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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Read our recap of episode six below!

Image: Supplied.

Last night I dreamt I was on a street with my sister singing Diamonds by Rihanna and a producer from Australian Idol approached me and invited me to perform, I was nervous as hell and out of the blue my high schools piano accompanist appeared and rehearsed with me for a bit. As I entered the audition room to meet the panel, I woke up. I think it’s safe to say, Australian Idol is consuming my life. But here I am again, settling in for another episode spent with 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.

We begin our night with Jessica Clennett, who enters the room visibly emotional. She shares that her father passed away four years ago, and the date of her audition marked her the anniversary of his death. We’ve seen contestants walk in feeling much more at ease, yet are still overcome by nerves when they start to sing. Clennett however leaves behind the emotions and nerves to deliver an almost flawless take on Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. Her distinctly gritty vocals cut through, taking us on a rollercoaster ride. The judges are blown away, especially by her ability to shake off the emotions and zone in on the moment to give her performance everything she had. We have a very serious contender for the Australian Idol title, with Clennett earning her golden ticket.

Jessica Clennett. Image: Supplied.

In Sydney, Elysa Villareal is chasing her Idol dream, having been devastated when the competition was taken off the waves she thought she had missed her chance to be a part of the show. Villareal wants to follow in Jessica Mauboy’s steps and become Australia’s next pop star. She performs Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic. There are moments that work, she can definitely carry a tune but something was missing. We didn’t get to hear her sing much, but she had good stage presence. Personally, it’s a no from me. I just think there’s some work to be done before she reaches Idol level. But it was a yes from Shark, Connick Jr. and Trainor.

Elysa Villareal. Image: Supplied.

We then hit the streets with Scott Tweedie looking for last minute Idol auditions as he asks people passing by if they can sing, and want to jump in on the Idol auditions. There’s some truly funny moments. One woman just puts her hand up in a no gesture before he can even ask his question. 28-year-old Sharni Stewart has just two weeks left until she exists the age eligibility for Idol, so she’s entering the audition room just in time. She takes on Lady Gaga’s I’ll Always Remember Us This Way from A Star Is Born, and a star is truly born on that tiny Australian Idol platform. She has a sweet and clear tone that sets her apart within the competition. Stewart has great control and pulls off each run, she belongs in the competition. Sandilands says her performance is disconnected from her audience, which let's be honest Idol auditions are such clinical settings that's nothing like performing for a live audience. He joins Connick Jr. and Shark in awarding Stewart a golden ticket.

Sharni Stewart. Image: Supplied.

Triston Joynt is bringing the party with his twerking vibes. His friends eagerly press their ears against the doors to hear his performance, as he tells the judges his hobby is learning new languages. He’s currently trying his hand at Korean. He performs John Legend’s Ordinary People, starting off strong in the verses with his lower register, but loses his power in the chorus. His annunciation needs work and his performance falls a bit flat. He made some good choices with his riffs and phrasing. Will he stack up compared to the other contestants? Time will tell as Trainor, Sandilands and Connick Jr. vote yes, which results in a twerk off between Joynt and Sandilands.

As we roll in to the GC, Connick Jr. struts into the audition space looking like someone we all know and love… he’s sporting a top bun, channelling his fellow panelist Amy Shark. Known for her iconic top knot, did Idol just reveal that it’s a clip in? I. AM. SHOOK. I’ve interviewed Amy before and never would’ve guessed it. But away from the tricks of showbiz and back to the competition, Ethan Moon shares his story of overcoming addiction and earning a second chance. Performing Half A Man by Dean Lewis, there’s slight nerves poking through, but overall Moon’s moving performance showcased his dynamic tone and a crunchy texture. Sandilands and Trainor vote yes, Connick Jr. votes no and Shark is on the fence. “You’ve got big sad boy vibes, I’ve got big sad girl vibes”, she says. And with that, Shark has given him a shot and he’s through to the top fifty.

