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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Read our interview with the Australian Idol contestant below!

Image: Supplied.

As we edge closer to the grand final, we said goodbye to another two contestants on Australian Idol this week. Both Angelina Curtis and Noora H have come to the end of their Idol journey, but it's just the start for their budding music careers. We caught up with Curtis to chat about her Idol journey and what the future holds.

Entering the audition room with a joyous quality to her presence, Curtis lit up the room with an infectiously positive attitude. “I eat Australian Idol for breakfast” she and her mother recite as she prepared to enter the judging room. And in reality, she did. Taking on Message To My Girl from Split Enz, took takes a seat at the piano and instantly gave Delta Goodrem vibes. There’s a clear tone to her vocals as she showcases her range and the light and shade of her voice. Shark spent the whole audition with a gleaming smile, likening it to the faces she would see when she herself was on stage. Curtis won over the judges, but sparked concern from judge Meghan Trainor on her age. Regardless, Curtis earned her golden ticket to the top fifty.

Kicking off bootcamp with the chorus line challenge, Curtis was tasked with singing P!NK’s Try, and alongside Jessica Clennett, Kaitlyn Thomas and Kristie Roberts, made it to the next round where she joined forces with Piper Butcher, Amali Diamond, Angelina Curtis, Jasey Fox and Sash Seabourne to form the group, 'Honey.' Fox says their group is compatible astrology-wise, and they perform Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. Curtis delivered beautiful runs, and all five contestants progressed through the group round. For the top twenty four, the singer took on London Grammar’s Strong, and again delivered a flawless performance that highlighted her control and clear vocals cutting through. With that, she was through to the top twenty four.

With one performance left to get her into the top twelve, Curtis performed Paramore’s The Only Exception. She dedicated the song to her parents relationship, citing her father moving countries for love as an inspiration. Her crystal clear vocals cut through and once again Curtis had us all mesmerised. Her undeniable talent shone on that stage in such an effortless way. “You don’t even need this show,” said judge Amy Shark, and Sandilands said he could see that performance on the GRAMMY’s stage. Judge Harry Connick Jr. asked the band to play a “big old C7 chord,” building anticipation before asking them to play more chords leading up the scale until they reach the “loudest F7b5 chord you have, and Dan I want you to crank up the distortion to ten because that… is… a… touchdown!” What a showman. And with that, Curtis became the final recipient of a touchdown and made it to the top twelve.

For the first week of live shows, the singer took on Aerosmith’s mega-hit, I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing. She’s not used to belting out notes, having been told by previous coaches it will ruin her voice, but she waned to take a risk and hit Steven Tyler’s infamous high note. Shrouded in smoke and pink hues, Curtis delivers a great performance of the track. Seated at her piano, her signature mesmerising tones are the focal point of the performance, pulling you in with her storytelling quality. Sandilands was left feeling underwhelmed by Curtis’ “big risk.” It didn’t “set his world on fire.” It was a wonderful performance, but perhaps the package played beforehand was a disservice. “You’re so comfortable up there, you really were born to do this,” says Shark, and Connick Jr. says Curtis should belt notes out more often. Australia was impressed, with the singer making it to the top ten.

For judges choice week, the judges have selected Drops Of Jupiter by Train, Harry Styles’ As it Was, P!NK’s Cover Me In Sunshine and Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. I had said I'd love for her to do As It Was to show a more upbeat and high energy side to her artistry. Curtis did select the track, and seems to be taking more control of the staging and choreography when it comes to the performance, which was lovely to see. Surrounded by visuals emulating a green house, Curtis begins the track seated at a piano before a funk-based groove kicks off and we finally get to the singer step away from the piano and use some of the stage. She chose to perform a different arrangement of the song, and I would’ve loved if the arrangement had stayed the same. Trainor, who chose the track, preferred the viral TikTok version that Curtis performed, but I think it was detrimental to the overall quality of what was presented. It was an okay performance, but a bit underwhelming. Sandilands says “I love you more at the piano,” which I agree with, but like Delta Goodrem I’m sure Curtis can find a great balance.

For this weeks performance, Curtis leaned into that Delta Goodrem comparison and dedicated her performance of Goodrem’s track Born To Try to the Australian superstar herself. The singer even sent a good luck video to Curtis, who says in glee, “She knows my name!” I’m not sure it was a smart move performing one of Goodrem’s songs. She sounded great and had a beaming smile on her face, and the staging and production was lovely too. I just think it was the wrong song choice as it left her open to a lot of analysis and comparison. The judges all loved the performance, with Shark sharing she was worried about the song choice but thinks Curtis pulled it off. Connick Jr. gave some advice on song choice and choosing a song that builds in anticipation similar to what Dimond was able to create in her performance. Curtis found herself in the bottom four, where she performed Bruno Mars' Talkin To The Moon and it was nice to see her away from the piano. Ultimately, Curtis and Noora H's Idol journeys came to an end.

