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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Read our recap of episode three below!

Image: Supplied.

Here we are, night three of Australian Idol auditions. So far there’s been some pretty impressive talent from across the nation, which is a promising start to what is hopefully going to be a career-launch for a number of contestants. Hosts Ricki-Lee and Scott Tweedie let us know the judges are “determined to unearth the best of the best”. So let’s settle in for another night spent with American Idol judge, musician, singer, composer and multiple 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.

Amélie Matthews. Image: Supplied.

For the third night in a row, the episode has kicked off with a budding teen vocalist. School student Amélie Matthews is ready to jump in and chase her dreams. “Have you thought about what it would be like to go on the Australian Idol journey and how intense and frightening that could be?” Connick Jr. quizzes the 15-year-old. Matthews brushes it off responding, “I’m really excited for this opportunity and I’m willing to see how far it will take me.” Matthews opts to sing idontwannabeyouanymore from teen idol Billie Eilish, which is a tricky choice. Eilish has such a distinct vocal tone and phrasing, that Matthews falls into replicating those choices. However, there’s no denying her talent and own ability as a vocalist. She makes it through to the top fifty, with her little sister being invited inside for her own chance to perform and to deliver the news to her older sister. But once again the question of “is 15 too young?” rears its head. Yes it is, but Idol’s production team have relinquished that thought. It is nice however to see the judges show concern about the future wellbeing of these young contestants. Apart from Sandilands, who in episode one said “let the industry chew her up and spit her out” towards one contestant, and in this instance remarks “Here’s captain Amy, saving everyone from the horrible music industry”. Maybe Sandilands brushes age off because he himself has never been a recording artist, nor a performer. His first break in radio came at age 21, six years senior to Matthews at the time of auditioning. We could then also unpack the inequalities pushed upon female artists vs male artists. But that’s a conversation far too big for a small Australian Idol recap. So we move on. But before we do, I hope Matthews little sister holds Sandilands to his word, that she’ll make her way straight into the top fifty in 2030, having also received a golden ticket like her sister. The internet doesn’t forget, Kyle.

Sash Seabourne. Image: Supplied.

We then hop on the Idol bus to Perth, where we meet Sash Seabourne. He enters the room with his guitar presenting a reserved demeanour before captivating the judges, and I’m sure the nation, with his authentic taste on Whitney Houston’s classic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Stripping the track back to just guitar, Seabourne’s raw and compelling vocals command your attention. They’re rough with a raw timbre, but there’s a dimension and texture there that shines which showcases his authenticity as an artist. “This is exactly what I’m looking for. Something refreshing, something exciting” Sandilands states. And he’s right, Seabourne definitely has the talent and appeal to make it to the grand final. But as we know in reality TV, anything could happen. Seabourne is also one of the only contestants to really consider putting their own spin on the song they’ve chosen to audition with, which gives an idea into what could unfold on his Idol journey. The judges are hooked, I’m hooked, hopefully you’re hooked, and he’s made it to the next round.

Tonight is Shark’s turn to hit the road on a solo venture. She’s arrived on the Gold Coast (or ‘the GC’ as it’s continuously referred to throughout the program) to meet Noah Cookson. Firstly, Shark has such a personable and approachable personality, how could Cookson and his family not be star struck. I know they’re judges and not coaches, but Team Amy all the way. Back to Cookson, we’re three for three in episode three, with another great audition. From the comfort of his home, Cookson performs a vulnerable and delicate rendition of Coldplay’s Yellow. His parents slightly open the back door so they can hear their son audition for one of Australia’s most adored contemporary artists. Much like Seabourne, there’s an unpolished quality to his vocals that just works. His dulcet falsetto is so lovely against the more growling moments. It’s emotive and mesmerising, and gives Shark “goosebumps” for the first time throughout the competition. She thinks he could win the competition, and I agree. But not without a fight from the other talented vocalists we’ve seen.

Noah Cookson. Image: Supplied.

Yes, there’s more unsuccessful auditions. And again, a bunch of them lean more towards musical theatre. And again, most of them are just singing in a key that doesn’t suit their range, picked the wrong song, have been unable to shake off the nerves or just aren’t what the judges are looking for. It’s unfair to palm them off as “untalented” when, as I said in my recap of episode two, there’s so many variables. So I hope they go on to forge their own paths within the music industry, or come back next year to prove the naysayers wrong (look at Lady Gaga). I also want to commend them on accepting the judges decisions without any spite. One contestant, a former pageant queen, teaches Sandilands the “lava walk”, much to his delight. I wouldn’t say he nailed it, but hey, not everyone learns how to strut from a pageant queen. I encourage you to check out the social media accounts of contestants who may have had their Idol journey cut short, and see that this three minute audition doesn’t capture what they’re capable of. You’ll find some great covers and performances that will once again solidify, 'not everything will go right all the time'. One I think the judges got it wrong on was Jeremy Fletcher. He stood apart from the contestants already admitted to the top fifty, with his luring deeper tones and growling performance. One could argue Fletcher deserves a spot in the top fifty more than other contestants who have progressed.

Jeremy Fletcher. Image: Supplied.

Jasey Fox. Image: Supplied.

Jasey Fox hits us with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. “Everyone’s naked” he says as he tries to shake off the nerves before launching in to the classic track. Fox is good. It’s clear the nerves have been hard to shake, but they push through them like a pro to give it their all. The judges present a perplexed front, more so than they should. Yes, there were off key moments and an instance where their voice broke, but it’s undeniable Fox is talented. Ultimately, the judges see the light and Fox nabs a golden ticket. We’re then shown a montage of Sandilands newfound fatherhood, before your heart gets stolen by Riley, Trainor’s infant son. He and his father, Spy Kids actor Daryl Sabara, sing together with Trainor and it’s truly a cute and wholesome moment. But back to business, Michaela George is another contestant who has given me Kelly Clarkson vibes. Her daughter has a sign saying “my mum is a rockstar” and she’s correct, she has an edge. She recalls dreaming to audition for Idol as a child, to receive a ‘touchdown’ from former judge Mark Holden. She takes on Sorry, Not Sorry by Demi Lovato and kills it. Yes, there were probably better song choices, but it was great nevertheless. Her lower register needs some strengthening, but she’s a great addition to the top fifty and her fun-loving energy is infectious.

Michaela George. Image: Supplied.

Isabella Vicente. Image: Supplied.

Sandilands connects with the next contestant, Isabella Vicente, having both experienced homelessness in their youth. They both share some inspiring words. Vicente puts her own spin on Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game, keeping the songs core integrity whilst pushing the songs boundaries. Her breath control was outstanding, but it wasn’t a standout audition. The good thing is, she made it to the next round and we’ll get to delve deeper into her artistry in the coming weeks. Paramedic Jess Crossman falls a bit short with her rendition of Florence + The Machine’s You’ve Got The Love. The vocal talent is there, but the delivery and phrasing mimicked front woman Florence Welch’s own performance, raising questions about her individual artistry. The judges give her a shot to show her true self, and send her through to the next round.

Jess Crossman. Image: Supplied.

We cap off episode three of auditions with Noora H, a singing-travel agent from Sydney. Noora shares 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 takes on David Guetta and Sia’s collaboration, She Wolf, and she can sing. Unfortunately her performance doesn’t break through, she sounds great but there’s something lacking which I believe can be put down to nerves. Her upper register is powerful, and she has the potential to go far in the competition. And luckily, we get to go along for the ride as she scores her place in the next round.

Noora H. Image: Supplied.

Watch Australian Idol on Channel 7 Monday-Wednesday at 7:30pm AEDT, and stream episodes one to three on 7 Plus.


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