‘South Africa Idol’ boosts age limit to 30

Show now has highest age allowance in the world

JOHANNESBURG — Older singers with dreams of pop stardom are flocking to enter paycaster M-Net’s third “South African Idol” season after the age limit was raised to 30, making it the “Idol” show with the highest age allowance in the world.

Carl Fischer, M-Net’s head of local productions, said of the thousands of entries it had already received for “Idol III,” more than a third were from contestants older than 25, the age limit the previous two seasons.

“We are thrilled with this positive response to the new ‘Idol’ age limit of 30,” he commented. “We decided on a higher age limit this time because of demands from viewers. We had many queries about the age limit, so we thought we’d increase it to allow a different group the chance to shine.”

But the increased limit is already causing controversy, with one of the judges, South Africa’s “Mr. Nasty” Randall Abrahams, criticizing the move, saying that he personally will definitely be looking for a younger Idol.

This has caused many potential older contestants to wonder if they will just be wasting their time, but Fischer said everybody would be given a fair chance.

“That’s why Randall’s there. He’s brutally honest and not afraid to speak his mind. There could be some heated debate between the judges but they are all seasoned professionals. And between the four of them, we feel confident that the best will make it to the finals. And then it’s up to the public,” Fischer said.

Another judge, singer Mara Louw, has come out in support of increased age limit, saying “I think raising the age limit is a fantastic idea. Why can’t someone who’s 30 make it big? I know people far older than 30 who rock. We’re looking for talent, and there’s no age limit on that.”

The deadline for entries is Fridayand the first episode of the new season will be broadcast on M-Net on July 31.