What's Happening?


Nashville 2: Achy Breaky Hearts

Nashville’s second season sees Rayna’s love life become more complicated, writes Lesley Goldberg

With Nashville’s second season hot on the heels of its first, and premiering on M-Net tonight at 9.30pm, creator/executive producer Callie Khouri talks about whether Rayna and Deacon are on a path towards a romantic reunion and if an Avery-Juliette pairing is on the cards.

Rayna’s (Connie Britton) love life is growing more complicated by the minute. 
After splitting from Teddy (Eric Close) last season, the country music diva has revived her career thanks to bad-boy Liam (Michiel Huisman). This season she finds a new love interest in fellow star Luke (Will Chase) and, after a near-death car crash, still can’t shake her attraction to former flame Deacon (Charles Esten). While fans are still rooting for Rayna and Deacon to find solid footing again – they have a shared interest in the emotional (and musical) well-being of their daughter, Maddie (Lennon Stella) – each of the men around Rayna brings something positive to the singer’s life.
We caught up with Khouri, who discussed Rayna’s romantic interests, hope for romance with Deacon and what’s on the cards for Juliette (Hayden Panettiere), Avery (Jonathan Jackson) and Scarlett (Clare Bowen).

It seems like Rayna’s going to be getting a lot of loving this season (three so far). How will we see her love life further complicated?
It’s really nice to see her with these options. I think she’s a character that is really on a journey. Each of these guys represents a different aspect of herself. We’re enjoying having Luke around – she’s getting to be with a guy who is way less complicated than Deacon. He’s more of an equal for her. He’s someplace she can really be herself and all that she is. He knows what it’s like to be a superstar. She doesn’t owe Luke anything and he doesn’t owe her anything. Liam is the guy you hope somebody gets to have a fun fling with.
Rayna has been a traditional country music star for years. She reached a point where her audience wasn’t really responding to the last couple of albums. She had to reinvent herself, and Liam is a perfect person because he helps empower her.

Is a Rayna-Deacon reunion inevitable?
They’re parents together so they have to come to a workable relationship for Maddie’s sake for sure. We keep it fluid and loose, so we’ll see. We haven’t really decided.
Avery and Scarlett aren’t on the best footing right now.
No, they’re not. Scarlett is really floundering. Scarlett was a character who came to Nashville to be with her boyfriend, who disappeared before her very eyes and turned into somebody else. At the same time, she turned into somebody else. But it wasn’t like she moved to Nashville to be a country music superstar. She was a waitress and a poet and sang in church. She hadn’t even written songs before she met Gunnar. She’s got a lot to deal with.
How will we see Juliette and Avery’s relationship progress?
We keep a lot of the relationships very fluid. We like to see the chemistry with the characters and where they go. Even though we have long season arcs, we’re on an episode-to-episode basis.

How would you describe the season two finale?
Expect it to be very emotional this year. – Slate

Catch Nashville, Mondays on M-Net at 9.30pm 

Meet the cast of MTV's Beauty School Cop Outs

MTV has a new show, starting tomorrow, called Beauty School Cop Outs. Basically it's another trashy MTV show that will get us hooked. Remember how much people tuned into Jersey Shore, Geordie Shore, Teen Mom and other weird BBC Entertainment shows, TOWIE?  Well if you loved those shows, you'll love Beauty School Cop Outs

Here's more details about the show. 

*** Press Release***

These colourful wannabe beauticians will be guided by experts in a luxurious beauty salon where they’ll be given the chance of a lifetime: to kick start their beauty careers, and learn the intimate arts of waxing, shaving, tattooing – all while practicing on real customers. Ensuring we have an access all areas pass to action behind the scenes, the contestants will be shacked up together in a big house and will be sure to give the Geordie Shore cast a run for their money with their antics. If you love Geordie Shore you will LOVE this fabulous entertaining reality TV show, shining a light on a group of young wannabe beauticians who are on the journey of their lives. What could possibly go wrong?
One thing’s for sure – you’ll fall in love with the cast as you laugh with and at them on their journey to beauty greatness, starting from the bottom pulling hair from plugs and sweeping floors just like in the real world, witnessing their beauty casualties and triumphs along the way.
Meet the Boys:
Calvin – a Beyoncé obsessed drag queen who wants to learn all the make-up skills to enable him to pass on the ’drag legacy’
Daniel - aka ‘Protein Boy’, Daniel is a gym fanatic, phobic about fat people and is often mistaken for being gay so strict is his beauty regime.
Jeremy - an Irish model and lothario who would never miss his weekly manicure and lists looking good as his top priority in life.
Richard – club doorman Richard states that his body is a temple, and believes that working in a beauty salon could be great place to pull the ladies.
Meet The Girls:
Sacha - the baby of the group, Sasha is a barmaid who dreams of becoming a make-up artist to the stars; aided by a multitude of wigs and varying shades of tan she is forever changing her look.
Savannah – this self-confessed Barbie has all of her make-up tattooed on and says this was the most painful experience of her life - even more painful than breaking her arm - but obviously worth it to this beauty fiend.
Scarlett - not a fan of the natural look, Scarlett is a dancer who has been fake tanning since the age of 14 and dreams of one day having her own beauty range so other girls can look as fake and over the top as her.
Tara - always needing to be the centre of attention, Tara is the MILF of the academy who is not afraid to speak her mind leaving her unpopular with other girls and despite admitting having very shaky hands she thinks that beauty is the career for her.
Like it? Then tune in tomorrow on MTV at 8.30pm 

