Inside Australian Idol
Inside Australian Idolhomenewscontestantsthe showmediainteract
news: latest news


:: latest news
:: articles
:: rumours


Got any inside goss?
Send us your story and we'll post it on Inside Australian Idol


:: Official Site
:: SMH
:: The Age

|| Australian Idol 3: 2005

Australian Idol

|| Inside Australian Idol News- December

More Inside Australian Idol news >> DECEMBER

|| Latest news- November

Callea signs record deal | BACK |
25 November 2004

Callea signs record deal
November 25, 2004

Australian Idol runner-up Anthony Callea has signed a recording contract with Sony BMG.

The pint-sized popstar was pipped at the post by 16-year-old Sydney schoolgirl Casey Donovan in Sunday night's Idol final.

But the 21-year-old from Melbourne will release a debut single next month, followed by his debut album, after securing the contract.

"When I was told the news earlier [yesterday] I was absolutely speechless," Callea said.

"This is an absolute dream come true and I can't wait to get into the studio and start recording."

He thanked the company and "all my fans for their loyal support".

His first single as a solo artist will be a version of The Prayer, the song which became his trademark during the reality talent quest.

It will hit the airwaves on December 6 and retail stores on December 19.

Sony BMG Australia chief executive Denis Handlin said he looked forward to working with Callea.

"His impressive performances on Australian Idol and the fervour with which the Australian public have responded to him demonstrate that this talented young man has an incredible future," Mr Handlin said.

"Anthony has an assurance surrounding his performances that is rare in someone so young and a clear vision for his musical future."


Idol life has only just begun | BACK |
25 November 2004

Idol life has only just begun
November 23, 2004

AUSTRALIAN Idol winner Casey Donovan was exhausted yesterday but well aware she has an extraordinary year ahead of her.

"It's already changed my life dramatically," she said, adding the career she has embarked upon is something most people her own age would find daunting.

"I'm not a normal 16-year-old teenager any more that just goes to school and has parties every Friday night. That's going to change now," she said.

It certainly is, with her life now being mapped out by record company executives and sponsors hoping to capitalise on the 3.35 million people who watched her win on Sunday night.

She heads into the studio today to begin recording her debut album, to be released on December 1, and new single Listen With Your Heart, which will hit stores on Monday.

Both will undoubtedly debut on the charts at No1 and Casey can look forward to album sales akin to the 480,000 copies that 2003 Idol winner Guy Sebastian's debut release sold.

Her life prior to Idol fame is something Casey will miss but she's comfortable with the change.

"This is what I want to do," she said.

The elation and emotion of Sunday night's Idol extravaganza at the Opera House, during which it was announced she'd won the competition ahead of fellow finalist Anthony Callea led, understandably, to a sleepless night for the Bass Hill singer.

"I was just lying in bed and couldn't sleep and had to get up at 5.30," she said yesterday.

* AN opportunity for Telstra Bigpond to capitalise on Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan's success became an embarrassing fiasco yesterday when an advertisement placed in newspapers directed fans to a gay porn website.

Bigpond spokesman Craig Middleton admitted yesterday that "human error" had led to the ".au" being dropped off Donovan's website address


Ten's record ratings | BACK |
25 November 2004

Ten's record ratings
By Suzanne Carbone
November 23, 2004

It was a night to remember for Casey Donovan - and a day to forget for Telstra after directing fans to a similarly named gay porn site - but Channel Ten is celebrating record ratings for Australian Idol's finale as the year's top program with 3.35 million national viewers.

Sunday night's show was up 50,000 viewers on the 3.3 million last year. In Melbourne, the program averaged 979,437 viewers, and the earlier segment, Live at the Opera House, attracted 2.85 million viewers nationally and 814,257 in Melbourne.

The former underdog station, once criticised for airing too much US trash, has scored four out of five of the top programs with its big event programming: Australian Idol - The Final Verdict Network (3.35 million), Big Brother - The Winner Announced Network (2.86 million) and Australian Idol - Live From the Opera House (2.85 million). Then Ten's AFL grand final (2.8 million).

The success of the Idol franchise is also evident in higher 2004 ratings for the Sunday night live performances and Monday night's final verdict.

Despite Ten's success, Channel Nine still leads the pack with its regular programming and has won 36 out of 39 ratings weeks. Seven has won two and Ten one.

The Idol pecking order may change given that the ratings year ends this week with networks bringing out their big guns. Channel Nine aired the final of Friends last night, Pauline Hanson curtsies out in Dancing with the Stars tonight on Seven and tonight and tomorrow Seven premiers the Lindy Chamberlain mini-series Through my Eyes, the ABC has Kylie Minogue in the Kath and Kim finale on Thursday, and Don Burke leaves his backyard on Friday.

Network Ten's general manager network programming, David Mott, said he was not concerned about Idol falling from top spot because he was elated with the ratings. "Whether we get toppled, quite frankly, that's all based on ego," he said. "We are absolutely thrilled the numbers have been justified again. We're doing Idol again. Whether another show beats it, it doesn't matter."


Telstra directs Idol fans to porn site | BACK |
25 November 2004

Telstra directs Idol fans to porn site
Mon Nov 22 2004

Newspaper advertisements congratulating Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan mistakenly directed fans to a gay porn website.

The half-page ads, placed by Telstra's internet arm BigPond on Monday in Melbourne's Herald Sun and Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspapers, direct readers to

But anyone calling up the website will be confronted by a full frontal nude picture of American porn star, Casey Donovan, and links to sales of his gay porn DVDs and videotapes.

Australia's Donovan, a 16-year-old who won a lucrative record deal with the BMG label when she won Australian Idol on Sunday, has a personal website under construction at and a website set up by fans at

BigPond corporate affairs manager Craig Middleton put the gaffe down to "simple human error in the last-minute preparation of the ad".

"Obviously everything was put together last night after the winner was announced and unfortunately, the 'au' dropped off the address," he said.

Bigpond had alerted web filters to add the porn website to its databases to prevent children unwittingly viewing pornography.

"We have spoken to the Australian Broadcasting Authority about having the other site taken down or blocked but because it's rated R, not X, we have no option there," Mr Middleton said.

Sydney web designer Jared Fusedale set up the fan website at through his company, Fusedmedia Australia Pty Ltd.

Mr Fusedale, a fan of Donovan's, set up the website for fans to run as Donovan made her way through the competition.

The website has already received more than 270,000 hits, and features a picture gallery and a message board for fans.

Mr Fusedale said the porn movie website was "dodgy" but there was little he could do to avoid the problem of fans mistakenly clicking through to the website.

"Once you have a domain name, you can do anything you like with it, but we've had a lot of people (trying to find say they can't look at the website because it's dirty," Mr Fusedale said.

"The thing is every name relating to Casey Donovan or Casey has been taken up so there's not much we can do about it... but it has been pretty well marketed with the fans.

"Obviously this is a fan website we're providing for Casey and it's worked pretty well because of the result last night."

A spokesman for BMG, which manages Donovan and produces her official website, could not be contacted.

The American porn star's website is connected with, the online arm of Massachusetts production company Falcon Video, which offers for sale hundreds of movie titles and full frontal nude pictures of dozens of male models.



After the high, Casey hits a low | BACK |
25 November 2004

After the high, Casey hits a low
November 22, 2004

She's Australia's newest superstar but Casey Donovan said today she felt like a "big blob of crap".

A day after being crowned this year's Australian Idol, the 16-year-old Sydney schoolgirl was working out how to deal with her new-found fame.

The publicity machine had her conducting back to back interviews at 15-minute intervals from 6am.

And on no sleep, Donovan said she was having a hard time thinking straight, especially being asked the same questions over and over.

The Idol finale, in which Donovan beat Melbourne's Anthony Callea, 21, drew a record television audience of 3.35 million, peaking at 3.47 million when she was declared the winner at about 10.20pm (AEDT) last night, according to Network Ten.

Donovan won a recording contract and a car which she is too young to drive but plans to keep in the driveway just to annoy her brother and stepfather.

But today she was feeling far from being a star and said the competition, which began with 50,000 hopefuls in April, had been physically and mentally straining.

All she wanted to do was sleep.

"I just feel like a big blob of crap because I really need some sleep and my eyes just want to shut and I can't let them," she said. "It's put a lot of physical and mental strain on me."

