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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 Noora H and Angelina Curtis have come to the end of their Idol journey, but it's just the start for their budding music careers. We caught up with Noora to chat about her Idol journey and what the future holds.

During the third round of Idol auditions, we were introduced to Noora H, a singing-travel agent from Sydney. Noora shared a message with her audition, hoping to create representation for “hijabi singers.” Through sharing covers on social media, a new found confidence led her to the Idol audition room. She took on David Guetta and Sia’s collaboration, She Wolf, and she can sing. There were some slight nerves that broke through, but when she hit that powerful upper register it was clear she had what it took to make it far in the competition.

For the chorus line challenge during bootcamp, Noora was tasked with singing Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman, and progressed to the next round alongside Sharin Attamimi, Isha Ramji and Maya Weiss. She was then grouped with Sara Houston, Harry Hayden, Ramji and Edwin Fejo for the supergroup challenge, where they performed Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are. Her next bootcamp performance took an R&B turn, where Noora sang Stay by Rihanna. The power in her voice was faultless and her changes to the songs melody sound fresh and natural, and earned her a spot in the next round.

For her top twenty four offering, the singer was reflecting on the power and importance of her inclusion within the competition, recalling back to her previous performance and seeing young muslim women in the audience and feeling the weight of being a role model for them. She was hoping to shed the habits she picked up as a TikTok vocalist and make a connection with her audience whilst singing Olivia Newtown John’s Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease. Whilst her lower register wavered at times, those higher notes were phenomenal. Her buttery tones shone through and she delivered an engaging performance. Sandilands thinks she brought a great gospel quality to the song, and Shark is scared to watch the footage back as she says, “I reckon I look, just look like an idiot because I couldn’t take my eyes off [you].” With this, Noora secured her place in the top twelve.

Before the first live show, Noora took to the streets to busk and gain more experience in front of a live crowd, something that was so smart as her first time performing in front of an audience was only in the top twenty four performances. She took on Lady Gaga’s Shallow from A Star Is Born, starting off the song with the audience right behind her. Phone flashlights soon begin to sway and create an atmosphere for Noora’s vocals to run wild within. She turned around, surrounded by spotlights, to see the crowds interaction and is pleasantly surprised. It was a solid performance, and Connick Jr. thinks she intentionally finishes her phrases sharp to create tension within her performances, The judges loved it, with Sandilands sharing he hates that song and the film it was written for, but loved Noora’s rendition. Unfortunately, the singer ended up in the bottom four where she sung Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, which is a hard song to pull off if you’re not Whitney Houston. She sounded great and hit those notes, and stayed to fight another day in the competition.

For judges choice week, Noora could see herself singing Christina Aguilera’s The Voice Within, choosing the song over Kesha’s Praying, Timbaland and OneRepublic’s Apologize and Alessia Cara’s Scars To Your Beautiful. The song holds a lot of weight for the singer, as she dedicates it to her younger self. It was an emotionally charged performance, and Noora hit those powerhouse notes she’s becoming known for. There are a few pitchy moments throughout and perhaps the key of the song should have been down a step. She also earned the judges fast pass straight to the top eight.

Which brings us to this weeks performance under the theme of 'heroes and tributes'. For Noora H, her heroes are her online followers. She appreciates their constant support and kind messages, so dedicates her performance of Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa’s Scared To Be Lonely to them. It was her first cover she posted to TikTok, and feels less lonely thanks to the community she’s built online. This weeks performance fell a bit flat. Her lower register needed work and in the songs first verse her runs weren’t as successful. Even her powerful belting notes wavered at times. However, it was nice to see her move slightly away from the big ballads into a more groove-based song, and show what kind of multi-faceted artist she could go on to become. Noora found herself in the bottom four for a second time, where she tackled one of Australia's biggest hits, singing Sia's Chandelier. She's added a bit too many vocal runs, but definitely pulls them off. Ultimately, Noora and Angelina Curtis' Idol journeys came to an end.

Firstly, congratulations on making it this far in competition and everything you've achieved. It's been so great watching each week and seeing your performances. Obviously, you've opened up a whole new world for people who haven't seen themselves represented at such a national level. What impact do you hope that your participation in Australian Idol leaves?

Thank you! I really hope that I've, you know, inspired other people that felt like they don't fit in to the industry that they want to be involved in because they look a certain way or feel a certain way. Anyone that feels like an outsider, I really hope I've inspired them to just believe in themselves and just take a risk and go out there and enjoy it. If it's something you're so good at and that you absolutely love, your passion, don't let it slip away. Because I hope that me getting, you know, I'd like to say very end, can inspire them to be like, 'wow, she did it and she made it.' I believe I made it. So I hope that they can sit and go, 'wow, if she can do it, I can.'

Yeah, for sure. You definitely did make it.