Congratulations on all your accomplishments in the show and making it to the top eight. That's such an incredible achievement and I hope you're very proud.

Thank you so much. Yeah, I'm so happy that I got this far. I never expected it, so I'm just very grateful.

Taking it back to the beginning, what drew you to wanting to audition for Australian Idol?

Well, I mean my mum and I have always been huge Damien Leith fans and his season when he won it, I wasn't even alive when Idol was on, but honestly it made such an impact on me and my how drawn I am to music. So we saw it and were like, 'okay, let's just give it a try.' And I was not even expecting to get past the Zoom call audition. Just to be able to audition for Idol and those four incredible judges was a dream come true for me, and I never would've expected to get this far at 15 as well. Like I'm still in total disbelief and just the things that Idol has taught me about the music industry and performance and music and, you know, everything. It's just been invaluable.

I love that and I love that you mentioned Damien Leith becuase I remember him winning. I was young, but I remember him winning [laughs] and then earlier this year I was sitting next to him at an Elton John concert.

I'm so jealous. Oh my gosh, my ultimate dream would be like being able to write a song with Elton John and then write, produce, and act in a movie about the song.

Oh my, I love that. I back that for you, let's manifest it. You and Phoebe are the two youngest in the competition...

It's so weird how there's two 15 year olds awake. What a coincidence. Like, it's so odd.

It also just shows that talent doesn't have an age bracket I guess. Obviously being so young and it being such a kind of high pressure environment, how did you kind of cope with all of that pressure?

My traveling therapist, aka Mum. Oh gosh, she's been my rock throughout the whole thing. I'm so grateful for her. I unload everything on her. And also what got me through the idol journey is my passion for music and how much I love it. Oh, I freaking love it so much. This is why I'm here. I'm addicted to the adrenaline rush that I get when I'm performing. I love workshopping and figuring out great arrangements for songs that make people stop and think. Idol for me has been, I mean, I'm an actor too, so it's the best of both worlds. I can play myself on camera.

Idol wrapped up it's original run fourteen years ago. Like you said, you weren't born at that time, but how do you think that the show can change the trajectory of someone's life and career and how do you think it's done so for you?

Yeah, the exposure that I've gotten from Idol, I now have fans and I now have a really strong support base. I've been put in front of Sony [Music Australia] for Australian Idol. Sony's behind Australian idol, so now I've got record labels looking at me and I've been on national television on the most popular network. The benefits of Idol are endless and the experience and the opportunity. It shows guts. I think people are impressed that I'm on Idol because I'm 15 and I made the cut off by thirteen days [laugh]. But also like putting yourself out there on national television to be judged and to get hate and make it this far and compete. I mean it's a very, very, very hard brave thing to do and I'm very glad that I managed to survive it and I made it this far.

Me too. You've been great throughout the whole series. I was at the first live show and we were just saying how great you are and how you're so young but you just seem so ready to be a superstar. It's crazy [laughs].

I'm so ready. I've been doing this for so many years, longer than most of the contestants actually. I've lived and breathed it for like 10 years. I love this and I'm so ready for the next phase and I'm so excited to see what's next

I can't wait to see either. But before we get to that, what has been your favourite moment throughout the whole Idol journey?

Oh, the Touchdown from Harry Connick Jr..

Yeah, that was epic.

Gotta be the best validation I've ever gotten. That meant a lot to me, especially coming from someone like him and also my performance of [Paramore's} The Only Exception. I just felt like I made such an impact and I think that was the best I think I'd ever performed. I loved it. Also, I loved when during my audition, Kyle [Sandilands] compared me to Delta [Goodrem] and said I could go as far as her and I could win the whole thing. That meant a lot, especially because mum and I came into this whole experience not expecting anything and just grateful that I could audition and perform for those four incredibly talented people. When Kyle said that, it just, I mean, it's so great. I think Australia tends to bring down their own, and sort of squash, like no one likes a tall poppy. I hadn't got that validation. Mum and I always knew that there was something for me in this industry and in the performing arts world. I don't know, no one really saw it back in Perth. Ever since Idol, things have just blossomed. I had been gigging and I do have many songs released, one which won song of the year in the WA Music Awards, but it wasn't enough and Idol's just given me that extra push to take that step further. I don't think I could have gotten it any other way. It's invaluable.