And there's no let-up. Donovan will be in the studios from tomorrow recording her debut album so it can be in stores by Christmas.

The teenager who used to get yelled at for singing too loudly in the shower, has put school on hold and will focus only on her singing career, at least while the hype lasts.

That means that any plans to reconcile with her estranged musician father, Merv Donovan, are also on hold.

"It does bother me a little bit but you know, I just want to kind of focus on this now, this is like my priority," she said.

"We'll just have to see what happens in the future."

Her aunty, Agnes Donovan, who once coached her, interrupted her first press conference after being crowned to ask about the teenager's family relationships.

Donovan said today she thought the outburst was inappropriate.

"I thought it was a bit out of line," she said.

Donovan believes she will cope well with her stardom despite her youth and she has already been assigned a manager with a team of experts to try to ensure her career will be a success.

Her first single, Listen With Your Hearts, went on sale today.

When she belted out a version of it during the Idol finale, she said she turned to her mother Tracy and stepfather Norm Axford, who had supported her on her way to stardom.

Now she has to deal with fame, and one strategy, she said, involved a cap, glasses and long coat.

Despite receiving media training throughout the series, Donovan said she was not too savvy with the press and found it much easier just to sing on stage.

Sydney psychologist Amanda Gordon said just because Donovan won the contest did not mean she had suddenly grown up.

"There's that terrible paradox between being a star and still being a kid, she still goes to school," Ms Gordon said.

"The paradox is how to remain a child and yet have the wit about you not to be taken advantage of and how can you ensure that the right people are looking after her."

Meanwhile, newspaper advertisements congratulating Donovan today mistakenly directed fans to a gay porn website.

The half-page ads, placed by Telstra's internet arm BigPond in newspapers in Sydney and Melbourne, direct readers to

But anyone calling up the website is confronted by a full frontal nude picture of an American porn star who shares the same name.

The Idol winner has a personal website under construction at and a website set up by fans at



Casey named Australia's next Idol | BACK |
21 November 2004

Sydney's Casey Donovan was named Australia's next Idol in an extraordinary live television event. The 3-hour final was broadcast live on Network Ten and began with Top 30 finalist performing on the McDonald's unforgettable concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Adrian Hood, Barry Southgate, Carlos Velazquez, Laurence Sorbello, Liza Schulberg and Ngaiire Joseph performed in the special outdoors concert and Joel Turner and the beat-boxer alliance, together with Flynn were also among those performing on the night. Judge Marcia Hines also performed, singing the track "Ain't Nobody" from her album. Close to 3000 members of the public attended the outdoors concert, with another 2000 family, celebrities, fans, music industry heavyweights and other VIPs seated in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Finalists Anthony and Casey then arrived, complete with police escort, in a white stretch Porsche limo to the Sydney Opera House. A spectacular fireworks display then lit the skies over the harbour especially for the arrival of the final two.

In the second half of the telecast, the Top 12 Idol contestants performed songs from the series individually and then together with the other two finalists.

Casey then performed 'Symphony of Life' live on stage individually and then Anthony sang 'The Prayer'. The finalists did not perform any new songs on the night. All the Idol finalists then joined in a medley of Australian hits live during the television event accompanied by Musical director John Foreman and a twenty-eight-piece band, and a special appearance by last year's Australian Idol Guy Sebastian.

Running 30 minutes overtime, Anthony and Casey finally appeared together on the stage for the announcement of the winner. Host James Mathison and Andrew G then announced, in a nail-biting finale to the extraordinary series, that Casey Donovan was Australia's next Australian Idol. The clearly ecstatic winner thanked her fans, family, the judges and supporters. Anthony commended Casey for her talent and thanked everyone for their support.

The newly crowned Australian Idol then took to the stage performing "Listen to Your Heart'" the debut single that is to be released next Monday, 29 November, and is also available for instant download from the BigPond Music website. After the performance Casey was joined on stage by the other Idol contestants and runner-up Anthony.

Both Anthony and Casey will have no time to celebrate the conclusion of the series with press commitments throughout this week. Casey will embark on a hectic schedule beginning with recording her debut album due for release in an unprecedented two weeks in early December and preparations for a possible second World Idol special. Although Anthony did not win, he will engage in talks with BMG for an inevitable recording career.

All Idol contests, except Angie Narayan and Dan O'Connor, will also be kept busy with a planned Australian Idol tour of major capital cities around the country starting in the new year.

The journey has only just begun for both Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea.

Casey gets the numbers | BACK |
21 November 2004

Casey gets the numbers
By Damien Murphy
November 22, 2004

In the end, the girl with the big heart triumphed over the boy who wore his heart on his sleeve.

Casey Donovan, the 16-year-old with an untutored big voice from Sydney's Bass Hill, won the second Australian Idol last night.

She beat 21-year-old Anthony Callea, a professional singer from Melbourne's western suburbs who was once coached by Young Talent Time's Johnny Young.

A sobbing Donovan took several minutes to compose herself before thanking her family, friends, mother and step-father who were in the Opera House audience. "This is a great guy," she said, embracing Callea. "I love you, buddy."

Immediately after being declared the winner, she broke into a song, Listen With Your Heart. The record company BMG Australia has rushed copies of the CD of that song into stores, ready for sale this morning. It should go platinum by lunchtime.

After the show, Donovan said she had given herself no chance of winning and had even forgotten to rehearse the words of the song. "I can't quite believe this. I know I'm going to be up all night in the hotel going 'oh God, oh God'."

She said she broken the mould of what a popular female singer should be. "No one's perfect."

Last night's final attracted more than 4 million television viewers. The contest, for which auditions began in April, hauled in more than $25 million in television advertising. Spots on last night's final cost $3000 a second. It was even advertised as proof that big girls are better.

Idol was the latest in a series of globally franchised TV programs, such as Big Brother and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. They charged viewers fees, payable on voting by SMS, or registering to be a contestant.

With Idol, Australians are believed to have spent almost $4 million this week voting by phone for Donovan or Callea. Little wonder then that Telstra, McDonald's, Sony Australia and Nestle were prepared to pay a total of $25 million in advertising during the second Australian Idol series. BMG made $22 million in CD sales from the first Idol series.

Denis Handlon, from Sony, said Donovan's win had proved her wide demographic appeal.

Last night, parties were held across Australia to celebrate the final at the Opera House, where thousands had begun lining up soon after lunch yesterday. The biggest was in Werribee, where Callea's fans, friends and family congregated at his former high school, MacKillop College.

At Bankstown, large contingents of Donovan's friends and fans, many of them Aboriginal, partied from early in the afternoon. Her family celebrated at the South Sydney Leagues Club in Redfern.

At the Opera House, the red carpet treatment was given to an array of mainly Network Ten personalities, Idol contestants past and present and last year's finalists, who ran down the red carpet to the accompaniment of fireworks over the harbour.

The final proved a very Australian story in a time of high aspirations and low expectations: two kids from the western suburbs of their respective cities with big voices and bigger dreams. Over the weeks, Australia watched as they rose above their limitations to beat the other 10 contestants chosen after a massive national audition where 50,000 hopefuls were culled back to the final dozen.

Repeating hits they had performed earlier in the Idol contest, for last night's closing performance Donovan chose Tina Arena's Symphony of Life, while Callea sang The Prayer, originally recorded by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. Immediately after being declared the winner, Donovan broke into a song called Listen With Your Heart. The record company, BMG Australia, has rushed copies of the CD of that song into stores, ready for sale this morning. It should go platinum by lunch time.

Both singers sang the song eight days ago to give the voting public a chance to score them singing the same tune. But wait, there's more ... Donovan will have an album out in time for the Christmas rush and the rival television stations are also dashing to cash in on the Australian Idol phenomenon.

The Nine Network is looking at televising the talent quest Shooting Stars, and Network Ten plans The X Factor and a third series of Australia Idol.


Grand Final details | BACK |
20 November 2004

The Australian Idol Grand Final is once again gearing up to be the television event of the year. Channel Ten will broadcast the 2-hour final live on November 21 starting at 7:30pm.

