Read our recap of the grand final below!
It's here ladies and gentleman. The grand final of Australian Idol has snuck up on us, and it's time to find out if Royston Sagigi-Baira, Phoebe Stewart or Josh Hannan will take out the title. It's the final time for this season we'll see judges Grammy® award-winning artist Harry Connick Jr.; Grammy® award-winning singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor; beloved eight-time ARIA Award-winning singer-songwriter Amy Shark and top-rating broadcaster Kyle Sandilands give their thoughts and feedback before the winner spreads their wings and chases their dreams.
We kick off the grand final with the top twelve reuniting to perform Ed Sheeran’s Celestial. Sagigi-Baira, Stewart and Hannan all appear on screen in a futuristic visual, before they ‘teleport’ onto the Idol stage. They’re soon joined by the previously eliminated contestants, and it’s so nice and wholesome to see them all on stage together celebrating the journey and bond they’ve shared. The judges loved it, Connick Jr: is ready for a party, Sandilands has lost his microphone sock. What a night! We’re then treated to a brief recap of this season, made complete with the highs, lows, bad auditions, comebacks, shoeys and memorable moments.
It’s time for the final three to take to the stage solo, and first up is Stewart. We’re reminded of the fifteen-year-old we met in Busselton, Western Australia, and trace the journey she’s embarked on. Alongside Sagigi-Baira and Hannan, she visits the KIIS FM studio and jokes around with Sandilands. Later in the episode there's a great edit of Trainor screaming "Phoebeeeeee" and the earth appears to shake, capturing the feel when we hear Stewart sing. For her final performance as a contestant on the Idol stage, she’s performing Cher’s Believe. Goosebumps. Stripping the song back from its synth-pop 90’s sonics to a more organic soundscape that builds in anticipation, Stewart’s vocals were given the space to shine and showcase her inimitable tone. The staging, production and visuals all perfectly compliment Stewart’s stage presence, delivering what I think was her best performance throughout the competition. Both Trainor and Shark gave a standing ovation, and Sandilands and Connick Jr. are impressed as always. “There’s no one that’s been more constantly impressive,” said Sandilands.
Next up is Hannan, and again we’re shown a montage of his journey throughout the competition and can see the growth in confidence throughout. It’s great to see the support of his hometown, and his reach in establishing a growing fan base. Tonight he’s singing James Bay’s Hold Back The River, picking up the guitar again just like that first audition where he won us all over. Once again, Hannan has delivered a flawless performance that captures his artistry and highlights the compelling light and shade of his vocals. Much like Stewart, it’s clear he’s ready to take on the world and reach new heights with his music career. “I’m so glad you brought the guitar back,” says Trainor before commenting on his ability as a multifaceted musician, and Shark commends his confidence as a guitarist.
Ricki-Lee lists off some former Idol contestants who have found success, with Tweedie revealing his co-host is about to release a new song of her own. "This song is like the song of my entire life, so I'm really excited for it to come out," Ricki-Lee says of her new single, On My Own. You can pre-save it now! We have one more performance until the first elimination of the evening, and Sagigi-Baira is taking to the stage to sing Bonnie Raitt's I Can't Make You Love Me. What can I say but another flawless performance. His control and his tone is unmatched, each week he just steps it up and leans more into his confidence with ease. "I'd love for you to be crowned Australian Idol, I really would," says Sandilands, whilst Trainor's "baby's doing backflips right now because they love you as much as I do." His brother reveals there is "Royston hysteria" in their community, to the point he can't even make it to work on time with how many people stop him on his way there to chat about Royston's performances.
Well Australia, you really outdid yourself this time. Ricki-Lee reveals over two million votes have been collected, counted and verified and we officially have a winner. But we'll have to wait a bit to find out, at first we'll be finding out who has finished in third place. A master of suspense, she keeps us waiting on tenterhooks before announcing Stewart and Sagigi-Baira progress to the top two, meaning Hannan's Idol journey has ended. "I'm just so grateful for everything…thank you to everyone else who voted for me. Thank you very much. This is not the end for me." he shares before taking his final bow. Connick Jr. says "All three of y'all deserve success," and Trainor tells Hannan, "You're gonna make it buddy!" There's no doubt Hannan has a long career ahead of him, and I can't wait to hear his new original music post-Idol.
It's time for a judge to get judged (kidding), with Connick Jr. taking to the Idol stage to perform Come By Me. Giving a little masterclass in jazz performance, we were treated a piano solo before the full band kicked in and you could see just why Connick Jr. is a good mentor. Following his performance, he notes that "this group is the best group of twelve I've seen by far," comparing his time on American Idol vs Australian Idol. He also announced he'll be heading back to Australia in December this year to embark on a national tour, with tickets set to go on sale on April 24.
Stewart and Sagigi-Baira take to the stage one more time, performing Elton John's Your Song and Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey's When You Believe respectively. Honestly, all I can say is: once again, flawless. They're both so great and talented. Their song choices always hit the mark and highlight their vocals tremendously. Speaking of Stewart's performance, Trainor shares, "My husband he sang that song to me on our first date, because he's so brave and you're so much better." She always delivers great stories and moments, I truly hope Trainor returns next season. "I think the last two are fantastic, so thrilled for both of you," said Sandilands, and he's right. Both contestants also received heartfelt messages from those back home, showing the support and love from their respective communities.
Before we find out who will be this years Australian Idol, an Idol has returned to the stage. ARIA-Award winning, R&B-pop artist, and Idol runner up, Jessica Mauboy is here to perform her new single, Right Here, Right Now. Her latest offering leans back into more pop-based sonics, with undertones of disco and funk. The confident cut is a call to embrace yourself and be present within your own life. The simmering performance was a great reminder of how Idol can change the trajectory of an artists life, and just how great of a vocalist Mauboy is. It's been seventeen years since her stint on Idol, and since she's become one of Australia's most formidable artists. She tells the contestants to stay true to themselves, tell their own story and work hard to chase their dreams.
Well here we are, it's time to find out who is taking home the Australian Idol crown. The nerves and anticipation are high, and as the top two return to the stage, Stewart takes a tumble down the staircase (a few weeks ago she said she feared doing just that) but handles it like a pro. She cracks jokes about it and thanks everyone for not laughing. Master of suspense Ricki-Lee has us once again on the edge of our seats, taking her time in announcing whether Sagigi-Baira or Stewart have won the competition. And the winner of Australian Idol is... Royston Sagigi-Baira! There's confetti everywhere, rapturous applause and cheers from the crowd and for the first time in fourteen years, we have a new Australian Idol, The show closes with Sagigi-Baira performing his moving and powerful winners single, Invincible, which is out on all streaming platforms now.
Stream Australian Idol on 7 Plus.