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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

AUSTRALIAN IDOL HEATS UP WITH MORE AUDITIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Read our recap of episode five below!

Image: Supplied.


As we reach the halfway mark of auditions, more and more talented hopefuls are entering the doors of Australian Idol with big dreams. When thinking of the content of the competition and the fact only twelve singers will make it to the live shows, it’s hard to imagine letting go of the majority of the contestants who have already made it through to the top 50. But that doesn’t rest on our shoulders, it’s in the hands of 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.


Kicking todays search off in Perth, 24-year-old Bec Voysey is here to perform Birdy’s version of Skinny Love. First she tells the panel about her musical background, mentioning she dabbled in musical theatre which scares Sandilands. “My worry with people coming out of musical theatre into the pop world is they tend to over annunciate… and that’s so annoying.” He’s not wrong, it can be slightly irritating. Voysey however breaks the mould, leaving behind the eccentricities of the theatre to deliver an intimate performance. Her sweet and dulcet tones were lullaby-like, with her angelic tones floating throughout the room. The judges are mesmerised and Voysey earns her prized golden ticket.


Bec Voysey. Image: Supplied.


On his way to work in Melbourne, Connick Jr. takes a quick detour to pick up some coffees and tries his hand at coffee art. His mission: to replicate a photo of Amy into the foamy layer of Melbourne’s famous delicious coffee. He fails with it, and it's a no from me today. Connick Jr. then wants to steal the next contestants nickname, Hazzle. We meet Harry Hayden, who is dressed the part to be the next Australian Idol. He shares his story of having grown up within the church, but ultimately leaving it behind in order to feel more comfortable with his own sexuality. With his parents there to support, Hayden takes on I Am Changing from Dreamgirls, delivering impressive vocal runs and power within his voice. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for you! You could win" Trainor remarks. She and Sandilands think he could take out the competition. He casually walks out of the room fanning himself with his golden ticket, as his proud parents cheer and jump in celebration.

Harry Hayden. Image: Supplied.



Continuing the cute family moments, Anya Hynninen auditions accompanied by her step father Bernard. He jokes with the judges and Hynninen dubs her his secret weapon. Bernard has an impressive resume, he’s played with WaZoo, Hot Chocolate and Santana. The pair perform Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire, with her engaging vocals setting here apart from other contestants. There’s not many country leaning vocalists in the competition, and Hynninen has a rich vocal tone and great control. Trainor likens her to Adele and you can definitely pick up on those qualities. She receives four yeses. More often than not, Trainor, Sandilands and Connick Jr. are the first to give their verdicts, and I want justice for Amy Shark.


Anya Hynninen. Image: Supplied.


Down in Melbourne, Meghan Trainor super-fan and dog groomer Gemma Rourke also brings her own accompaniment. She exudes a bright energy as she prepares to take on Bruno Mars’ Locked Out Of Heaven, delivering powerful soulful tones. The judges are slightly divided. Trainor is impressed, Sandilands doesn’t give much feedback and Shark and Connick Jr. feel like something is missing. Connick Jr. isn’t captivated and gives a no verdict, but the other judges put Rourke through to the top fifty. She’s ecstatic, she gives Trainor her ice cream earrings and runs outside to FaceTime her mum. I’m genuinely so pleased she progressed in the competition, because she seems like an authentic breath of fresh air. Up in the GC (that’s Gold Coast for any non-avid Idol watchers), hosts Ricki-Lee and Scott Tweedie are cruising through the streets. “It’s the sound of rubber thongs for me,” Tweedie remarks, starting to deliver the one liners that are synonymous with a hosting gig. We then meet Billy Dyer, who was adopted into a musical family at the age of five and has been diagnosed with autism. He shares a heartfelt message to viewers at home, saying “just don’t let the autism hold you back because to me it’s not a disability, it’s a different ability”. Accompanying himself on the guitar, he performs Avicii’s Wake Me Up with an undeniable confidence. “How bad do you want this?” Shark asks him, to which he endearingly responds “It doesn’t really bother me really.” Unfortunately he doesn’t make it through to the next round, but there’s no doubt his infectious joy is an undeniable force to be reckoned with.

Gemma Rourke. Image: Supplied.