Great News- Bonang Matheba to host SAFTA Red Carpet

Finally some information! And great information too! 

Top Billing presenter, Bonang Matheba will be hosting the red carpet of the 8th South African Film and Television Awards.  She broke the news on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter a few minutes ago. 

Excited to be hosting this year's Red Carpet broadcast of the 2014 @SAFTAS1! 5th April, 19h00 on @SABC3! Yay! 
Like ·  ·  · 10616 · 8 minutes ago · 

The red carpet will be broadcast on SABC 3 at 7pm. And the awards will follow at 7.30pm. It's still a short time for a red carpet, but then we should be happy we are getting a pre-event red carpet. 

Thank goodness it's Bonang hosting the red carpet. It's no secret that she is one of the best presenters in South Africa and she's great when she presents live. We've seen her many times as host of, among-st other things, the Metro FM Awards, the South African Music Awards and also hosting various red carpet events, including the SAMAs and the J&B Met. 

Previous hosts of the SAFTA red carpet include Nonhle Thema, Jason Greer, Lerato Kganyago and make-up artist, Nthato Mashishi. 

The SAFTAs still haven't announced who the hosts of the awards are and we are waiting on them with baited breath. For the second biggest awards ceremony in South Africa, they sure take their time. 

Keep it locked on the blog and our social media sites (Twitter @SMtv_Guide and TVTag @SMtv) for updates. 

Meet Rolene Strauss- Miss South Africa 2014

Ziphozakhe Zokufa, Rolene Strauss and Matlala Mokoko
Last night on Mzansi Magic, we watched the Road to Miss SA finale, which took place at Sun City. 12 of the most beautiful ladies in South Africa vied to be crowned the 57th Miss South Africa. 

As we predicted, Rolene Strauss won the pageant, and was crowned Miss South Africa 2014 by Marilyn Ramos. Another one of our predictions, Ziphozakhe Zokufa, came second and Matlala Mokoko came third. It was a tough, especially since Ziphozakhe and Matlala sometimes looked stronger than Rolene, but then the Q&A sealed it. Her answer was impressive and what's great is that the top three is the strongest in years. 

We ran an article in the SM Magazine yesterday about Miss South Africa and if people should still care about. We had expert comment from Andre Sleigh of Eye For Beauty. He also wanted the Rolene, Zipho and Matlala to be the top three. 

Throughout the three months of The Road to Miss SA we saw just how the pageant had changed. The added social media aspect, where the finalists updated their fans of what was happening in the run up to the crown, was clever. 

Now when it comes to relevance, after last night's show, we think that the pageant is back. Slowly but surely its relevance will come back and with Melinda Bam in charge, and a worthy winner in Rolene, we are certain it will be. 

Now the small matter of having the pageant broadcast on a free-to-air channel. I would suggest SABC 3. When more people in SA watch the pageant and know who the winner is, then maybe the winner will be relevant again. 

Congratulations to Marilyn, the medicine student at University of Free State. 

PICTURES: Sun International 


Miss South Africa 2014- All the details

One of these 12 finalists, will be Miss South Africa 2014

The 57th Miss South Africa will be crowned on Sunday. 12 finalists are in the running for the crown, where the reigning Miss South Africa, Marilyn Ramos will finally hand it over. 

Marilyn Ramos
Melinda Bam
For nearly three months, we've been tuning into Mzansi Magic's The Road to Miss SA where the finalists were put through their paces in America's Next Top Model-esque challenges. Expresso's Elana Afrika hosted the show and will also have the honour of hosting Miss South Africa on Sunday on Mzansi Magic from 5.30pm. 

Performing at the spectacle will be Matthew Mole, Bucie and fan favourites, Mi Casa will be performing. Rumour has it that most of the former Miss South Africa's will be present at the crowning, with Bokang Montjane, Tatum Keshwar, Claudia Henkel, Cindy Nell and Melinda Bam, being spotted at various Miss SA events during the lead up to the crown. 