The McDonald's unforgettable concert will kick off the live telecast. Top 30 finalists Adrian Hood, Barry Southgate, Carlos Velazquez, Laurence Sorbello, Liza Schulberg and Ngaiire Joseph will perform in the special outdoors concert and Joel Turner and the beat-boxer alliance, together with Flynn will also be among those performing on the night. Over 5000 members of the public, who entered a sweepstakes on the official idol site, will be invited to the exclusive outdoors concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

Finalists Anthony Callea and Casey Donovan will then arrive in style by limo to the Sydney Opera House, complete with police escort and will each sing only after phone and SMS voting close at 8:45pm on Sunday night. It is believed that Anthony and Casey will perform an outstanding song from the series again on the night. Joining them will be the other Top 12 Idol contestants who will perform individually and together in a medley of Australian hits live during the television event. John Foreman will be conducting a twenty-eight-piece band, which will be located at the back of the set, and there will be approximately 20 cameras covering the event and about 120 behind-the-scenes crew working on the night.

Around 1500 tickets have been reserved for guest of the remaining two contestants, celebrities, music industry heavyweights and other VIPs for the inside section of the telecast in the main concert hall. A fireworks display over the harbour has also been organised for the Australian Idol finale.

The Australian Idol grand final is sure to be a not-to-be-missed live television event. Who will be our second Australian Idol? With only a small margin separating the two finalists and a million dollar recording contract up for grabs it is set to be a nail biting finale to an extraordinary series.

Australian Idol to Tour | BACK |
20 November 2004

The votes have been counted Australia, and the results are unanimous, Talentworks and Michael Chugg Entertainment today announced... that... Australian Idol's Final 10... and special guest John Foreman, will tour Australia early next year!

Affordability and choice were top of mind when putting the tour together and both Gold and Silver ticket price categories will be made available as well as a Family package, comprising four tickets in the Silver category.

We've followed their Idol journey over the past 17 weeks; we've cried at the departures, laughed at the jokes and revelled in the touchdowns.

Now it's time to see, from 50,000 hopefuls, ten of Australia's hottest new stars when they reap the rewards of their new found fame... live on stage at Entertainment Centres around the country in 2005.

The result of Australia's biggest super-star search: Casey Donovan, Anthony Callea, Courtney Murphy, Hayley Jensen, Chanel Cole, Marty Worrall, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Daniel Belle, Emilia Rusciano and Amali Ward, get together one last time to bring the classic Idol sensation to the concert stages of Australia.

"The scale of this show is at international concert level," says Talentworks CEO Glenn Wheatley.

"We are going to have ten of Australia's favourite new stars on stage performing the songs they did on the show, as well big production style numbers and some really fun segments too."

With the same winning formula as the ground-breaking series, 2005's Australian Idol Tour comes equipped with a few tricks up its sleeve.

Primarily the presence of Mr Music John Foreman, joining as special guest and Master of Ceremonies, as well as a couple of surprise appearances added to the agenda.

"Last year's Idol tour was massive and sold out all over the country," says co-promoter Michael Chugg, "And we've taken it wider this year to include Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast."

"We've had people enquiring about a tour for this one since the show started back in August."

The tour marks an exciting induction into the ten finalists' new careers.

"This is what it's all about for these performers," says Glenn Wheatley.

"To get out there on a stage in front of tens of thousands of fans and show Australia why the weeks they spent voting; counted."

Dishing up all the ringa, dinga, bingida, bangida, boom action live on stage; Australian Idol tours in 2005. Va, va Voom!

Tickets go on sale on November 26.

Dates are:
JAN 2005
Tuesday 18th - Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Thursday 20th - Wollongong WIN Entertainment Centre
Saturday 22nd - Sydney Entertainment Centre
Monday 24th - Canberra AIS Arena
Friday 28th - Perth Burswood Dome
Sunday 30th - Adelaide Entertainment Centre

FEB 2005
Tuesday 1st - Melbourne Vodafone Arena
Friday 4th - Hobart Derwent Entertainment Centre
Saturday 5th - Launceston Silverdome
Wednesday 9th - Cairns Convention Centre
Thursday 10th - Townsville Entertainment Centre
Saturday 12th - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Sunday 13th - Gold Coast Convention Centre

The Fro sparks plunge on Idol favourite Anthony | BACK |
20 November 2004

Australian Idol punters copped the tip from Guy Sebastian and backed Anthony Callea into hot favouritism before Centrebet closed its book on the singing competition for the last time today.

Anthony had been friendless in Centrebet's betting market for several days but that changed when Guy forecast that the Melbourne vocal coach would win Australian Idol's second series.

Anthony was $1.20 to beat Casey Donovan ($4.00) when Centrebet took its final Australian Idol bet. He was $41.00 and she was $101.00 when the judging panel picked the Top 30 in August.

Anthony closed at even shorter odds than Guy did at the same stage of last year's competition. The Fro was $1.25 to poll more votes Shannon Noll ($3.50) in the first championship decider.

The real winner: Australia's youth | BACK |
20 November 2004

The real winner: Australia's youth
By Richard Jinman and Paul McIntyre
November 20, 2004

They're pop's odd couple. The shy, Kurt Cobain-adoring teenager and the slick twentysomething who digs Lionel Richie.

"We're like a brother and sister that keep arguing," the Australian Idol finalist Anthony Callea said of his rival Casey Donovan yesterday. "We annoy the crap out of each other."

But Australia thinks they are both magnificent and it does not really matter if Callea, 21, or Donovan, 16, becomes the new idol tomorrow. Both are role models for young people.

"I would pour scorn on anyone who tries to belittle Australian Idol," a psychologist for adolescents, Michael Carr-Gregg, said. "Both Anthony and Casey are fantastic role models in the sense they've had a goal, developed a strategy and gone for it."

Network Ten hopes more than 4 million Australians will get the message by tuning in to tomorrow's Idol finale at the Opera House. Callea, the pint-sized Melburnian with the big voice, is the favourite, but Donovan, Sydney's most famous rat-fancying Nirvana fan, believes she is already a winner.

"If Anthony wins I'll be over the moon for him," she said. "But I've got into the top two, and that's all anyone could ask for.

An Idol judge, Ian "Dicko" Dickson, likes to praise Donovan's transformation from a teen with ratty dreads and a "bugger off" attitude into today's plus-size diva.

But Donovan does not feel she has changed that much, and that is just one of the great things about her, says Neer Korn, a director at the social research company Heartbeat Trends. "Casey is an amazing example of someone who is succeeding simply because she's so talented," he said.

"Young people [watching the show] are rejecting the stereotypical model of beautiful people and looking beyond it."

Carr-Gregg, an agony uncle for Girlfriend magazine, agrees Donovan is a useful antidote to the thin-is-cool message that bombards teenage girls.

"The thing about Casey is that she shows you can be beautiful without being thin," he said. "It's tremendously positive."

A mystery advertiser paid $3000 a second on Thursday for the last ad spot in tomorrow's Australian Idol, making it the dearest 30-second TV commercial outside of the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics.

Six 30-second spots were up for grabs, with four going for $60,000. Demand for the last two had been so intense that the price had been pushed up to $90,000. In contrast, a 30-second ad in Law and Order, another top-rating show on Ten, gets about $25,000.


Winner's debut single scandal | BACK |
19 November 2004

After Inside Australian Idol's exclusive revelations that the Australian Idol 2 winner's debut single "Listen With Your Heart" written by Diane Warren was previously recorded by CeCe Winans in 1998, in has been revealed that a misunderstanding may have eventuated between Idol producers and Warren's own publishing label RealSongs.

After hosts Andrew G and James Mathison told Australian Idol viewers that the single was written "especially" for the winner and was a "world premiere" it was revealed that "Listen With Your Heart" was a cover recorded years ago and that Idol producers and BMG may not have known of the little known tracks history, assuming that it was new and did not ask if it had been recorded before.

In a frank admission Julie Horton, Executive Vice President of Realsongs, told David Knox from via email that, "It would be so nice if this were not an issue. Really, who cares. If they want to say that we wrote it for them, who cares? We gave them the song and it was never asked if the song had been recorded before. Maybe it was an assumption from their side. We gave them a hit song that no person in Australia has ever heard I would think. That is the point here, not how to make an issue of who lied and is this original. I really find it odd that it is an issue at all. If I were them I would say the same thing. If it makes a hit and if everyone feels it is so important that it is original then, more power to them."