It’s road trip time! We hop back in the car with Connick Jr., heading to the regional town of Scone where we meet high school student, Hamish Guiana. Connick Jr. puts him on the spot and tells him it’s audition time. Picking up his guitar, he performs Niall Horan’s This Town. Some nerves peek through his performance, but overall Guiana shows promise. He’ll need to do some work to stack up against some of the more powerhouse vocals, but as we know with Idol it’s all about putting on a show and creating a connection with your audience. Connick Jr. leaves the room to return with a school book (what a nightmare) and a golden ticket just happens to fall out of it.


Hamish Guiana. Image: Supplied.



Following a montage of contestants who gave lukewarm takes of Trainor’s songs, Sheridan Hames tackles Bad For Me, and pulls it off to a degree. Vocally, Hames wasn’t the strongest audition. She was pitchy at times, missing notes and overall just didn’t cross that threshold into Idol territory. Once again, another contestant has fallen victim to the combination of choosing the wrong song and nerves. She doesn’t make it through to the next round, but she could be one to come back stronger next year. We’re then rushed through a few auditions. Elizabeth Pardallis' powerful audition sees her continue on, scoring a panel of yeses, as does Ethan Hill who auditions with Benson Boone’s In The Stars. Both are strong contenders and it would’ve been nice to have seen their full auditions and learn a bit about them and their artistry. Tully Wishart is the son of Andrew Wishart, who found fame in 2011 on The X-Factor Australia. He shares he’s never really performed publicly, mostly in his bedroom, and Trainor asks “have any humans heard you?… and they clap at the end?” He shyly says yes, before launching in to Lonely Boy from The Black Keys. The clappers were correct. Wishart is a captivating vocalist, with his growling lower tones really luring you in. Sandilands cuts the audition short, but compliments the singer saying, “you fill the room up.” He makes it to the top fifty, and a Wishart family dynasty is born.

Tully Wishart. Image: Supplied.


We’re back on the streets of the Gold Coast where host Ricki-Lee ‘coincidentally’ runs into a high school student who happens to front a band. She invites her to audition, and Dubai Fabian’s Idol journey has commenced. She enters the room with a shy grin and tells the panel she’ll be performing Shark’s own I Said Hi, giving the judge “sweaty palms.” The nerves have completely taken over, and unfortunately it takes away from her performance. The talent is there, Fabian just needs more experience and confidence and she could have a shot in future years. We return to Melbourne to meet Peter Kara, an office administrator who has followed the family career path instead of chasing his dreams. But now he’s ready to give it a go. He says he’s “shaking on the inside”, but presents a very calming aura. He takes on Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes’ collaboration Almost Is Never Enough and delivers a flawless vocal performance. His full tones are so captivating and his runs are impeccable. Nothing seemed forced, it just flows naturally. You could see and feel his passion, and there’s no doubt he’ll go far in the competition as he earns his golden ticket.


Peter Kara. Image: Supplied.



We finish the latest round of auditions in Sydney, meeting 18-year-old Jakob Poyner who shares with us he struggles from memory issues however music seems to relieve that and help him focus in. He performs Broken Cowboy by The Dead South, where he channels Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley with his deeply rich vocals. Moving to his middle register, Poyner just gets better and better, setting himself apart from other contestants in the competition. The judges are divided due to his memory issues (he did have sheet music in front of him in case he needed any prompts whilst playing and singing), which is a valid point but should that stop him from achieving Idol success? Sandilands doesn’t think so, he loves Poyner’s voice and votes yes. Connick Jr. says lots of artists “on a professional level” have performed with lyrics and lead lines all around them, but Poyner is “not on a professional level.” Maybe this is where you give him a chance to reach that level, right? Clearly Connick Jr. doesn’t think so and votes no. Shark has more confidence and wants to give him a shot, so votes yes. Trainor keeps saying he’s “too young”, which we all know I think is a redundant line considering production have lowered the age to sixteen. In short, she votes no. Poyner leaves the room and Trainor begins to regret her decision. “We need some interesting voices” Shark remarks. We then follow Trainor and Sandilands as they frantically race through the venue to find Poyner. They track him down on a bridge leaving the venue with his family and Trainor admits she made a mistake, and hands him his golden ticket. All's well that ends well.


Jakob Poyner. Image: Supplied.


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



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