Melinda Bam will obviously be there as the National Executive of the pageant. 

The judges are Anele Mdoda, Bonang Matheba, Pnina Fenster, Kojo Baffoe and former Miss SA, Amy Kleinhans Curd. 

In the SM Magazine this Sunday, Buhle Mbonambi has written an article about the waning interesting in Miss SA and whether we should care about it. Check it out as it's very revealing at how important the Miss South Africa pageant is worldwide. 

We have our favourites and we think it's between these two ladies at the bottom:

Rolene Strauss and Ziphozakhe Zokufa. 

But with that said, good luck to all the ladies and let's hope the winner will be visible and will take the brand to a higher level and be a great ambassador to the country. 

Tune in on Sunday at 5.30pm on Mzansi Magic. 

The 8th SAFTAs to be Broadcast on SABC 3

SABC 3 has the honour (is it really?) of broadcasting the 8th edition of the South African Film and Television Awards. 

The awards will be taking place next Saturday, 5 April 2014 in Johannesburg. The awards will be broadcast on SABC 3 from 7.30pm. There is still no word on whether there will be a red carpet ceremony, who the host will be.

The host of the awards still hasn't been announced too, which is a shame as doing pre-event interviews was going to be fun. I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

To see the full nominees lists for TV (here) and Film (here) and also what we think of the awards here


The TV Snitch: AHS, Pilot Season, Vat & Sit and SA Channels

Buhle Mbonambi talks the good, the bad and the interesting on our TV screens

American Horror Story: Carnival? 

The setting for the next season of American Horror Story, has been revealed after AHS writer and co-executive producer, Douglas Petrie, let slip that the fourth season will be set in a carnival. While it doesn’t have a title yet, we know three things about the next season: that it’s set in the 50s, in a carnival and the lead actress, Jessica Lange, is learning to speak German. I’m looking forward to it, especially since I don’t like carnivals and circuses and this could mean someone is finally writing really scary, horrific stories about creepy clowns. Now that scares me even more. And with Lange likely to be the ring mistress, it’s going to be a crazy season. 

TV Pilot Season boasts Oscar worthy stars

This year’s pilot season has seen more movie stars move to TV. Not that it’s surprising – TV is really where it’s at now. Whether it’s a mini-series, a drama or a high brow comedy, TV is now becoming a medium where actors get to play roles where their range is seen to its full potential and this includes Oscar winners and nominees. Two-time Oscar nominee, Viola Davis has signed on to star in Shonda Rhime’s How to Get Away With Murder. Halle Berry is starring in Steven Spielberg’s Extant; Octavia Spencer is starring in another Spielberg production, Red Band Society, while Julia Roberts has a role on Ryan Murphy’s HBO TV movie Normal Heart. Besides Spielberg, Lee Daniels is also directing and producing a TV series, Empire, starring Oscar nominee, Gabourey Sidibe. David O Russell, who directed American Hustle, was also involved in a TV series, The Club, starring Callie Hernandez and Chris Conroy, but pulled out a few weeks ago. 

More shows with interesting premises are getting the green light and TV can only be richer. It’s the golden age of TV and it’s great to see it go back to the glory of the 90s. As Cougar Town and Scrubs creator told Vulture last week: “My hope is that TV becomes more and more about quality, and less about an arbitrary ratings system.”

e.TV’s new comedy: Vat & Sit
Shacking up is always an interesting thing to me. Why do people do it? Why do you live like a married couple, but you aren’t married? I guess I’m a prude. Anyway, since it’s such a common occurrence around the world, especially in South Africa where lobola negotiations can take many years, e.tv has decided to air a comedy about shacking up. Titled Vat & Sit, the comedy will air from April 16 on eKasi+ and e.tv. It stars Liopelo Maphathe and Trevor Gumbi as lovers who move in together. She’s royalty and he’s a loser and he moves in to stay in her garage. I was invited to visit the set and was able to watch one scene being shot. For 20 minutes we watched as Liopelo and Trevor (as Mpho and Themba) act out an awkward shower scene, but sadly we got thrown out by the assistant director because we made the actors uncomfortable. While I can empathise (they were virtually half naked), surely they knew we were coming and could have chosen a better scene, one where they are not nearly naked? Anyway, judging from that scene, I don’t know if it’s going to be a great show. While Liopelo and Trevor are proven comedy actors, Black Brain Pictures, who are producing the show, haven’t had great form lately, with their last production being the terrible Ses’Top La. But we can only hope that it’s a solid production.

