Idols SA’ scandals that shocked TV viewers

Cape Town – Idols SA might be a singing competition, but it’s still a reality show. And like any good reality show, there is lots of drama on and off-camera.

With a fifteen-season history, the show has gone through an evolution – from switching up presenters to several new judges. It moved from exclusively being on M-Net to Mzansi Magic, and there was even an Afrikaans season on kykNET.

One of the longest-running shows on television, there have been some ups and downs.

Here are 5 of the biggest scandals to have hit the show.


In January 2011 M-Net announced that Mara Louw would not return on the judging panel for the seventh season. This came after the veteran was reportedly appeared drunk on camera. Mara went on to apologise for the incident and revealed that she drank an energy drink, vodka and had taken strong medication for a broken toe before the episode was filmed. She went on to explain that the combination of it all made her act out of character.


For season five, there wasn’t one but two winners. During the season finale, Sasha Lee Davids has announced the winner. Four days later M-Net announced that there was a glitch in the voting system and that Jason Hartman was, in fact, the real winner. The broadcaster went on to crown them both winners and the prizes were doubled.


Ahead of the season twelve auditions M-Net fired judge Gareth Cliff after he made controversial race comments. The shock jock went on to sue the broadcaster for unfair dismissal and defamation. He wanted his job back and R25 million for defamation and breach of contract. Hours before the first rounds of auditions were about to kick off Gareth won his bid to be reinstated as a judge on the show. Just before the season finale, however, Gareth announced that after being a judge on the show for eleven seasons he would be leaving the show.


In 2016 one of the top 16 contestants was axed from the show after a record company revealed that they had a contract with her. 23-year-old full-time musician Siyakha Tshayela, however, told producers that while she had discussions with the independent record label, she didn’t sign a contract. Due to conditions stipulated by the Idols format rights holder, the broadcaster had to let the contestant go as she was involved in a legal dispute.


In another first on the show the season 13 runner-up, Mthokozisi Ndaba did not congratulate winner Paxton Fieles during the live broadcast and refused to attend the post-show press.

The broadcaster told the press that Mthokozisi was composing himself.

In an interview with DRUM in 2018, the 27-year-old revealed that he just wanted to be alone and cry after losing the competition.

He also told the publication that he was homesick and there was too much pressure.

“I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to pull out of the competition, but the Idols team said no.”