That just made me think of that Lady Gaga quote where she said something along the lines of, 'there can be a hundred people in the room, but only one will believe in you and that's the only one that matters.' Idol was that one for you which is so lovely. What's one song that you would've loved to have performed on your Idol journey?

Oh, I would've loved to perform Gravity by Sarah Barry Ellis. That would've been an incredible song to perform because I love it with my whole heart. It's also kind of relating to my Idol narrative too. It shares my story of something always comes back to you and I would've loved to play it on the piano too. And Benny and The Jets by Elton John, that would've been cool to do. If they ever got the opportunity for a free song choice, I would've done my original song Danny Blue because that song, I love it. It's a banger!

Love it! What do you think was like the best piece of advice that you received throughout the competition? Be that from one of the judges, someone on production, a fellow contestant or even like a guest performer.

Lauren the movement coach, she really helped me feel comfortable with moving at the piano while still staying on the mic. Sort of adding that physical performance. Because I think it's difficult to not be trapped behind the piano and not have just been sitting there. You need like actual physical movement. But you are competing against people who are standing up and running all around the stage. You need some stage presence. And I'd never really thought about it before and then she opened my eyes and I was like, 'oh my gosh, I've just learned how to completely amplify my performances to 100%.' I think it's great. Also an amazing piece of feedback that I got from Harry which he really adores about me is the emotional connection. I care so much about how much I'm connecting to people and the emotional connection I have to a song. You can't perform without that connection. So he saw that I was trying really hard to make sure that I was as connected to the audience and really interacted with the audience as well, as much as I possibly could be behind the piano.

I definitely think that even though you're sitting behind the piano, you do have such like a compelling presence You've done really well there. It's so funny, everyone always says that Harry gave them really good feedback. Like it's always Harry [laughs].

It's great. He's got really great insight into the music industry and he knows, he's been in it for a while. He knows what he likes and he knows what the wants.

Exactly, it's so great to have him here for the show. It's been like such a pleasure like watching you grow and find your confidence on stage throughout the show. And like we said, it is such a gruelling and quite a specific experience that really the only other people who are gonna understand it are your fellow contestants. So how do you think like the show has prepared you moving forward in your career?

Oh, it's prepared me so well. This show has made me so resilient and so strong and I feel like I could endure a hurricane now. Because essentially that was the Idol experience. The hurricane of wonder. It was crazy, awesome, intense. We are all trauma bonded in a great way [laughs].

I feel like this would be a hard question, but everyone seems to answer it quite easily. Who would you like to see take out the competition?

Josh. I feel very strongly about this because he's an artist already. He's got songs released and he's a songwriter. He plays piano, guitar, he asks all the right questions, he's so ready. He's the perfect age and he's got the determination and passion it takes to take this show and Idol title. So I really hope that he wins this thing and that it goes to someone who's musical and knows how to communicate with fellow musicians who can help build him and strengthen him in his songs.

I love that. That was such like a quick response, within a second you were like 'Josh.' What advice would you give to someone wanting to audition for Idol next year?

Do it because you won't regret a thing if you put all of your hard work and effort into it then. And if you have the passion for it, it will happen. If you love music and you love what you are doing with your whole heart and there isn't a single doubt in your mind how much you want to do this, it will happen. The universe will push you towards it. Like, I feel like I'm being pushed down a river and we're just rolling along with it and all the hard work is just being paid off. So do it because there's absolutely no downsides. Except if you're actually not good [laughs] and then you end up getting humiliated on national TV [laughs]. That's not too good, but it's still profile raising. I mean yeah, just practice, practice, practice,

In the auditions, there was one girl who didn't get through but she brought a book she had written and gave it to all the judges. She got some great self-promotion there, it's very smart. To finish off, what is next for you? Are you going to be releasing some more new music, or hitting the road?

Well hopefully Sony takes me under their belt and signs me and I can release music through them. That would be awesome. I've got some acting gigs coming up, well brewing in the background, that's still being finalised. But keep an eye out for them. Yeah, definitely new music released and I'll just keep pushing on and I will try and make my Idol journey, I will use that to my advantage as much as I possibly can. Also, hopefully getting a manager and an East Coast agent for my acting and hopefully a Home and Away gig. Who knows?

Watch Australian Idol on Channel 7 Sunday night at 7:00pm AEDT. Stream it on 7 Plus.

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