A Short Open Letter to SA Channels
It’s nearly a year since the excellent dramas, Orange Is the New Black and Orphan Black were seen on American TV screens and it’s ridiculous that local channels still haven’t acquired them. Orange is a Netflix drama, while Orphan is a BBC America sci-fi drama. Both these shows are excellent and made the Top 10 lists of last year’s best shows for many critics, including the SMtv team. Even with us suggesting to the channels that they need to acquire these shows, they haven’t. Instead, they acquire bad shows like Sean Saves the World and The Michael J Fox Show, both of which were cancelled. So if you can, get on to YouTube or Netflix and stream these two shows. They are excellent and the new seasons will be back in a few weeks. 

Interview with Dracula

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is well cast as Dracula, writes Sarah Hughes

The first time I meet Jonathan Rhys Meyers he has been filming all day in 40ºC heat with ice packs strapped underneath his three-piece suit to stay cool. Playing the lead in a new version of Dracula, an ambitious co-production between the US network NBC and the UK’s Sky Living, has meant nearly seven months’ solid work, and he is understandably not overwhelmed about filling in his time with interviews before flying to London for a short break.
That’s not to say he isn’t polite and informative – he is. But there’s an unavoidable sense that he’d rather be anywhere but here, no matter how detailed his answers.
Flash forward three months, and the 36-year-old Irishman seems as rejuvenated as Count Dracula after a long drink of blood. 
“It was very gruelling, but that’s the job,” he says, before acknowledging that he might not have been the easiest of company during filming. “I didn’t break character for seven months. So I would work in the day and then I’d go home and read a little, meditate and go to sleep and then wake up the next day and do the same thing all over again.”
It didn’t help that this version of Dracula requires Rhys Meyers to play not just the vampire but also Vlad Tepes, the man Dracula once was, and Alexander Grayson, the charming US industrialist he is now pretending to be. “It was quite isolating, because of the nature of the character,” he admits. “But then good things are never easy, and I like this, it’s a good thing.”
Whether you agree with this assessment will depend on how high your tolerance is for sumptuous dramas featuring evil aristocrats, naïve young girls and tormented monsters seeking vengeance. Mine is pretty high and I thoroughly enjoyed Dracula’s opening episode, which pays homage both to Bram Stoker’s gothic source material and to adaptor Cole Haddon’s comic book roots, with a bold colour-filled vision.

Its world is one in which barbs are traded with a smile, and female huntresses practise their sword skills in front of caged vampires, and it probably owes more to the Hughes brothers’ unfairly maligned 2001 Jack the Ripper drama From Hell than Francis Ford Coppola’s sedate, stylised 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
“I didn’t want it to be staid,” says Rhys Meyers. “I wanted to play someone vicious and vengeful and sometimes kind… because the tiny bit of him that’s human – that’s the story, not the monster.”
There is something raw and a bit vulnerable about Rhys Meyers, a sense that he feels everything strongly. Asked whether he worries about the comparisons to Draculas past, who include Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman and Willem Dafoe, he admits that he had doubts: “I did think: ‘Am I really going to be able to do this?’ Because I’m only going to get compared to every actor before me…”
He believes that the key to his Dracula is that “he’d like to die… we all fear death because it’s the unknown. But if you had to live for that length of time, you really would wish for death; for peace. I think that the length of human life is what makes it so exciting, that fact that it’s going to end.”
Similarly, Dracula/Vlad/ Grayson’s appeal is that “He’s the hero, but the hero must die otherwise he’s not the hero. Heroes don’t get to go home and have the prom queen. Heroes die on the beach.”
That might seem a somewhat fatalistic outlook, but death is very much on Rhys Meyers’s mind: his best friend and his grandfather died while he was filming in Budapest. “I went back and put them to rest, and then I took all that pain and emotion and shot it out into the cameras as much as possible. The thing is, sometimes life just is that conflicted and that painful. And that’s okay because I’ve had lots of joy and lots of luck in my life. Yes, I’ve had a little bit of pain, but I’ve also had lovely people around me, good friends and family.”
Certainly, Rhys Meyers is aware more than most of fame’s vagaries. For there was a time when he was the next big thing; the boy most likely. An eye-catching turn in Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine in 1998 bought him to Hollywood’s attention. Yet A-list recognition never quite arrived, and his highest-profile role remains the unlikely but hugely charismatic Henry VIII in The Tudors.
There’s no doubting his talent – he was heartbreaking as the troubled brother of Clive Owen’s gangster in I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, compelling as a social climber in Woody Allen’s uneven Match Point, and perfectly cast as the|hip-shaking king of rock ’n’ roll in the 2005 television movie Elvis – yet his unearthly looks can be a curse as well as a blessing. Certainly, it’s easier to believe in him as an otherworldly emissary than as the boy next door. As Dracula’s producer, Christopher Hall, jokingly remarked: “Jonny has something of the night about him.”