Ethan Moon. Image: Supplied.

Jenaya Laidler. Image: Supplied.

I love Idol road trips. We’re back in Alice Springs with Trainor and her tour guide Bluey. He gets pulled over by police, who offers a police escort to the next contestants home. A fly flies into Trainor's face and she says “Jesus, flies.” Same Meghan, same. So it turns out, this police officer took her and Bluey home because the idol hopefuls just so happen to be his daughters, Jenaya and Paityn Laidler. “It’s me, Meghan” the American songstress says with joy. Unfortunately, the young boy present at the table doesn’t recognise her, and she sings All About That Bass. But still nothing. That’s ok Meghan, we still love you. Trainor and the family settle in for two auditions. Jenaya is up first and she sings Travelin’ Soldier by The Chicks. She has a lovely tone and could really go far in the competition, albeit some shaky parts. Paityn delivers a more consistent performance, barely wavering in confidence. Both need some more experience and training, but Trainor takes a minute to make her decision. I always thought if a judge is visiting your home, it’s a no-brainer that you’ve made it to the top fifty. But in this instance that’s not the case. In a heartbreaking turn of events, Paityn makes it through with Jenaya pipped at the post. It’s unfortunate to watch one sister progress and one not, but Trainor tells Jenaya she needs a bit more work and to come back next year.

Paityn Laidler. Image: Supplied.

Back on the GC, Trainor tells the judges she saw a concierge plow a hire-car into a column last night, which Shark shakes off as typical GC behaviour. That darn GC, always being cheeky. Kristie Roberts takes on Anastacia's hit I'm Outta Love, showcasing her powerful vocals. She’s put through to the next round and I hope we get to see her perform an Alanis Morisette song.

Kristie Roberts. Image: Supplied.

Erica Padilla. Image: Supplied.

We then segue into TikTok territory, with a number of contestants already having a following online. Erica Padilla, who was a contestant on Eurovision Australia Decides thanks to a TikTok competition, sings Bishop Briggs’ Like A River, and misses the mark. The voice is there, but the performance comes across a bit forced. Perhaps nerves got the better of her, because there’s no doubt when watching her videos online that she can sing. The judges give her a chance though, and she’s through to the next round. Fellow TikToker Finn Burton performs Teenage Dirtbag from Wheatus, and Isha Ramji takes on Rihanna’s Diamonds. Both make it through, which is an interesting choice. They’re not the strongest, and the panel have told unsuccessful contestants that they don’t stack up against contestants who have already progressed. Perhaps this is an editing flaw? I think it would’ve made more sense to air the auditions in chronological order and by city, instead of cutting them up to include multiple dates and cities in each episode.

Finn Burton. Image: Supplied.

Mark Balas presents a multi-lingual version of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time. He’s great and has a lovely, sweet tone. He performs the song in English, Mandarin and Spanish which does not please Connick Jr.. He finds it gimmicky, which is interesting because in episode one he said, “It’s like going to an opera. Like they may be singing in German or Italian and I don’t understand it but I feel something.” He does vote yes however, unlike Trainor and Sandilands. “Trainor says “come back and audition and pick one language.” That was a silly decision, in my opinion, considering she said yes to vocalists who were nowhere near as good as Balas in this episode. Back in Sydney, 19-year-old Lachlan Izzard is a bus sign installer who just last week plastered Sandilands' face on the back of a bus. He sings You’re The Reason by Calum Scott and divides the judges. He’s good, but like many contestants still needs some work. I might use Trainor’s favourite line and say “he’s too young.” He finds his footing in the chorus and has a nice tone, but he just needs a bit more work. Shark and Sandilands aren’t convinced he has what it takes at this stage, whilst Trainor and Connick Jr. lose their minds over his performance. Connick Jr. bets he’ll make it to the top five and Shark decides to give him a chance and vote yes.

Lachlan Izzard. Image: Supplied.

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


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