I also hope that because I'm trying to make some sort of a change, you know, we live in the most diverse country and I don't know how to put this in words, but I hope I've made a lot of Australians open towards people like me and, you know, hopefully we've gotten them warm to accepting people like me and people that they're not used to. Opening and being warm to those who feel different and make them comfortable. That's also a thing that I hope they take away from all of this.

I love that, and I'm sure your participation has helped that push. How does that make you feel personally, hopefully being this catalyst for change?

I feel like I've impacted so many people being on the Idol journey. I feel like I've accomplished what I've came here for. I've fulfilled my dreams being a singer. I can finally see the singer and the performer I've always wanted to be. And it's all thanks to Idol and the judges and the music team for bringing that out of me and letting that shine. And also being able to inspire others has been like the best thing. I feel like I've already won. Because I've accomplished both things that I wanted to do here and back to back weeks have been amazing and I've had the best feedback every week. So I really, there's nothing for me to complain about.

I'm so glad you've had such a great experience and have a positive outlook on your time in the competition. Prior to the show, you already had a following online. But how do you think shows like Australian Idol can change the trajectory of someone's life and career, and how do you think it's done so for you?

Oh my God, I'm definitely not the same person I was when I walked in [laughs]. I've learned so much about what it takes to be a performer. I've built so much more confidence, you know, I've proved to myself that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. I'm so confident now. Being here has made me, you know, it was proof that I can be the person I want to be. I put my mind and heart into it and I just believe in myself.

That's so lovely. What has been like your favourite moment throughout this whole journey?

I would definitely say my [first] bottom four performance. It was the first time I felt no nerves whatsoever. I badly wanted to stay in the competition and then putting on the best performance I thought was my best and then getting back into the top ten, making my way into the top ten, beause top ten was basically my goal. It was my goal. I came into this not 100% believing I would be number one. But I did say to myself that if made it past the top 10, then I've accomplished everything that I've wanted to. I've made it. That's a big enough accomplishment for me. That's a win

I back that, it's definitely a win. Obviously your Idol journey has come to an end, but were there any songs that you would've loved to have performed on the Idol stage?

I would've liked to sing Never Enough, you know from The Greatest Showman. That's a big song. I love singing big songs and ballads. I would've loved to maybe sing that. I would've loved to sing other songs that other contestants got to sing but, you know, you can't. I would've loved to sing a few Mariah Carey ballads as well. I actually feel like I got really lucky with the song choices. I got to sing every week a song that I absolutely loved. So I'm super, super happy with every song that I've been able to sing on the biggest stage in Australia. So happy for sure.

What do you think was the best piece of advice that you received throughout the competition? Be that from one of the judges, someone on production, or even one of your fellow contestants.

Failure is not an option. We had a guest here from One Republic, Ryan Tedder. I asked him, I said, 'what's your advice?' He goes, 'failure is just not an option. It doesn't exist.' That kind of hit me in a different way. Because that was something I was always afraid of going into this. And he's right. And also Harry always gives us amazing advice. He's kind of like a musical father figure and we had a one-on-one and basically just to expand your knowledge in the music industry because that's how you can be the best. Just the more you expand your knowledge, you know, the more the greater you'll be.

That's such great advice from both of them, and from musical icons as well. So this next one might be a hard question because obviously you've grown so close to your fellow contestants. But who would you like to see be named this years Australian Idol?

Well, the two that I think should win and that I want to win are either Phoebe [Stewart] or Josh [Hannan]. So Josh has this very emotional, he sings with so much emotion that he made me cry on different occasions without even trying. And then like he is a genius, he plays other instruments as well and he's so young. Phoebe is the youngest one there and she has the most powerful voice ever. I'm rooting for the both of them and I can't wait because I'll be there.

They're both so great. Idol is quite a full-on production with a gruelling schedule and a unique experience. One that not many people will kind of be able to relate with or understand apart from your fellow contestants. How do you think it has prepared you moving forward in your career?

You know what, it's prepared me to have tough skin. I am more confident to have the confidence to get myself out there. Shows like this are experience and they're a learning curve. They've moulded me into the performer I want to be. So it was challenging, but I feel like if I can make it this far on the Idol journey, considering all the stress and how real it is on there, I can do anything, you know? If I can get through that, becuase the top fifty week was the most brutal, challenging week of my life. We had breakdowns, we were crying, we lost sleep. And it's just kind of prepared me for what's out there. You're feel ready after something like this.

So what is next for you? Will you be releasing any music, maybe doing some live shows?

I mean, you never know what's coming your way after you finish something like this. So I know this has opened so many doors to me and I'm ready for whatever's to come. But I am hopefully doing some more live shows and gigs and releasing original music and performing my own original music as well. So yeah, I would love to make it internationally as well. So dreaming big and hoping for the best.

That's very exciting. To finish off, what advice would you give to someone wanting to audition for the next season of Australian Idol?

Just really know who you want to be as an artist. Believe in yourself and have all the confidence that you can going into this. You don't have to be perfect, and just believe in yourself.

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


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