Rhys Meyers doesn’t appear too affronted. “Yes, I’m cast as a vampire because I look like one…” He laughs and then adds: “No, I can convey conflict because I’m a guy who lives in conflict a lot of the time. It’s not something I have to search for. That sense of looking for some sort of peace, some sort of balance, is evident regardless of what I do.”
At this point it’s hard not to be reminded of Rhys Meyers’s own demons. His problems with drink have been well documented. His most recent stint in rehab came in 2011, and when he says of Dracula, “I see him as somebody affected with a terrible illness that has no cure… I absolutely believe it’s a metaphor for addiction”, it is with a sense of self-knowledge hard won.
He recently finished work on a thriller, Panda Eyes, and plans to take the rest of the year off: “I just want to go out in the world, because you can’t go from film to film to film without going out and living your life. So I’m going to paint and write music and just…”
“Relax?” I suggest with a hint of disbelief. He smiles. “Correct. I’m just going to relax for a little while.”

Dracula airs Mondays on M-Net Series Showcase at 10pm.

The Fixer Star Columbus Short Arrested After Bar Fight

Anthony McCartney

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Columbus Short, a lead actor on the television series Scandal (The Fixer), was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge that he seriously injured a man during an altercation at a restaurant earlier this month.

Short was arrested by police in Claremont on a warrant issued in a case that alleges he committed a battery that caused serious bodily harm.

The actor was involved in a dispute with a man at a West Los Angeles restaurant March 15 before Short hit the man and knocked him out, according to Los Angeles police and prosecutors. Further details about the altercation were not released.

Short, 31, plays attorney Harrison Wright on ABC's hit series Scandal. Records show he was released Wednesday after posting $50,000 bail. If convicted, Short faces up to four years in state prison. A date for his initial court appearance has not yet been set.

A phone number for Jeff Jacquet, Short's attorney in another criminal case, had a full voicemail box, and a message sent via fax was not immediately returned.

Short was charged Feb. 14 with misdemeanor spousal battery and has pleaded not guilty in that case. A judge ordered him to stay away from his wife, Tuere Short, at a March 5 court hearing. Records show she filed for divorce last year but dismissed her petition earlier this year.

Columbus Short, who also starred in the 2007 film Stomp the Yard, was charged with felony battery in June 2010 and pleaded no contest to the reduced charge of disturbing the peace in February 2011. He was placed on three years of informal probation and not to threaten or use violence on anyone. Court records show he paid his fines and resolved the case without issue.

Has Revenge lost the plot?

The 2011/2012 season was one of the best in recent memory. One of the shows to come out of that year was ABC's Revenge- a Count of Monte Cristo premised drama/soapy starring Emily van Camp and created by Mike Kelley. 

Revenge was all that we wanted from a drama. It was dramatic, had shock moments and we rooted for the protagonist, Emily Thorn aka Amanda Clarke. We loved it as she brought down her enemies, the people who had betrayed her father, one by one. From the public embarrassment of Lydia by Queen Victoria Grayson, which meant she was banished from the Hamptons, to bringing down hedge fund king, Bill Harmon and Dr. Michelle Banks, who subjected her to juvenile detention. The red sharpie and the elimination of almost all the people who did her wrong, plus winning over the Grayson's son, Daniel was the course of the first season. With the help of her friend and the only person who knows her true identity, Nolan Ross, Emily was the new queen of the Hamptons and she was exacting revenge on people who deserved it. But the end of season one revealed that it wasn't the Grayson's that were responsible, but the Initiative. And then the most shocking of all, Victoria and Lydia died. And Charlotte tried to commit suicide. 

I now wish season 2 never happened. Season 2 ruined everything about Revenge. It became a ridiculous show, with even more ridiculous story lines  It turns out Emily's mother was alive and married to the man who tried to kill her during season one. Victoria wasn't dead and it turns out the Initiative was actually in the control of Conrad Grayson and all the 'fear' it brought them, was all fake. Then they killed 'Amanda Thorne', which was a mistake. They brought a new love interest for Emily, Aiden, which then messed everything up for her, Jack and Daniel. And Ashley? Well they never knew exactly what to do with her, eventually writing her out. They also wrote out Declan Porter. Now Charlotte Grayson didn't have someone who understood her. Jack lost a wife and a brother in one season. Nolan fell in love with the wrong person, who was 'controlled' by the Initiative and landed him in jail. Then Takeda was killed and everything became even more of a mess. It's so surprise that Mike Kelley decided to leave the show after the second season.

