Luyolo Yiba is new ‘Idol SA’

Luyolo Yiba
1178969828 Luyolo Yiba
Image: Gallo Images

King William’s Town singing sensation Luyolo Yiba, 25, is SA’s newest idol and millionaire.

In a first for the Eastern Cape, Yiba was crowned the winner of Idols SA season 15 at Carnival City, Johannesburg, on Sunday night.

Yiba went up against KwaZulu-Natal’s Sneziey Msomi, another fan favourite who won Mzansi’s hearts from the early stages of the competition.

“It’s unreal ... I just want to thank everyone who has been voting for me until now,” an overwhelmed Yiba said.

He  walked off with prizes to the value of R1m.

While Yiba was often identified by fans as the underdog, the singer’s star kept shining brighter, seeing him claim his rightful spot as the competition became stronger among contestants.

Fondly referred to as the John Legend of the competition, Yiba kicked off the show with Legend’s Green Light, to the fans’ delight.

While Yiba and Msomi went head to head on stage, their fans battled it out on the voting lines, with more than 36-million votes in the past week.

And, for the last time together on the Idols SA season 15 stage, Yiba and Msomi bade viewers farewell with a duet of Leona Lewis’s You Are the Reason.

Yiba said he would pursue afro-soul as his genre, but was open to many others.

“One of the best things I’ve learnt from Idols is versatility ... Idols has made us so versatile that you feel comfortable in any genre but there’s always that genre you really want and that for me is afro-soul,” he said.

This was after he serenaded viewers with his pop debut single Sunshine Through the Rain in the semifinals.

Yiba travelled to audition for the competition in Cape Town after his Port Elizabeth pop-up audition failed in February.

Before temporarily moving to Johannesburg for the duration of the competition, the Walter Sisulu University IT graduate worked for a software development company in East London.

“Coming to Idols was, for me, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that is singing and performing ... So this is what I want to do and I’m going to push for it,” he said.

When he secured a spot in the top 17, Yiba said he would use the competition to advance his music career until he could pursue it full time.

Asked what he believed his win meant for the Eastern Cape, he said: “I believe this has restored hope to those who have the gift of singing but [lack the means to make their reality].”

The top two’s stellar performances were accompanied by electrifying contributions by Vusi Nova, Sho Madjozi, DJ Zinhle, Samthing Soweto, Boity and more.

Yiba walked away with the following prizes: R350,000 in cash from Telkom, a Huawei GT smartwatch, a Huawei Mediapad, an M5 Lite tablet computer and a Huawei Wi-Fi router, 20GB of Telkom data preloaded, R350,000 in cash from Mzansi Magic, a brand new Ford Fiesta 1.0L Ecoboost, R300,000 cash in an Old Mutual money account, a R100,000 fashion voucher from Truworths, R80,000 worth of musical equipment from Yamaha and a recording deal with Gallo Records Company

Msomi won more than R180,000 worth of prizes including R50,000 in cash, a Huawei Mediapad T5 tablet computer, 5GB of Telkom FreeMe data preloaded, R50 000 cash in an Old Mutual money account, R50,000 in Truworths fashion vouchers and clothing from the show and R30,000 worth of musical equipment from Yamaha.

Idols SA is set to return in 2020, with auditions kicking off in Cape Town in February.