Originally Horton mistook our fansite Inside Australian Idol as the official site, thinking Australian Idol had come clean. However, neither Channel Ten, Grundy's nor SonyBMG have admitted that a misrepresentation had taken place and the "brand new" "world premiere" song, was is in fact a 6-years-old previously released album track. It also seems that "Listen with Your Heart" was written with US African American gospel singer CeCe Winard in mind. While doing promotion for her 1998 album "Everlasting Love," 104.1FM, a radio station in Portland USA, reported:

"Warren penned "Listen With Your Heart" with CeCe specifically in mind. Getting CeCe to cut the song only took one phone call. "Diane knows who I am and what I'm about and what I stand for," Winans explains. "She played the song for me over the phone, and I said, 'That's perfect! Just what I need!' She is one of the best writers in the world."

While Diane Warren may be one of the best in the world, fans have also been vocal about the quality of the song with some opting not to vote for their favourite just so they don't have to sing what some have called "boring", "derivative, sentimental cr*p" "dodgy" and "terrible". Bottlerocket wrote on the Inside Australian Idol forum:

"Out of all the songwriters, songs and music talent over the world...why, oh WHY, would they choose this song? It's not like Idol wouldn't have a pretty reasonable pool of songs to choose from! I thought the song was terrible. It's boring, slow, boring, medicore and boring!!! If anybody else, other than an Idol winner released this song it wouldn't see the light of day let alone get a spin on any commercial radio station!"

Australian songwriters are also disappointed that Idol producers and BMG decided to choose a song that has been previously released and what some think is second rate, rather than on original track written by local songwriters especially for the Idol contestants. With a significant portion of the proceeds going to songwriters and the high volume that the single is expected to sell, much of the profits will eventually end up abroad rather than supporting the Australian songwriters who would jump at the chance to write the winners debut single.

Who will win? | BACK |
19 November 2004

Going by the unofficial votes on our poll and messages on the accompany message board, the general consensus is that Anthony has a greater chance of winning the competition but support for Casey has increased, especially in the final days after she made it into the head-to-head showdown.

While Anthony generally has the younger female viewers who hold a major slice of the viewing demographic, the popularity of the programme has diversified the audience and therefore presumably affecting the votes that are cast, which may benefit the underdog, Casey.

The choice between the two is also interesting. On one hand you have the polished, experienced, vocally flawless pop singer with trademark Talent School training and expressions, on the other you have a 16 year-old Indigenous punk/metal music fan who has grown throughout the series emerging into a talented young women. Casey's journey plays to the Australian Idol "rags to riches" format well, while Anthony, who has been singing and entering talent competitions since he was six, has little room to improve and develop which may hinder his chances to a degree.

However, Inside Australian Idol thinks that Anthony will win this series. He does have the voice, the looks and presumably the votes to be crowned the next Australian Idol, and achieve a debut #1 single and the opportunity to record a full album in under two weeks. But the reality and measure of true success can only be determined once the cameras are turned off and the hype subsides as the series draws to a close.

With Network Ten planning another talent quest show "The X Factor" in early 2005, together the stigma that comes attached with the Australian Idol title and sniggers by the music industry, it is up to Anthony, Casey and the other finalists to extract and run with the inevitable publicity that they have already generated and hopefully use the exposure to their advantage to build a lasting career in the Australia music industry.

Bigpond Idol debut single deal | BACK |
19 November 2004

BigPond Music to offer Idol debut single
By Online Staff
November 19, 2004 - 10:18AM

The debut single made by the winner of Australian Idol will be available for download from BigPond Music soon after the competition concludes on Sunday night.

In a media release, BigPond managing director Justin Milne said the winner's recording of Listen With Your Heart, sung by both the finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea during last Sunday's show, would be made available on BigPond Music until 11.59 pm on Wednesday (November 24).

The single is expected to be sold in stores from November 29.

Milne said the single would cost $1.49 per download for BigPond members and $1.89 for non-members.

"This is a major coup for BigPond and recognises the breakthrough of legal music downloading as a major attraction for music fans," he said.

"As a company focused on keeping Australians connected, we are particularly pleased to make the Idol single instantly and easily available to Idol fans across the country, regardless of where they live, whether its Bondi, Broome or anywhere in between."


For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

They're the most in a host of talent | BACK |
19 November 2004

They're the most in a host of talent
By:Amanda Meade
November 18, 2004

AUSTRALIAN Idol, which has its spectacular finale at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, is not just about the making of a pop star. It's a breeding ground for a new generation of Australian television stars, and we're not talking about popular judges Ian "Dicko" Dickson, Marcia Hines or Mark Holden.

The two hosts of Idol, Andrew G and James Mathison, are young, hip, confident talking heads who epitomise the polished new style of a 21st-century TV presenter. Steeped in popular music culture and highly skilled on their feet from hours and hours of experience as hosts on pay TV's Channel V, the duo make live TV look easy.

Chances are, long after Guy Sebastian, Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea cease to appear daily on the small screen, AndrewG and Mathison will be still be around, wielding microphones and chatting to us like old mates.

Gretel Killeen, who has hosted four series of Big Brother for Ten, is another presenter with the right mix of humour, pathos and authority to hold a live TV show together.

Ten's network head of production and development Tim Clucas tells Media that Killeen is "fundamental to the personality of Big Brother".

"You never know what's coming out of the house on eviction night," he says. "It could be an awestruck Sarah-Marie, Aphrodite who won't stop talking or Merlin with tape over his mouth. You have a producer in your ear, a live audience screaming at you and you have to interview someone."

Clucas says Idol hosts Andrew G and Mathison keep the show moving along and make the talent comfortable. "They are extraordinary in understanding the emotions of the contestants," Clucas says. "It's like they are one of them."

If you think being a TV presenter is easy, just remember Curtis Stone, host of My Restaurant Rules on Seven earlier this year. Stone, a good-looking, accomplished, international chef, had all the charisma and charm network executives thought he needed to host the reality show. He even had some TV experience, with a cooking show, Surfing the Menu, on the ABC. But Stone was a disaster and put many people off watching the series early on, and the ratings suffered. His strange diction and clunky delivery gave the show an amateur feel. (Seven is now looking at Dicko, who it poached from Ten, for the new series of Restaurant. But his awkward performance on Ten's Up Close with Shannon Noll doesn't augur well for his hosting talents either.)

Both Andrew G and Mathison came to TV through their love of music rather than any particular desire to be on the box. But they do have role models: Andrew G names Bert Newton as his TV idol and Mathison says Graham Kennedy and his TV hit Blankety Blanks and the comic team Roy and HG are his inspirations.

Andrew G was catapulted into radio hosting at the tender age of 20 after an illustrious start as a roadie and a stint in radio promotions. He tells Media he "made zillions of mistakes on air in the middle of the night" during his long hours on Brisbane radio - six days a week for four years. He identifies his skill as "the ability to be myself while still keeping to the format for what is required on the show".

"I learned how to make it not sound forced," he says. He made a video tape and sent it off to Channel V in January 1999 because he thought it would be easier to "meet the Beastie Boys" if he was in TV. Days later, Andrew G was on a plane to Sydney. He has been a presenter for the music channel ever since, hosting 28 hours of TV each week - 20 hours of which is live - at Bent Street at Fox Studios.

Mathison responded to a reporter search for Channel V and entered the "cattle call" of wannabes armed with no experience in broadcasting but a good knowledge of music.

"I knew my subject matter and I always liked talking to people," he tells Media. "The key is not to take yourself too seriously. When the tears and the screaming starts, you've got to keep reminding yourself it's just a TV show."

When the double act auditioned for the inaugural Australian Idol last year, they knew nothing much about the show and had no idea it would propel them into mainstream TV stardom. Andrew G says if Madonna is a 10/10 in the fame stakes, he used to be a 3/10 and Idol has made him a 6/10. The cockier of the two, he says he never gets nervous - unless he is unprepared.

Mathison admits the prime-time exposure was harrowing during the first series of Idol. "I used to get so terrified last year - it was a whole new environment and we were getting so much attention - but this year I am a lot more relaxed. Although I will be nervous on the Opera House steps."

Ten is building quite a stable of stars, signing Killeen to the network this year and announcing this week that actor Daniel MacPherson is to host its new talent search show, The X Factor. (Auditions start next week in Perth before moving to Brisbane on November 27 and other cities next month.) Grundy, which is producing The X Factor and Idol, is also the producer of Neighbours, the Ten soapie on which MacPherson made his name.