Season three started out well. Emily's revengenda was back in full force, targeting people who betrayed her father. The red sharpie was back! But then it started unraveling again. The Grayson's didn't trust her, even though she was finally getting married to their son.  She had to stay at least three steps ahead every time and then she also now had to deal with Victoria's long lost son, Patrick. Patrick is dating Nolan and it's a messy situation for both Victoria and Emily. Then Lydia comes back from the dead, Daniel shoots Emily on their wedding night and Emily's plan to bring down Victoria doesn't work. Now she has amnesia and is in a messy situation. 

The show returns tonight for the rest of the season and we can only hope that it gets better. Actually that it gets back to season one glory. It needs to. I'm just thinking how this show should've been a 12 episode mini-series. It would have been awesome and justice would've been served. Right now, Revenge is disappointing and we so wish it wasn't. I guess Sunil Nayar has his work really cut out for him to rescue the show. 

Catch Revenge tonight on M-Net at 5.30pm 

Clash of the Choirs 2- Judges, ChoirMasters and the Host

It's music reality competition time again and soon our TV's are going to be just about the music competitions. Well, not really, but you get what we mean. So from Sunday, 13th April 2014 at 5.30pm, on Mzansi Magic the show returns and promises to blow us all away. 

Mzansi Magic recently confirmed that the season one judges of Clash of the Choirs are returning for a second season, which is great as they mostly did a great job. Even though sometimes we were pissed with their critique, the top three were all worthy of the crown. 

Bonang Matheba will also, once again, grace our screens on another channel, as host of Clash of the Choirs. She has been travelling with the production team, Endemol, going to all the auditions around the country. 

There are new choir masters this season and I could easily say they are a notch up from last season's team. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but Bra Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, was rather disappointing last year and the judges found it very hard to critique him, without feeling like they were disrespecting a legend. 

This year's choirmasters are Liquideep’s Ziyon, Malaika’s Tshedi, HHP, Robbie Malinga, Moneoa, Simphiwe Dana and Skwatta Kamp's Lebogang “Shugasmakx” Mothibe. It's an interesting group of choirmasters. Ziyon, Tshedi and Shugasmakx are/were all in groups. The rest are solo artists (Robbie Malinga is mostly a producer). Even though Moneoa is the youngest choirmaster, she's talented and if Khaya Mthethwa did it and won the competition, she could easily do the same. 

Even better is that musical maestro, RJ Benjamin is back as musical director, which is awesome! He's a great source of advice and he got more acclaim last year when he sang bass on Idols as Bunny performed Proud Mary. Thank goodness they kept him on. 

Bring on 13 April!

I Want to Sing Gospel Returns for a Third Season

SABC 2's gospel music reality competition is back for a third season. After a three year absence, the talent search returns tonight with a revamp and new faces at its helm. After a rather disappointing second season, things needed to be drastically changed and luckily for viewers, they have been changed. Thabo Mdluli, who hosted the first two seasons, has been replaced with 7de Laan actress and former Top Billing presenter, Salamina Mosese. There are three news judges- Ntokozo Mbambo, Sipho Makhabane and Tshepo Nzimande. Lindelani Mkhize will now be playing a mentor-ship role, like Jimmy Iovine on past seasons of American Idol. 

The Host
Salamina Mosese is an actress and presenter. Currently playing the role of Nthabi on SABC 2's 7de Laan, Salamina has been in the entertainment industry since she was 15. With roles on Backstage, a presenting stint on Top Billing and a SAFTA winning performance on Abomzala, she's carved herself as one talented actors and presenters in the country. She shies away from the whole celebrity game, which makes her very refreshing. 
She takes over from Thabo Mdluli as the host of the third season of I Want to Sing Gospel and we hope that she'll be as impressive as she was on Top Billing, albeit it being a very different format. 
She is married to a singer/actor, Tshepo 'Howza' Mosese, so she knows the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. 
Will she impress as host? I guess we'll have to wait and find out. 

The Judges

Ntokozo Mbambo is an award winning gospel singer, who boasts one of the biggest voices in South Africa. A diva in her own right, she's one of the best gospel singers South Africa has ever seen and heard. A former member of the award winning Joyous Celebration, she has been in the music industry for more than ten years. Long expected to be judge of one of South Africa's many singing competitions,  I Want to Sing Gospel, snapped her up and luckily for her (and the show) gospel music is her forte. As a former vocal coach of Joyous Celebration, Ntokozo will be an invaluable source of advice for the contestants and it will be in their favour to heed her advice, even more so than the other judges. 

