Will street smarts or spirit pave way to ‘Idols’ glory?

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They were both crowd favourites and it is impossible to predict who will become South Africa’s latest Idol .

Vincent Bones and Bongi Silinda have had the last chance to impress the public; the votes have been cast.

Will it be the former street kid, Bones, who has touched many hearts with his rags-to-riches tale, or the spirited Silinda, who simply refused to accept defeat?

Bones still cannot believe that he has come this far.

“When I auditioned for Idols, I did not see this coming. Being in the final is just remarkable. I am as surprised as everybody else,” he said ahead of tonight’s gala event at Carnival City, east of Joburg.

But with more than R1-million in prizes – including a recording contract, R700000 in cash and a Ford Fiesta Titanium – for the winner, 23-year-old Silinda has no intention of handing him the crown on a platter.

“I know whoever wins today will be the most deserving. Coming up against Vincent is a huge honour,” she said.

Her fighting spirit was evident when she refused to accept her rejection by the judges during her first audition in Joburg.

She travelled to Pretoria for her second attempt – which earned her a coveted “Golden Ticket”.

It opened the doors to her dreams.

“I’m really proud of myself because I never thought I would make it this far, especially after being rejected the first time by the judges. I believed in myself but I never thought I would be in the final.

“Idols has been a beautiful journey for me and it will open so many doors.

“I missed my family so much – and food from home – but I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” said Silinda, who has done backup vocals for Vusi Mahlasela.

Winning Idols will give the Nelspruit backing vocalist the chance to embark on the solo music career she has always dreamt of.

If it were just down to popularity among women, Bones would almost surely bag the big prize.

His life story has won over countless viewers.

After a few years as a street kid and a stint in Boys Town, Bones turned his life around and reinvented himself as a family man and a church leader at the Eagle Christian Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

The 29-year-old is married, but that has not stopped the ladies from swooning over him – with one going as far as proposing marriage.

He believes that winning the competition will enable him to give his wife and their son a better life.

“I will be able to provide better for my family. I have moved to Joburg, so even if I don’t win I will continue with my music. I think I was born with it … my love for music.

“I have a career plan, which I will execute, win or lose. My life has been a bumpy ride, but it has also turned out quite exciting.

“I am hoping for the best,” he said.

The public voting lines opened last Sunday and closed on Friday night.

Auditors will confirm the result.

Two weeks ago, M-Net said more than 20 million votes had been cast during this, the 10th season of the show – a new Idols record.

“Viewer response to the historic 10th season has been phenomenal, exceeding our wildest expectations,” said Victor Eckard, director of M-Net.

Votes peak in the final week, when fans get to choose the winner.

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