Says Grundy chief executive Andrew Brooke: "We at Grundy are looking forward to renewing our friendship and working with Daniel again. He's an actor whose talent and charisma epitomise that intangible 'X factor' - his international success is a testament to that."

MacPherson, who just returned from Britain, where he starred in The Bill, tells Media it was a risky career move to accept the offer as the prevailing attitude in Australia is that TV hosting damages an actor's standing as a professional.

"There is an unwritten rule here that presenting might detract from an actor's credibility," he says. "But that's not the case in Britain, where I had some experience with live TVhosting."

MacPherson says live theatre - he appeared in Godspell in Britain - has given him the skills required for live TV, which are "appearing relaxed and thinking on your feet".

At Seven, the network is also enjoying great success with a live variety show. Dancing with the Stars, hosted by Daryl Somers, has been a welcome ratings winner for Seven, which failed to attract much interest with its talent show Popstars earlier this year. Somers, who had a five-year break from TV after the long-running Hey! Hey! It's Saturday was axed by Nine, has a rather bumbling style that has endeared him to generations of TV viewers. Seven's head of program development Brad Lyons says Somers is a "master of the genre" and has a wealth of experience in live TV.

"It's a hell of a lot more difficult than it looks," he tells Media. "When you're doing a show as complex as Dancing it's difficult to keep it smooth."

Unlike the Idol hosts, Somers has neither a script nor an autocue, preferring just to rehearse, then just do it live.

"It's very dangerous and exciting to do live television," Lyons says. "Because anything can happen."

The Idol format, on the other hand, requires a specific style based on the original British Pop Idol and a scriptwriter writes the hosts' words for every show.

The script is discussed first with Andrew G and Mathison, put on an autocue, then rehearsed before going live. Yes, it takes a lot of preparation to look spontaneous.

Source: The Australian

For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Winners single "Listen With Your Heart" a cover | EXCLUSIVE | BACK |
15 November 2004

The Australian Idol winners single "Listen With Your Heart" is not an original song written especially for the Australian Idol 2 winner but rather a little known track originally sung by US African American gospel singer CeCe Winans.

Last night's "world premiere" debut of the winners single "Listen With Your Heart" was not an original but a cover of a previously released track. Rather than obtaining a new specially written track for the Australian Idol winner, Idol producers and record company BMG have decided to release "Listen With Your Heart" as the winner debut single. "Listen With Your Heart" is a little known 6-year-old track written by Diane Warren which appeared on CeCe's Winans' 1998 "Everlasting Love" album. CeCe, a US African American gospel singer, has won five Grammy Awards, 18 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and has had several gold and platinum-selling albums.

The rehashed use of old album tracks for Idol related releases in not isolated to "Listen With Your Heart". Shannon Noll's recent hit single "Learn to Fly" was originally written and performed by now defunct UK boy band "A1", with the track appearing on A1's 2002 album "Make It Good". This years NZ Idol winner Michael Murphy also ran into trouble with a covered debut single when NZ producers claimed that an original track titled "So Damn Beautiful" was written especially for the NZ winner when in fact it was a cover of a song originally written by a little known US group Vallejo.

CECE WINANS - Listen With Your Heart
Album : Everlasting Love (1998)

When you can't find your way through the night
When you've lost touch and nothing's feeling right
You can't find that path that leads you home
You don't know which road, which road to choose
That's when you've got to

Listen with your heart
Listen to your soul
Inside you'll find the answer
To take you to the place you need to go
Listen with your heart
Listen and your heart will let you know
No matter where you are
The truth is never far
Just listen and your heart will lead you home

And when this world has got your mind confused
Feels like your faith has just run out on you
You can find that faith inside your soul
The strength you need lies deep, lies deep in you
That's why you've got to


We all lose our way sometimes
We all lose our faith sometimes
But if you just believe and just be strong
Trust your heart
Your heart won't do you wrong
Your heart won't do you wrong


More info:

Heart-throb or heartfelt? | BACK |
15 November 2004

Heart-throb or heartfelt?
By Sacha Vukic
November 15, 2004

The Australian Idol final performance show was a battle of the sexes as well as styles, with Anthony Callea and Casey Donovan demonstrating just how different they are.

The duo's personal song choice spotlighted the massive style gap between the grand finalists, a gap that will polarise voters but hone in the type of Australian Idol the nation aspires to.

Stepping up to the stage for the last time before the Opera House grand finale next Sunday, the finalists performed two songs of their choice as well as the specially crafted debut single written by Dianne Warren, an American songwriter who has penned lyrics for superstars like Celine Dion, Aerosmith and Bette Midler.

After opening the show with Warren's soul-searching serenade "Listen With Your Heart", Anthony appeared confident and self-assured despite the fact that the bellowing ballad sounded like a cathartic moment from a Disney movie and slightly obscured with male vocals.

Anthony revealed earlier in the week that hearing the song initially made him doubtful about how it would go down. "When I first heard it, I was wondering if it was the right thing," he said in a press interview. "The guide we got had female vocals to it."

While Casey stumbled over the words in the song's beginning, her feminine touch did effectually bring the ballad to its intended dizzying heights.

Warren's song will be released by BMG as the winning Idol's debut single the day after the grand finale.

The show's progression demonstrated the clearly defined differences between the two finalists. Anthony cemented his image as the next pin-up boy for pop by singing straight to his female fans with two sappy love ballads.

Sitting on a stool for a casual effect, Anthony imitated the cool, calm and collected RnB crooner Craig David with his hit song "I'm Walking Away" and then brought back the Peter Cetera classic "Glory of Love" made famous in Karate Kid II. Both were propelled with his trademark precision and self-confidence.

Casey, on the other hand, demonstrated her individuality and versatility by singing two unique songs that showed a depth of character and range in vocal ability.

First up, her powerful rendition of Vanessa Amorosi's "Take Me As I Am" presented a youthful exuberance as she roared lyrics like "what you see is what you get" and "gonna be exactly as I am". It was Casey morphing into a symbol of female power.

But her second song choice painted a picture of her emotional expanse with the melancholic melody of Evanescence's "Hello".

The Australian public has sifted through twelve finalists and Anthony has been the most popular contestant by far, having never been voted into the bottom votes category.

But, stunningly, he almost never made it into the final dozen. Initially eliminated, he was brought back into the competition via the 'Wildcard show'. The Melbourne-born vocal coach now finds himself vying for the grand prize itself.

Casey, however, has been the underdog during the final stages of the competition, shocking the judges and most viewers when she bypassed Courtney Murphy to make the final two last week.

After four months of vocal training and live television verdicts, the two finalists are heading straight for the Opera House and in a week's time Australia will elect their idol.

Heart-throb or heartfelt? It won't be long until we find out.


For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Final head-to-head performance show | BACK |
14 November 2004

Anthony and Casey have performed live in the final round of live theme shows in Australian Idol. The remaining two performed three songs each by artists of their choice including Evanescence, Peter Cetera, Vanessa Amorosi and Craig David for the head-to-head show tonight. The other Top 12 finalists were also in the audience to support the remaining two contestants.

Here is a list of what Anthony and Casey sang on the final live performance show before the grand final, 14 November 2003 and their respective voting lines-

Anthony- 1902 55 55 61
:: 'The Glory Of Love' by Peter Cetera
:: 'Walking Away' by Craig David
:: 'Listen With Your Heart' written by Diane Warren

Casey- 1902 55 55 62
:: 'Take Me As I Am' by Vanessa Amorosi
:: 'Hello' by Evanescence
:: 'Listen With Your Heart' written by Diane Warren

SMS First Name to 19 10 10

Phone and SMS lines will remain open for seven days until 8.30 pm AEDST, Sunday 21 November. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents. Calls from mobile extra.

Which contestants will have the least votes? Who will be named the Australian Idol at the Grand Final at the Sydney Opera House on 21 November? Vote for your favourite contestant. You decide who will be the Australian Idol.

Listen with your heart ... | BACK |
14 November 2004

Listen with your heart ...
By Bernard Zuel
November 15, 2004

Pretentious musicians like to tell you "it's all about the music, man" but in the penultimate stages of Australian Idol the truth is it is all about The Story.

