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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Read our recap of episode four below!

Image: Supplied.

Tonight, we settled back in to the search for the next Australian Idol, as auditions continued in episode four. Hosts Ricki-Lee and Scott Tweedie greet Idol hopefuls on the Gold Coast, as 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 get ready for another set of contestants. Sandilands is notably missing from the panel, before emerging with a koala to greet Trainor. It’s her first time seeing a koala, and we’re treated to some cute selfies and family moments with Jack the koala.

Alivia Hollis. Image: Supplied.

Our first audition of the night is with 18-year-old Alivia Hollis, who performs Kelly Clarkson’s moving track, Piece By Piece. Hollis has an emotional connection to the track, relating to its lyrical nature of family dynamics. The heart-rending performance drew tears from Sandilands and left the panel mesmerised. There’s a theatricality to Hollis’ performance, leaning towards a musical theatre realm, with her crystal clear vocals earning her a place in the top fifty. We then meet Kartik Kunasegaran who is a breath of fresh air. His smiling personality brings light-hearted fun, and his back-and-forth conversation with his father about career paths prior to his audition is hilarious. He enters the audition room with a guitar in-hand and gives a charismatic take on Bruno Mars’ Treasure. He has a nice vocal tone and drawing presence. Taking on an upbeat track is so refreshing within more ballad-based auditions. Shark picks up on Kunasegaran’s driving work ethic, whilst the other three judges question if he has enough to go all the way in the competition. Ultimately, he scores a yes from each judge and his father gets emotional, which made me emotional and will probably make you emotional.

Kartik Kunasegaran. Image: Supplied.

We’re then treated to a strike of vengeance. That’s right, the Noll name is back on Idol! Tessa Noll, the niece of season one’s runner-up Shannon Noll, has arrived to carve out her own Idol journey whilst Ricki-Lee eggs on a family rivalry. With sweet advice from her uncle, Noll enters the room and is immediately asked to turn the tables and judge Trainor and Connick Jr.’s attempts at an Australian accent. Neither are great, but Connick Jr. takes the title. She takes a brave approach to her audition, singing Trainor’s hit-single Like I’m Gonna Lose You. Noll has a sweet and angelic tone to her voice, the performance took us through the peaks and valleys of the song, but unfortunately nerves got the better of her. She forgot a few words prompting Trainor to join in singing and tell her out of all the contestants who auditioned with her songs, she was her favourite. Noll doesn’t make it through this time around, but the judges reassured her that she just needed some time and more work to shake off the nerves.

Tessa Noll. Image: Supplied.

Apparently there’s a theme of bribery via food this season, with a number of contestants offering the judging panel a variety of pastries and dishes before presenting lukewarm performances. This all changes with Montana Lara. She enters the room with Idol themed biscuits, Sandilands gets to eat his younger face printed on to a cookie. “They’re good” he says biting down, as Lara explains that her cookie hustle is to support her musical dreams. She takes on Tina Arena’s classic Chains and kills it with her soulful performance. She has impeccable control, hitting those high notes with ease and leaving us wanting more. “You’re the first person that’s fed us with dinner and a show.” Trainor remarks. And with that, we have another strong contender to hold the title of Australian Idol.

Montana Lara. Image: Supplied.

Now here is where Idol loses me. Brisbane-via-New Zealand contestant Haze Harrington enters the competition looking the part. His fabulous all white outfit and icy blonde hair is calling to be on the Idol stage. He auditions with Iris by Goo Goo Dolls and shows promise, but not enough to get over the line this time around. He just needs more training and a bit more confidence in his vocal abilities and there’s no doubt he has a shot. The panel don’t progress him to the next round, and his Idol journey is over. Until Sandilands decides to say “maybe show up in another city.” This one just feels like a set up. Harrington does decide to take a $500 plane ride to Melbourne to audition, which Sandilands ultimately blasts as “a waste of [a] trip” as he tears up a piece of paper. He offers to reimburse Harrington for the plane fare, once again sending him on his way without a golden ticket. A montage of unsuccessful auditions plays, one contestant brought a cheer squad, another, Anastasia Skourtis, Sandilands likes to a cruise singer. There is a karaoke element to her audition, but regardless Skourtis shows promise and can hold a tune. A combination of the wrong song choice and bad outfit decision drew attention away from her performance for the judges. Trainor and Sandilands were distracted by the squeaking sounds her outfit made, whilst Shark thought Thriller is not the correct choice for a hopeful Idol.

