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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

AUSTRALIAN IDOL FINDS ITS TOP TWENTY-FOUR

Read our recap below!

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We kick off tonights episode having already said goodbye to eighteen contestants last night, and tonight thirty two will be whittled down to twenty-four. That tough task will fall on the shoulders of judges Grammy® award-winning artist Harry Connick Jr.; eight-time ARIA Award-winner Amy Shark, top-rating broadcaster Kyle Sandilands and guest judge, ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and former Australian Idol judge Marcia Hines.


Last night saw a bevy of talented contestants go home, so I’m not sure I’m prepared for what is about to unfold. But onward we march. Tonight’s editing format is a bit funny. The contestants enter the room to find out if their solo performance from the prior evening earned them a place in the top twenty-four. We’re then played part of the performance to see what the judges are basing their decision off, with this serving as the first time in the competition the contestants have performed in front of a live audience (well more than the four judges and production team). First up is Naomi Gipey, who sings Elle King’s Ex’s & Oh’s. Gipey’s last few performances during the top fifty bootcamp weren’t the best, but here she’s back to her pop-meets-soul-meets-country roots present in her audition. She’s shaken off some of the nerves and is finally showing more of her own artistry. “That’s the best she’s done” Connick Jr. remarks. Shark agrees and so do I. The editing format of tonight's show is frustrating because by not having each vocalist performing on after each other in the edit, it’s hard to determine who should go through as there’s no one to compare them too. But Gipey scores her place in the top twenty-four causing a cute reaction from her mother.


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Phoebe Stewart and Angelina Curtis enter the judging room. They’re the youngest in the competition, both aged fifteen, and both putting on great performances. Stewart sang Selena Gomez’s Lose You To Love Me, with her full and emotive vocal tone luring you in. Curtis takes on London Grammar’s Strong, and again flawless, with her great control and clear vocals cutting through. Both vocalists are big contenders to take out the competition, and both are put through by the judges. “This is a numbers game now” becomes the most overused phrase of the night, more so when the judges are trying to trick the contestant into thinking their idol journey is over. The judges then call upon Harry Hayden and Jasey Fox. Tonight was Hayden’s weakest performance, singing Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good. The song doesn’t suit his voice, and he got lost within the performance. On the flip side, Fox gave his best performance. His energetic and engaging take on ABBA’s Does Your Mother Know was probably one of the most exhilarating performances of the competition so far. He darted across the stage, feeding off the audiences energy and vocally was so fun. He says the performance was a return to form for him, having felt inner doubts that led to conforming to what others thought he should be doing on his last few performances. I can’t wait to see what else he brings going forward, with both Fox and Hayden progressing to the next round. Sandilands comments how he’s been skipping around and singing since Fox’s performance, with the two of them skipping out of the auditorium together.

Image: Supplied.



Image: Supplied.


Next up, Royston Sagigi-Baira says he “left his heart on the stage” performing Billie Eilish’s Everything I Wanted, but I’m not sure I agree. I love Sagigi-Baira, but his performance fell a bit flat, nothing about it grabbed me. We are however subject to only hearing snippets of each song due to editing, so perhaps in full he was able to create a compelling moment. Vocally he sounded great, there was just something missing for me. There was also some wrong lyrics, substituting words for others - maybe that came down to nerves. Connick Jr. asks him if he can see himself as the 2023 Australian Idol. “I don’t wanna toot my own horn or anything but like you know I’ve always always dreamt of this,” says Sagigi-Baira and goes on to cite Idol runner-up Jessica Mauboy as a big influence. And with that, he makes it through to the top twenty-four. As does Anya Hynninen, who put a haunting take on KISS’ I Was Made For Loving You. Again I wish we could’ve seen more of her performance, and also one of my favourite contestants Ben Sheehy. He made it through, following his rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son. Both contestants were so great, setting themselves apart from the competition.

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As we know, not everyone can make it through. Kaitlyn Thomas’ performance of Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like A Woman doesn’t impress the judges, and neither does Triston Joynt’s take on Love On The Brain by Rihanna. It seemed like Thomas just had an off night, she wasn’t bad but her vocals seemed strained and like she was overdoing it. Joynt on the other hand should not have picked that song, Love On The Brain was just too big a track for him. They’re joined by Edwin Fejo, who also did not progress following his performance of Celine Dion’s All By Myself. It’s sad to see anyone go, but it is a competition. They should be proud of making it to the top thirty two and continue to get out there and refine their craft. Shark shares the best advice she’s ever received, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”


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To pick up the energy, cheerful Amali Diamond joins the judges to find out their verdict. She sang Lewis Capaldi’s Before You Go, and it was the first time during the competition you could see there’s some work to be done. Maybe it was the nerves of performing in front of a crowd, but her breathing was off which cause her to take a breath mid-sentence. However she still sounded great. The judges start banging on about age again, wondering if she’s too young for the competition at only 16-years old. “Age is just a number as far as I’m concerned,” says Hines, and power to you Marcia! The age line has gotten so old at this point, producers lowered the age to 16 so let’s let it go. Diamond makes it through to the top twenty-four, joined by Cooper Turnbull who lost a bit of confidence following his brothers elimination. He sang Kodaline’s All I Want, delivering a mesmerising vocal performance and really was able to draw us back in, following some lacklustre performances in the bootcamp. He’s channelling Harry Styles again with his outfit which I don’t hate, but he needs to channel the global superstars confidence. He seemed nervous and scared on stage, but he’s received another chance with the judges putting him through.