By this stage of the golden karaoke competition no one is making judgements based on the singing, or at least not the singing alone. (If singing ability was the most important factor, Courtney wouldn't have been voted off last week.) Attitudes have set, favourites were picked long ago and song choices are but distractions. If you don't know who you want to win this, you haven't really been watching, have you?

As the final two "sang off" last night with three songs each, both clearly were nervous and admitted they were keen to get the first song away. Barring meltdowns of the Cosima "I'm losing my voice, sorry gotta run" scale, it boiled down to a simple question of which Story held sway.

Was it Anthony Callea, the hard-working but cocky little Italian kid with the family and the support and the desire to "make my dream come true"? Or maybe it was Casey Donovan, the angry, stocky girl with the battered self-confidence, the fractured family and the drive that comes from admitting "music is my life" and having it sound like the truth?

Both will go to the Opera House next week but only one will be a winner after a week of voting by viewers. Only one will be leaving with a certain No. 1 single in the offing as the second Australian Idol.

Last night each sang two songs of their own choice, which showed their strengths and weaknesses haven't changed. The direct competition came with a third song, Listen With Your Heart, which both had to sing and which will be released as the winner's first single.

The song, written by the queen of the corporate songwriters, Dianne Warren, has all her hallmarks of predictable patterns, a call to plastic emotion and a nagging hook. It suited Callea's over-emoting style, and he sang it with trembling lip and typically intense delivery. Donovan was less sure, especially in the early stages when delicacy was needed. But she brought it home with a bit more growl and the suggestion of a tear in the eye.

Who was better? Well, if it came down to performance, there was one clear winner but we all know it depends on which Story you've been reading.


For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Ticket to Ryde | BACK |
14 November 2004

The nine-year-olds are on board, but just watch cynical adults fall for Idol pleasures, writes Ruth Ritchie.

The set of Australian Idol (Ten, Sunday, Monday) is much smaller in real life than it looks on TV. It's intimate. The studio isn't big either. Think school hall, not real theatre. And if the set and the auditorium are surprisingly diminutive, it's nearly impossible to describe Anthony.

Jokes aside, I recommend that everybody see Australian Idol live at least once. File this advice away for next year. Idol will be back because the audience genuinely loves it.

Becoming part of a TV show should destroy some of the magic. We've all watched enough episodes of Larry Sanders to know that the syrupy gloss of a chat show in no way represents the skulduggery behind the scenes.

And even our cheerful audience, in the penultimate studio show of series two, knows that Idol isn't just one big love fest. But something unusual happens in that pokey shed in Ryde on Sunday afternoons. Sure, the hype came originally from above, from imported prototypes. But once the ball of passionate partisan pop gets rolling, the momentum is phenomenal. The contestants, the judges, the crew and the audience are caught in it.

The audience generates joyous anticipation. This is the kind of fervour we associate with a sporting event. Such excitement just doesn't surface before the curtain goes up on a Sydney Theatre Company production.

It helps to go in the company of a nine-year-old girl who can't stop herself from standing on a chair and screaming "Go Anthony!" But I defy even the most cynical adult to resist the Idol force.

The atmosphere before James and Andrew come out is part Baptist revival meeting, part Anthony Robbins seminar. (All right, I've never been to either, but I love to mock the audiences of both.)

Like the staff at Disneyland, everybody in the studio is on board. And it is easy to forget that this is an enormous money-making franchise that wildly increases SMS usage for those who can least afford it and unrealistically raises the expectations of our youth about the nature of celebrity and the music industry.

Sitting in the back row of Global Studios on Sunday evening, it is easier to believe that my applause and goodwill is about to make all the difference to one of these young stars, on the brink of his/her first appearance at the Sydney Opera House. And really, as the music is cued and the Idol graphic starts throbbing around the darkened studio, we simply can't scream loud enough. And 400 begin to sound, look and feel like 3000, effortlessly.

The show begins and more than a few surrealistic strokes are brushed. John Foreman and all those musicians pack the joint. They cover the stage. The ad breaks are filled with dance competitions, juggling and energetic antics that never allow the hysteria to slump. Andrew G has an infectiously pretty smile, like Farrah Fawcett in her heyday. James's energy level is more constant and radiant than his sidekick's smile.

Even sitting behind the judges, those familiar gestures are comically large. I felt rather honoured to turn up on the night of not one, but three of Mark Holden's "touchdowns".

And what about the performances? It's impossible to judge, with any objectivity, how those young people really performed, and if they would make it beyond the first audition for the chorus for a Broadway musical. Anyway, chorus boys rarely make idols, so scratch that criteria. Casey has some powerful lungs and uses the stage for therapy most effectively. And Anthony can build a song as well as any polished Vegas lounge singer.

When the show comes to an end and the house lights come up, the crowd is satisfied. We know the exact duration; there are no encores. It's a race to the car park past the limos awaiting the "idols".

Back on the couch, on Monday night, the hysterical extravaganza is a TV show once again. It's not much of a show. Plenty of padding as the final three learn from some expert how to be "media savvy", overnight. The only big revelation, the moment of drama, is when 16-year-old Casey Donovan makes it through to the Opera House Final. In a few short weeks we won't remember most of the faces, names or voices.

An hour later, on the ABC, John Lennon's Jukebox, a most unusual documentary, shed some light on a perennial idol's musical influences. Lennon's jukebox from the mid-1960s held gems (and more than a few famous Beatles licks) from the Isley Brothers, the Lovin' Spoonful and a host of names that probably mean nothing to our "idols" and their even less musically informed audience.

The probable winner of this song contest actually chooses to sing Toto tunes. Next year's batch can't roll around soon enough.


For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Big bet on Idol Callea | BACK |
14 November 2004

Casey Donovan is the underdog to win Australian Idol after a punter bet $10,000 on her rival Anthony Callea.

Centrebet was forced to cut Callea's odds from $1.22 to $1.20 after the monster wager.

The biggest bet on Casey is just $200, bringing the total pot for her to just $4000.

"History is not on her side," Gerard Daffy of Centrebet said.

"Girls just don't seem to win these shows so it would be a shock if she won.

"But she seems to have a lot of support in NSW."

Source: The Daily Telegraph

For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Fine tuning Idol choices | BACK |
14 November 2004

Australian Idol finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea have made what will be the most important decision of the competition - what to sing on Sunday.

Anthony has gone for something old, something new, while Casey has looked to fellow songbirds for inspiration.

The 16-year-old student from Bass Hill will belt out Hello by Evanescence and Take Me As I Am by local chanteuse Vanessa Amorosi.

Her Melbourne rival has gone for Craig David's Walking Away and the '80s power ballad Glory of Love by Peter Cetera.

And then, of course, there's the mystery tune that the winner will release as their first single.

Both Idol hopefuls will perform the song, written by American hitmaker Diane Warren, which is being kept under wraps until Sunday night.

But Confidential expects to hear an inspirational ballad, with plenty of power notes, and a title along the lines of The Wings Of Love Lift Me Higher. Or words to that effect.

Both have recorded the single so that it can hit the airwaves the day after the final on Monday.

Callea has revealed he had doubts about the track when he first heard it.

"At the start when I first heard it, I was wondering if it was the right thing," he said.

"The guide we got had female vocals to it. But when we went into the studio and laid it down in our key, I thought, this is good."

Source: The Daily Telegraph

For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Courtney eliminated, final two remain | BACK |
8 November 2004

The final 2 contestants of Australian Idol 2004 were revealed tonight after Courtney Murphy was eliminated from the series in the ninth live result show. After the phone and SMS lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 3 sang together for the last time with a performance of 'Oh What A Night' by the Four Seasons.

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the contestant who had the least amount of votes after last nights 70's performance show. After a tense moment, the final three were firstly told that Casey Donovan was safe and had made it to the Sydney Opera House grand final on November 21. It was then out of Courtney Murphy and Anthony Callea to contend for the final position to join Casey. Of the two, it was time for Courtney, the 24 year-old musician, to be eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Courtney performed one of his songs from last night's 70's themed show- "My Love", with the remaining Top 2 Idol contestants clearly emotional.

Tune in on Thursday for "Inside Idol" at 7.30pm for all the latest behind the scenes action including all the reaction from tonight's elimination. Also tune in next Sunday to see the final round of live performances before the grand final when Anthony and Casey will sing the debut winners single written by acclaimed American songwriter Diane Warren. And on November 21 for the Australian Idol Grand Final to be held at the Sydney Opera House. Which contestant will be eliminated next week and who will be the Australian Idol?