As the Idol truck rolls into Adelaide, a place that “creates Idols” according to one sign, we see the hopefuls munching on some Tim Tams from a table stacked with packets of said biscuits. Honestly, the all-you-can-eat Tim Tam buffet is enough to get me to audition. But anyway, next up we meet 28-year-old sparky, James Vawser, who has been urged by his fellow workmates to audition after spending his days singing on the job site. It’s what Idol is all about, taking everyday Australians and making them superstars. Straight off the job site, Vawser enters the audition room to sing James Morrison’s You Give Me Something. He’s nervous, but he’s good and has a loveable personality. Of course, Connick Jr. goes on a nitpicking trail of “critique”, commenting on Vawser’s stance. It’s almost like he’s forgotten that this is a daunting experience, singing in front of four strangers who happen to be acclaimed in their fields. Vawser is then unsure what to do with his hands whilst the panel give their verdict, but he does earn yeses across the board and has rightfully earned his place in the top fifty.

James Vawser. Image: Supplied.

Sam Jeacle. Image: Supplied.

Sam Jeacle is bringing some rock ’n’ roll to the competition and let’s rejoice! Apart from Ben Sheehy who tackled Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love in episode one, we’ve yet to have a rocker stroll through the Idol gates. With his rockstar outfit and 80’s bleached haircut, Jeacle sings Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell and brings a new flair to the show. He has great control and effortlessly darts between soaring notes and growling tones. I’d love to hear him take on Bon Jovi’s Always or Miley Cyrus’ Night Crawling, with the latter also featuring Billy Idol. Connick Jr. questions his technique and resilience when it comes to performing daily, but Jeacle quips back with methods he undertakes to protect his vocals which we love to see. And just like that, Idol has another rockstar on its hands with Jeacle impressing all four judges and progressing to the top fifty. It’s then time for another home visit, with Shark once again embarking on a journey to find talent in North Queensland. She visits Damien Agius at his local pub and joins him and his family for a beer. He chooses to sing If Tomorrow Never Comes by Garth Brookes, sharing that the song was played at his brothers funeral and holds sentimental value within his family. The intimate and vulnerable performance leaves Shark stunned, and she offers him a golden ticket.

Damien Agius. Image: Supplied.

Voice actor Chandler Campbell is another crooner (just don’t call yourself a crooner in front of Connick Jr.) ready to dazzle the judges. He has a very open and approachable vibe before he even steps into the room, which continues throughout his performance. He sings Seth MacFarlane’s version of Let’s Face The Music and Dance, proving he’s clearly talented and has a very full tone to his voice. When prompted by questions from Connick Jr., who he cites as one of his musical inspirations, Campbell admits he’s unsure about his artistry and is still figuring out who he wants to be within a musical sphere. Which is very fair, he’s 19 and still finding his feet. Trainor shares her own story of where she was at creatively when she was 19 and releasing All About That Bass, and the thought that she is still figuring it all out. She tells Campbell to “Lie! Figure it out, say something clever” when asked questions like that, to show that you are confident in your talent. It’s not long before each judge gives the budding singer a pass and he continues on in the competition.

Chandler Campbell. Image: Supplied.

We end night four of auditions in Adelaide with Emily Sutter. She’s rocking some green-themed plaid which perfectly compliments her vibrant purple hair that she explains is “more kind of wanting to look like myself, and feel like myself.” Something we can all relate to. She explains how music has become a comfort to her, providing inner power in the face of adversity and high-school bullying. She performs a sweet version of Kasey Chambers’ seminal classic, Not Pretty Enough, showing off the light and shade of her full vocals. Her falsetto needs some minor work, but Sutter presents a solid performance and captivated her audience. With the panel inviting Sutter’s family in to hear the verdict, we feel like part of the family as we watch each judge give out a yes verdict and present Sutter with her golden ticket.

Emilie Sutter. Image: Supplied.

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


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