Sipho Makhabane is another award winning gospel musician, a legend of the genre. Having won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the SABC Crown Gospel Awards, Makhabane has a wealth of knowledge about the genre. An avid talent spotter, he has signed popular gospel artists like Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Thobekile and Israel Mosehla, Makhabane, like Ntokozo is a worthy judge for I Want to Sing Gospel. Kudos on SABC 2 for getting him involved. As both a musician, producer and label boss, Makhabane knows what the industry wants. 

Tshepo Nzimande is a record label boss, which has boasted artists like Lundi Tyamara, S'fiso Ncwane and more in its stable. The only non-singer, Nzimande is a surprising, but clever choice for judge as he won't only be looking at the singing, but also the marketability of the contestants. It's a singing competition, but if the winner cannot be marketed, there's no point in them winning. We are, sadly, seeing that with Idols winner, Musa. Nzimande has done a great job with marketing singers signed under his label. His advice will also be invaluable. 

Lindelani Mkhize stays on the show as the contestants' mentor, which is a great move as he runs one of the best gospel groups in the country. 

The Prize 
The winner of the 3rd season of I Want To Sing Gospel will walk away with a prize money of R200 000.00 and a lucrative recording contract deal. 

Episode Highlights

Episode 1 – East London Auditions (Top 5 from the region will be selected)
Episode 2 – Durban Auditions (Top 5 from the region will be selected)
Episode 3 – Johannesburg Auditions (Top 5 from the Johannesburg auditions will be selected
Episode 4 – Announcement of the top 15 contestants 

Catch the show tonight, on SABC 2 at 7.30pm 


Amanda du Pont is Walking Tall

Amanda Du Pont is finally getting her due. Buhle Mbonambi spoke to the Task Force actress and RGB presenter

Amanda Du Pont is real. She’s so real that what was supposed to be a simple Q&A turned into a conversation on life, the entertainment industry and how being fickle doesn’t work. 
It’s the day before the 13th Metro FM Music Awards and Du Pont and I are backstage. She’s rehearsing for the black carpet, while also waiting to rehearse presenting an award. I knew Amanda wasn’t tall, but that’s an understatement. When I tell her this, she laughs. 
“You know, I always get asked where my parents are at the airport, because I apparently look 15. Like, haven’t they ever seen a short girl before?” 
She’s faced this in her career too, she says. “People always want to cast me as a teenager or a student, just because I look young. It’s irritating.”

Isidingo’s Pearl Thusi appears, swoops down and gives her a hug. “You’ll kill it tomorrow, you sexy thing, you,” she says, her cackling laughter filling the space. 
Amanda smiles, rolls her eyes and says: “Pearl’s amazing. I wish I had her energy.” 
Remembering comments from people about her making enemies with the “It Girls” of the industry now that success has found her, she says, “It was the biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard. I like Pearl, Lerato, Bonang. They work hard. Why would I hate them? 
“I’m not about to create this alter ego just so I can look good in interviews. Or to be controversial. I’m being me.” 

Amanda has been in the industry for more than a decade but is only now getting roles and respect. “It’s been really tough for me. I’ve been working very hard and people don’t realise that I’ve been down and out so many times. I got my big break with Muvhango and after that I thought roles will be coming my way. They weren’t.” 

In 2012 she went to New York for a year and joined the New York Film Academy. “That gave me the experience I need as an actress. Making it in the industry is very difficult. I struggled for years, so it’s  great things are picking up now.” 

Last year Amanda was cast in Intersexions, End Game, Task Force and also shot a movie, Between Friends. “We shot the movie at Ithala Game Reserve and it recently premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. It will be released in South Africa soon. It’s in the same vein as Why Did I Get Married and the Best Man movies.
“I was a supporting character, but the director and producers were so happy with the way I portrayed her that they bumped me up to co-lead, with Thapelo Mokoena. I keep looking back at the years I struggled and can’t believe all this is happening after so long.”

In Task Force, which is her latest role on TV, she plays Christelle Ndlovu, the wife of the lead, Joseph. “She’s a chemist, but she’s dabbling in drugs. Joseph is a detective and is trying to crack this drug trafficking case and he’s not aware that she’s involved in it.” 
Christelle died in the first episode, but all is not as it seems. “I can’t reveal much, but she may or may not be dead. I guess people will find out in the finale.” 

Amanda says Task Force was a great role, especially since she played a pivotal character. “It’s a great story and I love what the writers did with the character. Christelle has depth and she’s a very crafty person, sneaky and selfish. I loved that about her. I asked for a meatier role and they gave me a meatier role, which I’m forever grateful for.”

Working alongside some of the best actors in the country on Task Force, like Rapulana Seiphemo and Florence Masebe, was a dream come true. “When we wrapped the show, Rapulana came and told me he was impressed with my acting skills and said he initially had his doubts on whether I was the right person for the role. I cried after that. 
“He’s one of the best actors in the country and he just paid me a compliment? Oh, I let the tears out.”

