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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

AUSTRALIAN IDOL'S TOP TEN TAKE ON THE JUDGES SONG CHOICES

Read our recap below!

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We’re back for another night of Australian Idol! Tonight, the top ten will perform songs selected by the judges, Grammy® award-winning artist Harry Connick Jr.; Grammy® award-winning singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor; beloved eight-time ARIA Award-winning singer-songwriter Amy Shark and top-rating broadcaster Kyle Sandilands. Once again, the judges will have the ability to save one contestant from elimination, sending them through to the top eight. There’ll also be a tally of which judges songs were chosen most, so lets see who wins.


We’re kicking off tonights episode with Joshua Hannan, who has been given four songs to choose from. Noah Cyrus’ July, Sam Fischer’s The City, Lewis Capaldi’s Forget Me or James Bay’s Hold Back The River are up for grabs, and knows how crucial song choice is, ultimately choosing Forget Me due to its uptempo nature. He’s a bit nervous, but I’m sure he’ll be fine. Opening the song with more stripped back instrumentation, the song builds towards a more driving chorus. Hannan sounds great and Shark is losing her mind watching along with pride making me think maybe she chose it. However, as much as I love Hannan, tonights performance was a bit lacklustre. Stripping the song back took away from the “upbeat” risk he wanted to take, and whilst he used the stage his presence seemed a bit reserved. Sandilands wanted more movement onstage, but Shark said she could see Hannan filling stadiums, like Harry Styles had done the night before. (Side note: I was also at Styles’ show on Friday and it was one of the best I’ve ever seen).


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Ariana Grande and Zedd’s Break Free, Freya Ridings Castles, Jess Glynne’s Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself and David Guetta and Sia’s Titanium are the options for Amali Dimond, who chooses Titanium due to the fact she won a singing competition when she was younger singing that tune. Last week, Maya Weiss performed the track in her elimination round and was incredible, so Dimond has a lot to live up to. Whilst she sounds great and looks every bit the rockstar, it’s not my favourite performance from Dimond. She has strength and power in her vocals hitting those higher notes, and the more dance-leaning arrangement works well. I just think there were better options presented by the judges. Both Dimond and I guessed Trainor as the judge who selected Titanium, but in fact it was Connick Jr., who gets a bit worked up that Trainor was called the pop Queen, but in the end it was his choice. So far it’s one for Harry and one for Amy.


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We don’t get to see all four song choices for Anya Hynninen but she’s tossing between Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me. She wanted to do something “feisty” and choose Back To Black. It was a return to form for Hynninen, but I agree with Connick Jr. that it lacked that feisty quality she was hoping to achieve. Her vocals were strong and the production was effective, but I would’ve liked a bit more growl in her voice. She thinks Shark chose the track, I think Connick Jr., but we were both wrong and it was actually Trainor.


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Royston Sagigi-Baira provides one of the series’ most emotional moments. Out of the four songs presented, James Arthur’s Impossible, John Legend’s All Of Me, James Morrison's I Won’t Let You Go and Sam Smith’s Promises, he selected I Won’t Let You Go due to his personal connection to the song. Sagigi-Baira performed the song at his mothers funeral, and shares how special his relationship with his late mother was. He channeled that emotion to deliver an outstanding performance. His connection to the song shone through and he delivered incredible powerful vocals. The judges loved every second, and it was Shark who selected the song having had no knowledge on Sagigi-Baira’s connection to the track. In another wholesome moment, the contestant was surprised by his brother who was sitting in the audience to watch him perform.

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It’s Angelina Curtis’ turn and she’s over the moon to have made it to the top ten. 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’d love for her to do As It Was to show a more upbeat and high energy side to her artistry, and thankfully she selected it. Curtis seems to be taking more control of the staging and choreography when it comes to the performance, which is 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 see Curtis step away from the piano and use some of the stage. I would’ve loved if the arrangement had stayed the same, because I think what we heard tonight felt a bit like a cruise line performance. 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.


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For Sash Seabourne, he’s narrowed his choices down to David Bowie’s Heroes and Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight and he chooses the latter. The haunting rendition suited Seabourne’s breathy and captivating vocals so well, but once again I feel like each performance tonight is just that little bit undercooked. Trainor receives her first “boo” with her feedback, and Shark was gearing up to receive one as they both thought the production overshadowed him. I’m not sure who picked this song, but Seabourne guesses Sandilands because he’s from the “classic era”, and it’s the first time anyone has selected Sandilands’ song! He’s been upset so far he hadn’t made an entry on the leaderboard. Ricki-Lee says it’s “possibly the only point you’re gonna get in this competition.”


