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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

ANOTHER FOUR CONTESTANTS MAKE AUSTRALIAN IDOL'S TOP TWELVE

Read our recap below!

Sash Seabourne. Image: Supplied.


Who’s up for another night of searching for the next Australian Idol? Tonight, eight hopefuls got their shot to perform for the judges, Grammy® award-winning artist Harry Connick Jr.; Grammy® award-winning singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor; eight-time ARIA Award-winner Amy Shark and top-rating broadcaster Kyle Sandilands, in the hopes of securing their spot in the top twelve. Last night, Anya Hynninen, Amali Dimond, Ben Sheehy and Royston Sagigi-Baira earned their place in the live shows, and Shark used her touchdown. That means only Connick Jr., Trainor and Sandilands have the ability to award a touchdown and send a contestant straight to the top twelve, no questions asked.


First up tonight is Sash Seabourne, who is feeling pigeonholed by the judges as a “chill, folky, songwriter acoustic guy from a small-town.” He’s on a mission to prove them otherwise and moves into more of a rock realm, picking up the electric guitar to perform Kings of Leon’s Sex On Fire. We were definitely shown a new side to Seabourne, proving his stage presence extends beyond the subdued performances we’ve seen before. He’s head-banging between lines, thrashing his long blonde hair around, and presenting himself as every bit the rockstar. All whilst delivering a solid and emotive vocal performance. Sure there were a few off notes here and there, but he presented such an engaging performance that it didn’t really matter. “You’ll probably get a shampoo commercial out of that,” Sandilands jokes in reference to Seabourne’s hair flips. The judges feedback is overall positive, Shark thinks he doesn’t need to over-perform, and Trainor and Connick Jr. said he needs to focus on his pitch, but apart from that it’s looking promising for Seabourne.


Maya Weiss. Image: Supplied.


Following on from a sudden-death sing-off during the bootcamp, Maya Weiss also has something to prove to the judges. She’s hoping to tone down her nervous energy into a more focused performance, saying “my biggest battle is definitely over-moving, over-giving. So I’m gonna give a strong controlled performance.” She’s singing Avicii’s Addicted To You, and I feel like with each performance we’re shown more of her range and depth as a vocalist. There’s this tone and quality to Weiss’ voice that not only sets her apart from the competition, but also sets her apart within the Australian music industry. She smashed this performance, so much so that Sandilands says, “I don’t even want to ramble on, I think we just go straight to top twelve,” and delivers his touchdown. Now THAT was a touchdown, he really put some oomph into it. She delivered on stage presence, vocals and engagement, earning her place in the top twelve. Shark says Weiss is already a pop-star, and Connick Jr. dubs it her best performance.



Naomi Gipey. Image: Supplied.


It’s now Naomi Gipey’s turn to return to the stage. She cites Jessica Mauboy as a massive influence, and shares the positive impact seeing a young Indigenous woman on-screen chasing her dreams had left upon not only her, but the wider community. Throughout the bootcamp process, Gipey has been riddled with nerves which resulted in some shaky performances. She didn’t go through the typical audition process, she only sang for Trainor during a home visit, so has now arrived in front of a new set of judges, a full-on production and other Idol hopefuls. It’s a lot to take in, and something that we don’t often think about. “You look terrified,” says vocal coach Carmen Smith, with Gipey sharing the pressure is getting to her and she’s fearful of not hitting the songs higher notes. She’s performing Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis, which unfortunately seems to sit a bit out of her range. There is no doubt Gipey is a talented vocalist, but I think the combination of nerves and poor song choices is one that has riddled her throughout the competition. There has been an improvement with each performance, but at this stage it’s clear she’s not ready for the relentless process of being on Australian Idol. Connick Jr. offers some great advice, saying “Don’t worry about notes, worry about music. Let the music drive the notes that you sing.” Sandilands lists off a bunch of singers who have received acclaim throughout their careers, but stick within their range instead of trying to belt out high notes. It’s some solid advice.


Cooper Turnbull. Image: Supplied.