Casey makes Idol history | BACK |
8 November 2004

Casey makes Idol history
By Toby Forage
November 08, 2004

AUSTRALIAN Idol served up a major surprise tonight when Casey Donovan was voted through to the grand final at the Sydney Opera House.

First ... Casey could be the first female Australian Idol.

The 16-year-old sensation was physically stunned at being named to compete alongside Anthony Callea for this year's title.

"Wait. Did that just happen?" she said, wobbling on unsteady feet as the adrenalin rushed through her.

Ousted from the final three was podgy Perth performer Courtney Murphy, who has suffered in recent weeks from what male judges Mark Holden and Ian "Dicko" Dickson pinpointed as complacency.

But unlike most eviction nights, this one was all about one of the survivors, namely Casey.

The Sydney music student said she was shocked to be in the final three, a position from which Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll and Cosima De Vito all fashioned successful careers in the music industry.

Now she's in the final two with Melbourne's 21-year-old Anthony, and staring at a chance to be named Australia's first female Idol.

"I didn't think I'd make the final 12, let alone the final three," she said during tonight's verdict show on Channel 10.

With a grungy style and indifferent personality, many pundits thought Casey wouldn't last the distance.

But week after week she has produced vocal performances of such stunning quality that viewers couldn't help but vote to keep her in the competition.

Her performances during Sunday night's 70s show were among the highlights of the entire season, with an outstanding interpretation of Carly Simon's You're So Vain heralding a trademark "touchdown" from judge Holden.

For Courtney - who also scored a "touchdown" for his version of the Queen classic Somebody To Love - the pill of defeat must have been particularly bitter to swallow.

However, it's unlikely we've heard the last of his smooth vocal talents given the plaudits he has received from both inside and outside Idol HQ.

The 24-year-old has been a brilliant performer throughout every stage of the competition, his only fault was finding it difficult to take the judges' criticism on board as the final stages turned over.

"My luck had to run out eventually," a deflated Courtney said before bursting into a final song, the 1970 Wings hit My Love.

"This has been the most amazing experience of my life."

The final "sing-off" between Anthony and Casey will take place next Sunday, with both of them performing the Idol winner's single as well as a song of their own choice.

On November 21, the crooning circus moves off to the Opera House for a glitzy evening when the winner will be announced to the world and perform for the first time as the Australian Idol, 2004.

The bookies early favourite is likely to be "trumpet-fingers" Anthony, whose squeaky-clean boy band image is a hit with the predominantly young female viewers who vote ... whether he likes it or not.


For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Audition for The X-factor | BACK |
8 November 2004

With the final of Australian Idol only two weeks away, Network Ten is already looking to the future with the new talent quest program 'The X-Factor". Developed by the producers of Australian Idol and set to screen on Network Ten early next year, audition for the new show, based on a UK format, will commence straight after the Australian Idol final this month.

Do you have what it takes to be part of Australia's biggest talent search?

THE X FACTOR is the biggest reality talent blockbuster ever seen on Television. It's open to anybody - individuals and vocal groups - but you must be over the age of 16 (as of January 1, 2005).

The aim of the series is find an undiscovered major music talent.


THE X FACTOR is looking for Australia's best unknown singing talent in three categories:

THE X FACTOR has four parts:
National Auditions, Boot Camp, Judges' Home Visit, Live Studio shows

After the National Auditions, each of the three categories is appointed a judge. By the end of the Two Day Boot Camp, and the Home Visit, the judges will cut their category down to just three acts. The judge, working with his or her own vocal coach and stylist, is then responsible for mentoring these acts as they hit the stage for the biggest challenge of their lives - the LIVE STUDIO SHOWS.

The first LIVE studio show will have representatives from each of the three categories:
Three from the 16-24 year olds
Three from the 25 and overs
Three from the vocal groups

Each week, the viewers will vote for their favourites. The act with the fewest votes leaves the show, until our Grand Final show, when the final two acts will battle it out to prove they have what it takes... that they have THE X FACTOR. The winner will receive a management contract and a recording contract with Sony BMG.

Audition Dates: The X-Factor

Tuesday 23rd November 2004
Wednesday 24th November 2004

Saturday 27th November 2004
Sunday 28th November 2004
Monday 29th November 2004

Saturday 4th December 2004
Sunday 5th December 2004

Thursday 9th December 2004

Sunday 12th December 2004
Monday 13th December 2004
Tuesday 14th December 2004
Wednesday 15th December 2004

For more info visit the official X-factor site at

1970s Performance Show | BACK |
7 November 2004

The remaining Top 3 Idol finalists have performed live in the tenth round of live theme shows on Australian Idol. The contestants sang songs from the 1970's, for the latest themed show.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the tenth episode of the live themed shows, 7 November 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Courtney- 1902 55 55 61
::Somebody to Love/My Love

Casey- 1902 55 55 62
::Your So Vain/Misty Blue

Anthony- 1902 55 55 63
::Hold The Line/Bridge Over Troubled Water

SMS First Name to 19 10 10

Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEDST, Monday 7 November. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents. Calls from mobile extra.

Which contestant will depart Idol this week? Which contestants will have the least votes? Vote for your favourite contestant to keep them in. You decide who will be the Australian Idol. Tune in tomorrow from 7:30pm to see who will be told that they are heading home and who are safe for another week

Idols face their demons | BACK |
7 November 2004

Idols face their demons
By Matthew Benns
November 7, 2004
The Sun-Herald

Australian Idol finalist Casey Donovan suffered her fair share of taunts about her weight and dress sense long before the judges on the hit TV show started on her.

But as she prepares to battle her way into the final two contestants, Casey and her family believe she has finally reached the maturity to deal with whatever is thrown at her.

Tomorrow night viewers will vote out another idol, deciding between 16-year-old Casey from Sydney, 21-year-old voice coach Anthony Callea from Melbourne and 24-year-old Perth musician Courtney Murphy.

Last week The Sun-Herald was invited into the mansion that has been home to the contestants on Australian Idol for the past 10 weeks.

As the three idols wrestled with their own insecurities, bosses at Channel Ten are also concerned. Viewing figures have dropped for the third week running amid claims from the show's own judges that the contestants are not as good as last year.

All three contestants were given media training as part of the show before The Sun-Herald interviewed them last week.

For the youngest idol, Casey, the criticism of her weight and style has hurt. "It used to affect me. I don't worry about it anymore," she said.

"Since I have been in the house I have lost a bit of weight. I would like to lose more just for health reasons."

Casey, who is part Aboriginal on her father's side, said her natural father "got me hooked on music when I was about seven. He took me to Tamworth.

"He lives with his wife and two other kids. He rings me a couple of times a year. My parents divorced and there was a little bit of stuff that happened so I don't really want to talk to him much. He has rung me a couple of times and said 'You're doing good'."

Casey said it is only when she sings that the "bad stuff" gets out of her head. Her parents' divorce "messed me up a little bit".

Her best friend Brittany Kelly, 17, queued with Casey for the first Idol audition and did not make the cut. "Casey has matured so much since coming here and going on Australian Idol," she said.

Brittany attended high school in Condell Park in Sydney's west with Casey. She said they had both been much more accepted since moving to the Australian Institute of Music in Surry Hills.

Casey's mother Tracy is preparing to be there for her daughter when the whirlwind of life in the Australian Idol limelight ends.

"On any given Monday, which we don't want to think about, this could end," she said. "There is a psychologist who walks around after the show to chat with people."

For Anthony Callea, the Idol trip is the first time he has lived away from his parents' Melbourne home. "It's good that there is someone cooking and helping us out around the house. "The only thing we have to do really is washing and drying . . . I had to learn that very quickly," he said.

His time on Idol has been spent playing down rumours that he is gay. "At the end of the day I think the most important thing is that as long as your family knows the truth and your close friends know the truth, that's all that's really important to me."

What is the truth? "That I'm not."

Courtney Murphy's girlfriend Jane, 22, has flown over each weekend to support him during the show. For Courtney, it has meant there has been no cricket-team-style vow of celibacy for his time on Idol.

He said: "She stays at a hotel in the city. Some jokes have been made that the first weekend she came over a lot of people noticed a change in me.

