Read our recap below!
It’s semi-finals week on Australian Idol, and viewers at home were given the chance to pick the the contestants songs this week having been offered two choices to choose on Idol’s Instagram account. 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 are all on hand to judge your choices Australia, so I hope you choose wisely! With next week being the grand final, we’ll be saying goodbye to three contestants tomorrow night.
Kicking off with rock god Ben Sheehy, we’re shown a montage of young children dancing along to his previous performance as he shuns Sandilands’ previous comment that rock is dead. He’s singing The Rolling Stones’ (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and is planning to get the audience pumped by joining them in the crowd. I was very much hoping he would do an epic stage dive, but instead he opted for a more calm route by walking down into the crowd. Once again, Sheehy has delivered an effortless performance that oozed with his personality. He even tossed the mic stand aside in a rock 'n' roll moment. Shark loved it, but wished it was a different arrangement. Connick Jr. agrees and also comments his styling tonight feels like a very natural progression for him. “You may be the guy to revive rock music,” Sandilands says in a 180 from his previous comments, adding “you may be able to do what JET did for it.”
Phoebe Stewart is taking on an emotional ballad tonight following her place in the bottom four last week, performing Birdy’s version of People Help The People. During rehearsals she’s struggling to memorise the lyrics, but in the performance she nailed it. A perfect choice for Stewarts deep and mesmerising tone. Apparently the viewers were also able to vote to have the judges perform certain acts on tonights show. Why Australia? Why do you keep pushing that revolting trend known as a ‘shoey.’ Please let’s stop making international artists chug alcohol from a dirty shoe on stage. Its revolting. Connick Jr. is given the task tonight, with host Scott Tweedie egging him on. He does the damn shoey, but then decides to undertake his own version where instead of chugging it back, he does a Tim Tam slam and sucks the fluid from the shoe through one of the iconic biscuits. I wish I didn’t have to write that sentence.
Next up is Amali Dimond, who also found herself in the bottom four last week. She’s feeling grateful for the love and support regardless, cherishing time she spent with new found young fans following last weeks show. As she frantically runs around the Idol auditorium to find a clue as to which song she’ll be performing, it’s revealed the public have voted for Fly Away by Tones and I. She changes the arrangement a bit, starting it off as a ballad before diving into the songs more full arrangement. It’s not her strongest vocal offering, but it’s still a nice performance. I will say that there hasn’t been much versatility in Dimond’s performances over the weeks, it always stays at the same level and is always an upbeat song. This is something Connick Jr. also notes, suggesting she should perform a ballad next week. Sandilands and Trainor dub themselves “Dimond Diva’s”, with the former saying he felt like he was at a “real concert and then it goes back to a TV show.” He also added former Idol judge Marcia Hines, who made a guest appearance in bootcamp, called him to ask “How’s Amali doing?”, apparently not asking about any other contestant.
Optus Chief of Inspiration and beloved Tennis player, Ash Barty pops in to visit the top six, asking them questions about what inspires them and offering them advice, before the audience questions turn to Trainor. Those at home wanting to know if she’s due to give birth to a boy or a girl. She informs us all she’s having… (pause for anticipation)… a baby. “You know how many views I could get on TikTok?” she says of any potential gender announcement. They also want to know where Shark picked up the stage name Shark, sharing it was born from her obsession with Jaws as a child. Connick Jr. asks her what her real last name is, and she quips back “Winehouse.” She then gives us her best American accent, and it’s miles ahead of Connick Jr. and Trainor’s Australian accents.
Having been given a fast pass by the judges last week, Josh Hannan is performing Olivia Rodrigo’s hit song Drivers License. He too is lapping up the love from new found fans, much like the other contestants who all had the chance to mingle with fans last week. It goes without saying that Hannan delivered a standout performance. Each week he continues to kill it, and this was no different. Seated at the piano, his luring stage presence fills the room and his vocals never faltered. The judges all loved it, and Trainor reveals the Chair CEO of Sony Music Australia, Vanessa Picken, is in the audience tonight. “We’ve really got a contest now,” says Sandilands, who thinks everyone could win at this point. There’s no doubt Hannan is one of the hot contenders to take out the competition, but as we know anything can happen when it comes to voting.
Anya Hynninen is singing a more contemporary song when compared to her previous performances, with viewers choosing the current #1 song across the globe, Miley Cyrus’ Flowers. She’s looking to make the song her own following Connick Jr.’s brutal comments last week accusing her of stealing. I really want to mention again that Australia Idol is basically the countries biggest karaoke competition, so I don’t get why Connick Jr. has such a bee in his bonnet about changing arrangements so they don’t match the originals and why his thoughts on this seem to be selective. But alas, Hynninen is stripping the song back and taking a more ballad approach. There’s some lovely strings added to Hynninen’s arrangement but something about it felt a bit undercooked. Like the kind of performance you’d find on a cruise ship. It wasn’t a great song choice for the singer, and unfortunately I think the authenticity of what we saw during her audition has become lost within the context of the competition. Shark had hoped for more of a different arrangement and Connick Jr. seemed to agree, but spent most of his time defending his comments from last week. But Sandilands delivered tonight, saying “We like to sing the words that know in the style we like. It’s a contest. This isn’t a show-off joint. This is a place where you sing to win. You win the record deal and then you go and you do your airy-fairy arty party stuff.” Whilst yes Connick Jr. is an artist, Sandilands has had decades as the countries top radio jockey. He knows what sells and he knows what listeners want. Trainor acknowledges how hard it is to take on the #1 song in the world and commends her efforts.
It’s a Sandilands show tonight, with the viewers having loved seeing him sing a line when Trainor performed her hit single, Made You Look, and they want more! Tweedie surprises him with a microphone, and he hits the stage to sing (what I would call a musical theatre leaning) performance of The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). It doesn’t take long for him to sit back down, saying “I’m not paid to sing.” What a wild ride tonights episode has been. Back to regular programming, the final contestant to take to the stage tonight is Royston Sagigi-Baira. The audience have chosen Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors, much to his excitement. He’s singing the song to his younger self, getting emotional as he shares the insecurity he felt in his youth and feeling comfortable in his sexuality. It was an emotional performance. There was some slight wavering in the key change, and overall just didn’t feel as impassioned as usual. But for the most part, he delivered a flawless vocal performance.
Earlier this week, Shark joined Sony Foundation Australia’s Wharf4Ward event, where $1.26 million was raised to support young Australians with cancer. You can donate to Sony Foundation Australia here. In honour of the spirit of giving, the top six then all come together to perform Jess Glynn’s I’ll Be There. Following the captivating performance, the attention turns to who the judges will award tonights fast pass too. But in a pleasant twist, they decide to leave it up to Australia to decide which three artists will make it to the top three, and which three contestants will be leaving the competition. So it’s up to you Australia, and voting lines are open now!
Watch Australian Idol on Channel 7 tomorrow night at 7:30pm AEDT. Stream it on 7 Plus.