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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

IT'S 'HEROES AND TRIBUTES' WEEK ON AUSTRALIAN IDOL

Read our recap below!

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This week on Australian Idol, the theme is 'heroes and tributes'. Each contestant has chosen a track to dedicate to a hero in their own lives, so get ready for an emotional rollercoaster. As 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 appear on stage, top-rating broadcaster Kyle Sandilands is notably missing and is home unwell.


First up is Amali Dimond who is dedicating her performance to her father, a former NRL player. She’s performing Katy Perry’s Unconditionally, showing a more vulnerable side when compared to her more empowering performances. She hits those powerful notes and delivers a moving performance, building in anticipation. I loved everything but her outfit (which I’m not usually one to comment on what the contestants are wearing), I just didn’t think it suited the premise of the song. In an absolutely wholesome moment, Dimond made eye contact with her father and he was proud as punch.

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Angelina Curtis is leaning into that Delta Goodrem comparison and dedicating her performance of Goodrem’s track Born To Try to the Australian superstar herself. The singer even sends a good luck video to Curtis, who says in glee, “She knows my name!” I’m not sure it was a smart move performing one of Goodrem’s songs. She’s one of Australia’s greatest and most celebrated vocalists, and with there already being the comparisons, it leaves Curtis open to a lot of analysis. I don’t think it was her strongest performance, and felt slightly inauthentic to me. She sounded great and had a beaming smile on her face, the staging and production was lovely too. I just think it was the wrong song choice. The judges all loved the performance, with Shark sharing she was worried about the song choice but thinks Curtis pulled it off. Connick Jr. gave some advice on song choice and choosing a song that builds in anticipation similar to what Dimond was able to create in her performance.

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For Royston Sagigi-Baira, his passion for music grew thanks to his year two teacher Miss Alex. He chooses to sing The Climb by Miley Cyrus which hits me for two reasons. One, I LOVE Miley. She can do no wrong and her new album is incredible. Two, it really speaks to his journey and finding that belief in himself and his talent. As always, he delivered a great performance. But during the verses, there was just something missing. It fell a bit flat in terms of performance. The key change however gave me a few goosebumps as the spotlights erupted behind him and he began to add his own vocal runs. “Miss Alex I hope you’re very proud wherever you are watching from” says Shark. Connick Jr. commends him for consistently making great choices, but felt he lost focus with his technical work and he’s right. It was a great performance, but not his strongest. But even with that, he was still great. And then Ricki-Lee sends us all to tears when she announced there’s a special surprise for Sagigi-Baira. Yep, Miss Alex is standing just to the side. If you tell me you didn’t tear up, I won’t believe you.


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When host Ricki-Lee asks the judges who their own Idols are, Connick Jr. lists some jazz heroes, Shark says she wishes she could name a teacher but they didn’t like her so she instead cites Blink-182 and Alanis Morrisette, whilst Trainor says her father is her biggest hero. For Noora H, it’s her online community. She appreciates their constant support and kind messages, so dedicates her performance of Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa’s Scared To Be Lonely. It was her first cover she posted to the platform, and feels less lonely thanks to the community she’s built online. I say this most weeks, but Noora’s lower register need work. In the songs first verse, she was flat at moments and her runs weren’t as successful. The judges never comment on this though which is quite perplexing. 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.

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Phoebe Stewart is dedicating her performance to her late grandfather who inspired her to follow a musical path. She’s chosen Lauren Daigle’s You See, delivering another powerful performance. Stewart never misses a note and consistently provides great performances. The stage was shrouded in smoke as she made her way across it, surrounded by a choir of back up singers. She has an international sound with her booming tone and impeccable delivery. “I lost my marbles”, Trainor says, raving of the performance. Connick Jr. loved seeing footage of Stewart and her grandfather and the insight it gave into where she picked up the technical side of her musicality. Now I know we love Stewart as a ballad/power ballad/big song performer. But just once I’d love to see her do an upbeat song, just to switch it up one week.


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After a brief plug of Trainor’s new single Mother, in which she imparts the advice to “always ask” even if you think the idea will get shot down, it’s time for Idol’s rockstar Ben Sheehy to take to the stage. He attended a music school which fostered his love for rock music, so he’s dedicating his performance of Wolfmother’s Joke and The Thief to that school. I’m so excited. I love this song and know he’s going to crush it. And straight out of the ballpark, he’s killing it. His vocals are insane and it’s one of his best, if not his best, performance on the Idol stage. He’s Interacting with the audience and cameras, whilst standing more resolute in his movements (following Connick Jr.’s feedback last week) and commanding everyone’s attention. He looks so comfortable on stage, and when Connick Jr. suggests he should bring a guitar on stage and “crack that son of a gun”, I’m all for a rockstar moment. Shark feels lucky to get her own show from Sheehy each week, and Trainor loves him not only as a performer but as a person.


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Anya Hyninnen is dedicating her song to her hometown of Selby. She’s looking to emotionally connect this week, and is performing Nina Simone’s Feelin Good. For the first 45 seconds of the performance Hyninnen is unaccompanied. There’s some nice vocal runs and she definitely is able to hit those big notes, but again I feel there’s a disconnect which I think comes down to a wrong song choice. “I don’t mind being booed,” Connick Jr. says before saying she “stole” the arrangement. I think stole is a bit of a strong word, I don’t seem to recall her saying she had done her own arrangement? Trainor and Connick Jr. go back and forth over originality and singers longevity if they’re not bringing their own artistry to their craft.


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We finish tonights episode with Josh Hannan. He’s performing Fix You by Coldplay and is dedicating the song to his music teacher Tracey, who gave him singing lessons as a youngster. Last year, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and again the tears start to swell as Hannan tells Tracey he’ll be performing tonight in her honour. Seated at the piano, he blessed us with an emotional performance that showcased the light and shade of his vocals and that incredible tone. It’s hard to fault anything in his performance, and we definitely ended the episode with the best performance of the night. Trainor said he sounded like a violin and a cello and that was such a great analogy, he has such a versatile voice. Shark thinks he’s a superstar and shares her own story on losing a musical confidant to cancer at a young age, and Connick Jr. dubs it his strongest performance. I’m sure he’ll receive tonights fast pass to the top six. And after a "healthy debate" amongst the judges, I'm proven right. Shark says Hannan is an "important part of the show," and has progressed to the top six. We'll have to tune in tomorrow night to see which other five contestants will join him, and who will go home, as well as a performance from American band OneRepublic.


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



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