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Out of all the choices presented, Noora H can 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 at times she sounds a bit nasally. I think the key of the song should have been down a step which could have resolved some of those problems. She thinks Connick Jr. picked the song, and she’s correct. He’s now tied two for two with Shark and Trainor, and he remarks, “I feel like I’m gonna win, I’m gonna win Australian Idol.”

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For our resident rockstar Ben Sheehy, he’s been given four great songs. His choices are between Aerosmith’s Dream On, Måneskin’s cover of Beggin’, Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man and JET’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl. I’d love any of them apart from Working Class Man personally. He doesn’t want to be in the bottom four again and is toying up between Dream On and Beggin’. He chooses Beggin’ due to its commercial success so he can prove that rock music does have its place within the industry, and the competition. He starts training, both vocally and physically, to crush this performance. I’ve said it before, but I love that he uses a microphone on a lead - all the best do. Again, he delivers. It’s always a breath of fresh air when Sheehy steps on stage, he interacted with the audience, used the stage and sounded great. Connick Jr. thinks Sheehy is one of those artists who doesn’t need to move around, and would prefer he stand still, which is a fair comment. I think Sandilands picked it, but Sheehy says “Megan chose Beggin’” and he got it right. I’m really not doing well tonight with my choices. Also, he needs to perform Mr Roboto by STYX and pull out some great choreography. “He’s a star man,” says Trainor, she saw her brother and family jumping along the side of the stage and I think Sheehy has successfully proved he deserves to stay in the competition.

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Tonight is a round of hopeful redemption for Harry Hayden, who has been allocated I’m So Tired by Lauv featuring Troy Sivan, Black And Gold by Sam Sparrow, Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding and Hands To Myself by Selena Gomez. He chooses Black And Gold, which he thinks Sandilands chose but it was actually Connick Jr. The staging is great, with Hayden strutting down a red catwalk, but at times it seems like he’s putting on a voice and I’m not blown away by his vocal performance. It’s definitely an improvement on last week, but like many performances tonight I think it it fell a bit short. It’s always like something is holding him back, like he won’t completely give himself over to the performance. “I’ll tell you what was missing: skill,” says Sandilands. I hate to agree with him, but I do. There’s a lot of room for improvement for Hayden. It could come down to something like breaking the lyrics down and finding his own emotion within each line. In contrast to Trainor's comment, when it comes to this song, I feel Hayden's lower register was stronger and I wish he played with that more.

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Having received the judges fast pass to the top ten last week, Phoebe Stewart is feeling like she has something to prove to Australia. She’s fairly disappointed with the judges choices of ABBA’s Dancing Queen, Rachel Platten’s Fight Song, The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows and Lauren Daigle’s You Say. She chooses Dancing Queen and decides to turn it into a ballad. She sounds incredible, her vocals are faultless and she holds so much power. The staging and styling was phenomenal and by far the best performance of the night. But I would’ve loved to see her perform an upbeat song. I think at this point Stewart is running the risk of being boxed into 'just a ballad singer' and I worry viewers might get a bit bored as the weeks go by. But as I said, it was a flawless performance. Stewart guessed Trainor had picked the song, and she was right, which makes the judge the winner of their inner competition (Connick Jr. placed second, Shark third and Sandilands last). “We might as well fast forward and crown you queen of Idol now,” says Sandilands. Both Trainor and Shark stood throughout the performance, and praised her during their feedback. Stewart quipped the songs were from the 1900’s when expressing her disappointment in her earlier package, and Connick Jr. suggests she researches some songs from the millennium since we all know there’s some absolute bangers.

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Before public voting opens, the judges have the chance to save an artist and send them through to the top eight. Connick Jr. and Shark say there were a lot of differing opinions and at first they were not unanimous. Trainor says they take social media numbers and crowd reaction into consideration when it comes to making their decision, and Sandilands reveals "It’s not any of the boys, you’re all on your own." He then announces the contestant who will progress to the top eight is Noora H. With voting lines now open, tune in tomorrow night to see which contestants make it through and to see American Idol alumni Adam Lambert perform.


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


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