"We have talked about marriage, more than likely after all this thing slows down," he said.

He said his first engagement to another girl was "a little destructive" and led to him needing counselling and antidepressants. The drugs led to a dramatic increase in weight.

All three idols complained the house now seems empty without the other rejected contestants. On Tuesday, it will be even quieter. Only two will remain.

Source: The Sun-Herald

For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Can they make it? | BACK |
7 November 2004

Can they make it?

AND then there were three . . . .

Over the coming weeks, millions will tune their television sets to Channel 10 to see which "wannabe pop star" is chosen as the next Australian Idol.

Adelaide's Guy Sebastian won last year but Cosima De Vito, Paulini, Guy, Shannon Noll and Robert Mills are household names. Each has released albums to varying degrees of success.

So can this year's final three - Casey Donovan, Courtney Murphy and Anthony Callea - all achieve the same level of success?

SAFM music director Vinnie Shannon said that whoever wins, fame and longevity would be determined by the quality of material they produced.

"If they win Idol, that's one step but the bottom line is if they put out a song that nobody likes, then it won't be successful," he said.

Mr Shannon is responsible for deciding which songs are suitable and will be well received on Adelaide radio.

So far, he says Sebastian is the only Idol to pull through.

"The real test with any of the Idols is if they have success with their second album because I think you get a good head start on your first album because of the appeal of the contest," he said.

"The thing with Australian Idol is it gives you a great profile to kickstart your music career and Guy's the only one with a second album at this point.

"I see that as a sign of success. So we will have to wait and see what the others do."

Centrebet's sporting bet manager Gerard Daffy said Idol had had phenomenal interest from punters. "This has been the most popular reality show we have done. We have taken about $100,000 worth of bets," he said.

Mr Daffy said Casey, in particular, was really up against it and he was picking Anthony to win.

"One by one the females have been picked off and we have never had harder evidence of that than when Ricki Lee was voted off," he said. It does appear Casey is in trouble. She has been the other half of the eviction pair for the past few shows and Australia seems to have created a trend of voting off women.

Australian Idol judge Mark Holden said Casey was a long shot. "But she has been a long shot all along, from day one she has been a long shot," he said.

"It might well be the pattern here (of voting the females off) but it isn't true in America. It seems to be the fact in Australia but we still have one in it."

Music industry analyst Phill Tripp takes a different perspective, saying none of the Idols would be successful.

"The saddest thing is that history has proven these Pop Stars and Idols have only a fleeting moment in the spot of the `glass teat' of television before they become a disposable commodity, not a collectable one," he said.

Australian idol finalist Paulini Curuenavuli, who is set to tour Australia, firstly with Human Nature then Tina Arena, said she hoped more than just the top three received record deals in the near future. "I hope they do get record deals, it is a great way to start and it gives people good exposure," she said. "We got to live our dreams and it would be great if they did."

Source: The Advertiser

For more news articles go to our Inside Australian Idol Forum

Hayley eliminated | BACK |
1 November 2004

The Top 4 of Australian Idol was reduced to just three after Hayley Jensen was eliminated from the series in the eighth live result shows. After the phone and SMS lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 4 sang together for the last time with a performance of 'It Don't Mean A Thing'.

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the two contestants who had the least amount of votes. They were Hayley and Casey Donovan. The emotional contestants were then told that Casey was safe for another week and that Hayley, the 21 year-old Canberra student, was eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Hayley performed one of her song from last night's Big Band themed show- "It Had to be You", with the remaining Idol contestants clearly emotional at the announcement.

Tune in on Thursday for "Inside Idol" at 7.30pm for all the latest behind the scenes action including all the reaction from tonight's elimination. Also tune in next Sunday to see the tenth round of live performances with a show based on hits from the 1970's and next Monday to see which contestant is eliminated next.

David Mott is Ten's programming idol | BACK |
1 November 2004

David Mott is Ten's programming idol
November 1, 2004

Early this month David Mott sounded half serious when hoping the Ten Network wouldn't win week 43 of the truncated TV ratings year determining who draws how much from the $3 billion commercial TV advertising well.

It was a Friday, and Ten was leading both Nine and Seven into the weekend after miniseries The 4400 drew more than 4 million viewers over two nights.

That was on top of Ten's guaranteed Australian Idol audience, which attracted more than 5 million viewers over three episodes.

You see Mott, the architect of Ten's groovy on-screen vibe and the programmer who decides what people watch on it, is used to happily running third.

This year he and his team have been regularly beating Seven into third, but the only way was down if Ten actually won a week.

Mott didn't have to worry because it didn't happen - but the 43-year-old would have loved to win. Commercial TV is as competitive as it gets, and Ten is again a major player after years in the wilderness.

Mott has been in TV since he joined Seven in Perth as a 17-year-old in 1978, learnt the trade from the floor and walls up and does like to win.

But Ten's success doesn't follow the industry norm, instead it is a strategy mapped out eight years ago and put seriously into gear after the 2000 Olympics.

It was a patient strategy based on targeting 16-39-year-olds with exciting, hip programming in a cost-efficient environment overseen by CEO John McAlpine and chairman Nick Falloon, a former Packer man.

"Ten was a really fresh, enthusiastic network but it had been through tough times and lacked definition," Mott said in his Pyrmont office.

"We had very little domestic product - Neighbours, Healthy Weathy and Wise - but some terrific overseas shows in Seinfeld, The Nanny, The Simpsons, 90210, X Files, Melrose Place.

"But our overseas supplies were drying up and we had to respond and become more locally relevant. We had to build the network back up timeslot by timeslot, night by night.

"It looks very easy, but we had to sell the idea to the market that here was a network serving a particular need of a particular audience and producing shows they talked about the next day."

The industry still focuses on total audience, but Ten's approach showed the importance of targeting specific age groups.

Again, it sounds easy but the bucks stopped with Mott as he set out to turn Ten into the groovy entity it now is.

Mott resurrected The Simpsons, running it five nights a week and branding Ten with its image; The Panel, a risk, was commissioned in 1997; Rove Live was launched in October 2000.

Meanwhile Ten secured something called Big Brother, which changed TV in 2001. Sunday's evictees began turning up on Rove, and his audience leapt.

The unique, twentysomething drama Secret Life Of Us took off, followed by another Big Brother series. Then Ten secured Australian Idol.

Watercooler talk was an unlikely hit, feeding off itself. Ten coupled all that with a fresh, creative on-air look. This year Ten started a trend by ditching Sunday night movies.

Today Ten makes the most money back per dollar spent with an earnings margin of 36 per cent (net profit $77 million) to Nine's 32.5 per cent and Seven's 23 per cent.

Ten leads its demographic, makes the money it wants, and in the process has annoyed some bigger picture industry types by trumpeting triumphs when it runs third overall.

"There have been some disasters along the way," admits Mott - the most recent being the still-birth of local drama The Cooks.

The X Factor, another talent quest, is also vital to Ten in 2005 along with a fifth Big Brother series. But that Secret Life Of Us became a casualty this year is the flip side of Ten's constant pursuit of now.

"This is the challenge for maintaining our leading position with the younger audience," Mott says.

"If we're not getting watercooler chat, we're not doing our job at the Ten network. That chat drives editorial, it drives radio commentary. You want people talking about TV, and we want them watching Ten."

Source: Daily Telegraph

New DVD: Australian Made- The Final 12 | BACK |
1 November 2004

This year Idol producers have decided not to release a cast single or album, opting instead to release a special DVD featuring this year's Top 12 contestants titled 'Australian Made- The Final 12' last week.

Here is Australia's Final 12! From their first audition to the main event, take a closer look at the chosen ones.

Australian Made: The Final 12 DVD takes us back to the first final show of the series where all 12 finalists performed in front of a live audience for the first time.

The DVD also takes you back to each finalist's semi final performance; you can also choose to watch their original auditions with each finalist commentating their audition making for some very funny viewing.

The Juke Box allows you to choose your favourite finalist and see them perform the songs that got them to where they are today.

The Idol Game is another special feature on the DVD, It takes you through a series of questions, get them right and you be taken to a special performance by the Final 12.

We all have our favourites and each one of them are on this DVD showcasing their extraordinary talents.

Source: BMG

|| Inside Australian Idol News- October

More Inside Australian Idol news << OCTOBER