One of the competitions budding style icons, Cooper Turnbull shares he gets his inspiration from global-superstar Harry Styles. “He’s just always changing, he’s always evolving. You can show so much about yourself just through what you wear,” she says. He’s brave, and chooses to sing Leonard Cohen’s classic, Hallelujah. He’s feeling a bit of pressure due to the songs acclaim and the fact Connick Jr. has covered it before. But Turnbull wants to show off his own artistry and make a connection with his audience. Guitar in hand, he delivers a mesmerising performance. Turnbull captured the emotion of the song within his expressions and his vocals were faultless. His full tone cut through the songs atmospheric backing and as Shark said, “this competition is so damn lucky to have you.” She wants to buy every album and so do I. Connick Jr. liked the performance, calling it “fine” but there could’ve been more emotion. So at this point I’m wondering if we’re watching the same thing? Sandilands found it “boring”, visibly shocking Turnbull. “Kyle, you’re crazy,” remarks Shark. You tell him Amy! “Don’t listen to Kyle” adds Trainor, also saying she would never choose that song for a competition. Then she pulls out her favourite line, “you’re so young, I could hear your vocals are 19.” If you’ve read any of my recaps, you know how much I loathe this comment. Turnbull should make it to the top twelve, but it could go any way with this panel.

Phoebe Stewart. Image: Supplied.


15-year-old Phoebe Stewart has renamed her rooster Kevin, who apparently gets his way and makes weird noises, to Kyle, as a homage to the Idol judge. As she prepares to take to the stage, she’s feeling the nerves and pressure that come with the Idol journey. But they all dissipate when show time rolls around. Performing Florence + The Machine’s You’ve Got The Love. She seems like a seasoned performer, her control and the depth of her voice was resounding and she just owned the stage. “Phoebe Stewart, that’s a name people are gonna remember,” says Sandilands. Trainor can’t even string a sentence together, so instead gives Stewart the coveted touchdown. Next up is Harry Hayden, who takes on Hozier’s Take Me To Church, influenced by his own journey within the church and his decision to leave it behind. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this performance. It was quite nasally, there were too many added vocal runs and it just seemed like Hayden couldn’t keep up vocally. It also didn’t build, the whole performance stayed on one level which made it a bit lacklustre. The judges loved it though. Connick Jr. did note Hayden was off tune at times, which Trainor says is because there’s “no breath moments in that song.” I beg to differ.

Harry Hayden. Image: Supplied.



Damien Agius. Image: Supplied.


Unfortunately I feel like the rest of the episode didn’t stack up to the evenings earlier performances. Country singer Damien Agius sings Lonestar’s Amazed, and whilst he gives an endearing performance, it’s a bit lost between some of the more powerhouse vocalists of the night. I think it would be a shame to lose him though, his country sound is a nice change of pace within the competition and really draws you in with this storytelling quality. I think over the course of the competition his confidence and presence could really grow. We cap the evening off with newlywed, and wedding singer, Kristie Roberts (congratulations Kristie!), but not before Sandilands offers Tweedie the role of MC at his own wedding. She decides to take on Aretha Franklin’s version of Respect, but wants to put her own spin on it. A lot of contestants have made interesting choices with their performances tonight, veering away from what they’ve established throughout the competition to show another side of their artistry, and I don’t think it’s been a wise decision in most cases. Roberts swaps out her signature pop-meets-rock sound for R&B/Soul. Sure she has a big voice, but when you’re taking on such a famous song it’s hard not to sound like, well, a wedding singer. It felt a bit forced and strained. At times I couldn’t really understand the words being sung, but Roberts vocals were strong in most parts. Her happiness radiates through the performance which is so lovely to see and there’s an empowering quality. Connick Jr. is right however, it wasn’t too far from Franklin’s version and didn’t show much of Roberts’ own artistry. I do think that’s really hard to do with such well known songs though.


Kristie Roberts. Image: Supplied.


All eight contestants have had their shot and just two will join Maya Weiss and Phoebe Stewart (who both scored touchdowns) in tonights selection of contestants, to progress to the top twelve. I think those two spots should go to Sash Seabourne and Cooper Turnbull, but it’s not my decision. I was 50% right though, with Seabourne earning his spot in the live shows. The final contestant to make it through is Harry Hayden, and with that eight of the twelve spots are now full. Let’s see what tomorrow night holds.


Watch Australian Idol on Channel 7 tomorrow night at 7:30pm AEDT. Stream it on 7 Plus.



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