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Sharin Attamimi and Montana Lara are called in together, and only one of them gets through which is truly disappointing since they’re both so great. Attamimi has improved throughout the competition, and she performs Andra Day’s Rise Up. Connick Jr. questions the authenticity of her voice, saying it sounds nothing like her speaking voice. Have you met Susan Boyle? Yes, people do put on voices when they sing, but I think Attamimi has arrived here authentically. Now, Lara performed Sia’s Elastic Heart on just four hours sleep having been sick and lost her voice. What a trooper! I think it was the wrong song choice, and unfortunately was consquently sent home. She’s a powerhouse vocalist, so I hope she continues to chase her musical dream or audition next year. Kartik Kunasegaran also does not progress following his rendition of Ne-Yo’s So Sick. I think he could’ve chosen a better song, but what’s done is done.

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Another shock elimination is Tully Wishart. He enters the judging room with Bobby Holmes and Noah Cookson. Wishart sings George Ezra’s Blame It On Me, Holmes sings I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys and Cookson sings Youth Group’s version of Forever Young. They’re told only one will be eliminated, and I thought it would be Holmes. His performance was the weekest, and I’m sorry but what an out of the blue song choice. So I was genuinely shocked when Wishart was sent marching. Sandilands says the decision was “…not what I wanted.” The intensity and pressure of the competition caught up with Cookson, who is overcome and faints. A medic soon comes to attend to him and Shark joins the medic in escorting him to the venues emergency room where he recovers. Perth-based musician Sash Seabourne sings Cece Peniston’s Finally, and whilst it’s not my favourite performance he’s done, it shows a moodier side that earns him a spot in the top twenty-four. Piper Butcher also continues on, prompting a cute interaction from both musicians where Piper has just exited the judging room and overhears Seabourne raving about her musicianship. It’s nice to see these Idol friendships blooming.

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Another favourite, Joshua Hannan performs It’ll Be Ok by Shawn Mendes, showing off his piano skills after being inspired by Connick Jr.. The judge says he thinks Hannan is one of the more talented competitors, but wonders why he chose Idol as an avenue to success. Hannan answers he entered the competition for the exposure, and I’m just wondering if Connick Jr. knows how free advertisement works? Idol creates artists from all walks of life, all genres and stages in their careers. He’s following in Matt Corby’s footsteps, and makes it through to the top twenty-four. It’s then Sara Houston’s turn to receive her verdict. She performed Cloudy Day by Tones and I, and I think it was one of the more poor song choices of the night. It was just too much for the context of the competition, and is certainly not the kind of song you’d gamble your budding career on. The song didn’t really allow her to show off vocally, instead staying a bit one dimensional when compared to her previous performances. But we’ll get to hear more as she enters the top twenty-four. Also making it through is James Vawser and Peter Kara, who sing Breakeven by The Script and I Love You by Billie Eilish respectively. We also learn Connick Jr. has developed an addiction to Tim Tams.


Image: Supplied.



Image: Supplied.


It’s the battle of the cowboys, with both Connor Bulger and Damien Agius summoned to the judging room. They say they’re only taking one of them through, and I think from the outset it’s clear Agius will be progressing. Both are great, but it comes down to experience and confidence which Bulger sometimes lacks in. Agius sings Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising, and Bulger sings Lee Kernaghan’s Boys From The Bush. Both deliver solid performances, but it’s Agius who prevails and Bulger whose Idol journey has come to an end. We then take a detour to R&B where Noora H performs Stay by Rihanna. The power in her voice is faultless and her changes to the songs melody sound fresh and natural, she’s through to the top twenty-four alongside Kristie Roberts and Bec Voysey. Roberts took on P!NK’s What About Us which felt more strained at times. Perhaps the song was a bit out of her range which prompted her to push her vocals. For me, there was something missing in Voysey’s performance. She sounded lovely and the emotion was there, but I want to see her step away from the softly-sung sad girl songs. It’s too much of the same at this point, and there are far more versatile vocalists in the competition who will keep viewers on their toes.


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There’s one spot left as Maya Weiss and Tahlia Eve Pizzicara meet with the judges. They’ve both performed Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, and both have just missed the mark. Vocally they sounded great, but neither seemed to have a connection with the song which left their performances a little undercooked. The judges can’t decide who should nab that final spot, so have them go head-to-head in a sing-off. Tackling the same song, again they both sound great but there was something about Weiss’ performance that was more captivating. She’s older and has more experience, whereas Pizzicara can return next year - something the judges plead her to do when delivering her the blow that her Idol journey has ended today. Weiss becomes the final contestant to make the top twenty-four, and with that we edge closer and closer to the live shows.


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


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