Unathi, the sweetest of the Idols judges
SHE is the sweetest Idols judge. She hugs and cries and is not brutal like Randall Abrahams and Gareth Cliff, her co-judges.
Unathi Msengana admits that pity is her weakness.
"It is not easy being an Idols judge. You deal with all sorts of people.
"Some come to the show for validation, some to fulfil childhood dreams and others come just for fun. Telling them that they don't cut it is very difficult."
The 33-year-old mother of two says she enjoys every Idols moment, but it has not been easy.
The Metro FM DJ says some people thought she was too young to be a judge.
"Some people thought I did not earn my right to be a judge and that I could not sing.
"But Idols chose me because I made a career in music and on radio. "
The Rhodes University journalism graduate says Idolshas validated her decision.
"People said you cannot do radio and be a musician at the same time, butIdols validated the decisions I made in the past 10 years."
She says her second season of Idols was better than the first.
"I was pregnant and overwhelmed. I cried every day. After giving birth to my girl, there were days when I had to breastfeed in between breaks."
Msengana, who grew up in Namibia and the UK, says the show has changed her life.
"Where I grew up, there were no race issues. Coming back home and working in radio and television, I realised that they were target-market specific. With Idols, our only interest is the winner. Race, religion and age don't matter."
Her weirdest moments in Idols were when a contestant that her co-host hated and she loved was eliminated.
"He blamed me and said I turned his life into a misery. Once, a person arrived in adult nappies while another came in a gown."
She says that she is not a celebrity.
"I am a broadcaster and a musician. I am not my work, but it is part of who I am. When I am away from the public eye, I am a daughter, a mother and a daughter-in-law.
"I went to varsity for four years and came back with two degrees because I wanted to be known for my work. I do not mix business with pleasure."
Her mother inspires her.
"She went from being a domestic worker to having a Masters in English. She now works in the Office of the President. She taught me to separate business and personal life."
She loves being married to 5FM DJ Thomas Msengana, popularly known as Bad Boy T. "Being in the same industry works for us. We understand each other.
"When it is time to give attention to the people who support my career, he gives me space. I do the same."