Bonang checks out hopeful candidates

Many bid for Live spot

MORE than 2,700 hopefuls queued for hours in Johannesburg in a bid to become the next Live presenter.

Organisers said thousands of aspirants tried their luck as auditions for the Live presenter - the popular SABC1 music show - kicked off in Newtown on Saturday.

The queue snaked around the Bassline building for a chance to impress the judges: (Live presenter) Bonang Matheba and producers of the show Sjula Dlamini, Dechaba Palatsi and Marvin Cohen.

Some had been there well before the 9am call time, with most contestants having arrived at 6.30am. The guest judge was former Live presenter Sizwe Dhlomo.

There will be various celebrity guest judges in each city.

Vukile Madlala, PR manager for SABC1, said she was excited about the turnout, which showed how popular the show continued to be.

Hopefuls initially had to upload their entries online but because of the massive interest applicants had technical difficulties with this.

"There were too many problems with online registrations, so we sent 2,700 messages for the people who registered to give them all a chance," Madlala said.

Those who entered were sent an SMS with all the relevant details of the auditions. Other SABC1 presenters pre-screened the applicants. The candidates who made it through that round will proceed to the main judges, who will decide whether they will go to the next stage of the process.

The auditions will take place in Durban today before proceeding to Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Only two of the contestants will be be selected to present Live.

Matheba said the process would be completed by the end of March in time for the winner to be trained for the SA Music Awards. Women outnumbered men in the contest and were dressed to impress, most in short skirts and sky-high heels. This was undoubtedly the Matheba style.

The feisty Matheba's wardrobe was not the only inspiration, with the judges reiterating that applicants ought not to copy the style of the popular hostess, but instead just be themselves.

"We need someone very strong to carry a show of this magnitude," Matheba said.

She said knowledge of the music industry is vital. Another requirement is fluency in one of the Nguni languages. The judges did not waste time on nervous applicants.

Once the auditions are complete, there will be a short list of 32. The final four will be voted for by viewers.