A day later, Amanda is working the Metro FM Music Awards black carpet like a pro. A big smile, a few jokes, some awkward questions, but mostly she’s the epitome of gracefulness as she interviews celebrity guests. 
“I’m an actress before anything and when I’m presenting I need to work very hard. 
“It’s always putting yourself out there, but as I said earlier, I’m not going to create an alter ego just so people can like me. This is me. Here I am. Accept me as I am.”


MTV Africa Music Awards to be held in Durban

After four years of silence, the fourth MTV Africa Music Awards will be in Durban on Saturday, 7 June 2014 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. 

The awards were announced at a press conference, where Alex Okosi (MD of Viacom Africa) alongside Desmond Golding (HOD of Dept of Economic Development and Tourism) and Conor McQuaid( Absolut vodka) broke the news to journalists at the SKY Venue at Southern Sun Maharani. 

Golding, Okosi and McQuaid (picture via @kuliroberts)
The awards are being held for the first time since 2010. They were launched in 2008 and due to the "economic downturn" the awards were discontinued. Until today. And for the first time, they will be going out live on MTV Base on the 7th June.  There will also be a special "Road to the MAMA's" TV show on MTV Base leading up to the awards. 

Artists present at the press conference included Da Les, DJs Tira and Black Coffee, Christie from The Arrows, Flavour, and Mi Casa. Zakes Bantwini was spotted, but had to leave early. 

Artists present with Tim Horwood (left) Picture: @MTVBaseAfrica
Desmond Golding from the KZN Depart of Economic Development and Tourism said that he wants Durban to be the home of major events. "Last year our slogan was "KZN Rocks" now it's 'We continue to rise'. Our aim is to make Durban a major player when it comes to hosting global events."

He added that the awards are once again another opportunity to showcase the beauty of Durban and KZN as a whole. "We hope that these awards will also help our artists, especially when it comes to skill transfers. We did it with the Africa All Stars last year when we brought all the major African stars and Snoop Lion and we will do it again. We want African musicians to feed off each other and that will lead to growth in the African music industry as a whole."

Tim Horwood, MTV Base channel director said that the MTV MAMA's are all about the artists. "It's all about showing the best of African artists to the world. It's all about the music that Africa is giving to the world and when we started MTV Base in 2005, no one was showcasing African music to the world. So the MAMA's are back and will fully showcase just how great the continent's music is." 

Artists eligible for entry will have to have had new music/videos playlisted and screened on MTV and MTV Base channels from 20 March 2013 to 19 March 2014. 

Durban has been a popular place for awards ceremony lately. In the past three weeks, it has hosted the 13th Metro FM Music Awards, the 1st Royalty Soapie Awards and now the 4th MTV Africa Music Awards in June. 

There will be thirteen award categories; with three new lifestyle/special awards (“MAMA Leadership Award” and “Personality of the Year”.  A special award, “Transform Today by Absolut) being added to the original categories. 

Here are the categories that artists stand to be nominated in:

Artist of the Year
Best Male
Best Female
Best Group
Best Video
Song of the Year
Best Anglophone
Best Francophone
Best Lusophone
Best International
MAMA Legend
Best Performance

The nominees will be announced on 16 April 2014.

Here are other comments from the MTV Mama head honchos and sponsors: 

Commented Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, “We are thrilled that the MTV Africa Music Awards KwaZulu-Natal will be taking place in South Africa for the first time in its new evolution. KwaZulu-Natal Province is rich in both infrastructure and amazing sights, and we are excited that Durban will be the backdrop for showcasing Africa’s best talent to the world.”

Commented Desmond GoldingHead of Department of Economic Development & Tourism, KwaZulu-Natal Province, “After the major success of the MTV Africa All Stars event in Durban last year we are delighted to welcome MTV Base and the MAMAawards to KwaZulu-Natal this June. KwaZulu-Natal including Durban is the premier home for major events in South Africa. Our success and reputation in staging these ground-breaking events has ensured that the contribution to economic growth and tourism stimulation continues to be ever on the rise.”

Conor McQuaid, Managing Director, Pernod Ricard South Africa, commented: “Each generation there are a handful of artists who leave a transformative mark, and the MTV Africa Music Awards most certainly celebrates those artists who are at the cutting-edge of the thriving music industry here on the African continent. As a brand Absolut has continuously pushed the boundaries of contemporary culture through creative collaborations with artists such as Andy Warhol, Spike Jonze and Swedish House Mafia. So we are thrilled to be associated with these awards that celebrate artists who define and transform the musical zeitgeist of Africa.”