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|| Latest news- October

Big Band Performance Show | BACK |
31 October 2004

The remaining Top 4 Australian Idol finalists have performed live in the ninth round of live theme shows on Australian Idol. The contestants sang songs from the Big Band era for the latest themed show tonight.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the ninth episode of the live themed shows, 31 October 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Anthony: 1902 55 55 61
Fever/Route 66

Casey: 1902 55 55 62
Come Fly With Me/Why Don't You Do Right?

Hayley: 1902 55 55 63
It Had To Be You/Nature Boy

Courtney: 1902 55 55 64
For Once In My Life/Don't Get Around Much Anymore

SMS First Name to 19 10 10


Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEDST, Monday 31 October. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents.

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.






Idol stars face up to realities | BACK |
31 October 2004

Idol stars face up to realities
By PHILLIP KOCH
31oct04

ANTHONY Callea realised how much his life had changed when he met Tina Arena.

"I absolutely love her," the Australian Idol favourite from Sanctuary Lakes said.
"'When I had the privilege of meeting her at the ARIAs I was completely starstruck. But she knew who I was and had even heard me sing. It's really weird that Tina Arena knows who I am."

With five Idols from the debut series last year zooming up the charts, Callea, 22, and the three other finalists - Casey Donovan, 16, Courtney Murphy, 24, and Hayley Jensen, 21 - should get used to the attention.

Network Ten hopes to break records when two of the contestants stage their sing-off at the Sydney Opera House, watched by an expected TV audience of four million viewers.

Twelve weeks ago, the four finalists were unknown.

"My confidence has grown a lot," Callea said. "I've come out of my shell and learned to be true to myself. It's funny when you meet people in the street -- it freaks me out because they feel they know you and own a piece of you."

Donovan, the part-Aboriginal Sydney teenager who is the youngest contestant, has found it difficult adjusting to her new-found fame.

"I can't walk up the road any more without being noticed," she said.

Donovan postponed HSC studies to commit to Australian Idol and while she may return to school next year, she realises life has changed forever.

"I didn't think I was going to get through the first round," she said.

Perth-born Courtney Murphy said he would be disappointed if he did not win.

"That's a bad thing to say, but, really, anyone would be disappointed."

But he isn't banking on victory or even a recording contract once the fans' applause dies down.

"Who knows what this year will do?" he said.

Jensen is also philosophical about her tilt at fame and fortune.

quot;I think we kind of live in a bit of a bubble at the moment," she said.

"I won't be devastated at all if I don't win," she said.

"I'm just so grateful to be at this point - every step along the way has been a further blessing."

Source: Herald Sun


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Idol gossip has Anthony fans in spin | BACK |
31 October 2004

Idol gossip has Anthony fans in spin
By Karl Quinn
October 31, 2004

It was the news that threatened to reduce thousands of girls, grans and gay men to tears. Anthony Callea, one of the four finalists on this year's Australian Idol, could be facing disqualification.

If the word doing the rounds of chat rooms and fansites last week was to be believed, Callea was in breach of the competition's rules because he already had a recording contract. And that meant BMG, the record company footing the bill for the winner's break into the big time, could not possibly sign him. He would, therefore, have to go.

Luckily for all those Callea fans out there, the rumour appears to be founded on nothing more than careless wording.

The story goes a little like this. Sanctuary Lakes boy Callea was, before joining Australian Idol, a member of the Melbourne vocal trio sayYEAH. According to their website (sayyeah.com.au), the trio "has been one of Melbourne's most successful dance (acts) over the last 10 years", with "regular spots on Channel Ten's Good Morning Australia and the Denise morning show on Channel Seven".

More significantly, the website claims all three members - Jimmy Christo, Mari Hall and Anthony Callea - are "extremely talented vocalists who have been signed to major record labels".

But while Hall released a single in 1999 through Sony and Christo had a 2000 release and an appearance on the Wog Boy soundtrack the following year (both through Mushroom), the website is extremely quiet on what recording contract, if any, Callea might have.

When The Sunday Age called the sayYEAH contact number, Mari Hall answered and told us: "I'm not supposed to talk to anyone about any of this."

Hall went on to say that while she had a music publishing contract with Warner Chappell, neither she nor anyone else associated with the trio currently had a recording contract with anyone.

"It (the recording contract with Sony) was a long time ago, 1998 or something," she said.

She added that Callea was a relatively recent recruit to the trio, having joined "about 12 months ago". Asked if he was still a member of sayYEAH she said: "Yes, but I don't think we'll be seeing him again. I think he's on his way now."

Indeed, one recent newspaper report suggested Callea was more than on his way, with a claim that an album by the 21-year-old was due out before Christmas - despite the fact he does not (or, at least, should not) even have a recording contract yet.

In a bid to clarify the Callea contract conundrum, The Sunday Age contacted Sony, Mushroom, BMG and Grundy Entertainment (producer of Australian Idol). All denied any knowledge of the rumour and all declined to comment on the record, though Grundy's stated categorically that "Anthony Callea does not have a recording contract with anyone". Callea was unavailable for comment.

Sunday Idol screens at 7.30 tonight on Channel Ten.

Source: The Age


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Chanel eliminated | BACK |
25 October 2004

The Top 5 of Australian Idol was reduced to just four after Chanel Cole was eliminated from the series after the seventh live result shows. After the lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 5 sang together with a performance of 'September' by Earth, Wind And Fire.

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the three contestants who had the least amount of votes. They were Hayley Jensen, Channel and Courtney Murphy. The emotional contestants were then told that both Hayley and Courtney were safe for another week and that Chanel, the unique 26 year-old singer, was eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Chanel performed her song from last night's RnB/Soul themed show- "'Hit Em Up" by Blu Cantrell, with other Idol contestants clearly emotional at the announcement.

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






Idol hopefuls getting nervous | BACK |
25 October 2004

Idol hopefuls getting nervous
From Sydney Confidential
October 25, 2004

Courtney is hitting the exercise bike, Anthony is chewing off his fingernails, Chanel's taken to hiding in toilets, Hayley needs her man and Casey's plastic rats might soon need to be surgically removed from her.

Clearly, the Idol finalists are feeling the pressure as judgment day nears and five becomes four following tonight's all-important dumping.

It was this time last year Cosima's nodules started to misbehave, Millsy was just about goneski and the Fro forged forward.

As the nation votes tonight, Idol sources tell Confidential the butterflies are in overdrive for this year's crew.

For self-described "fatty" Courtney, his jitters are turning into sweat beads, spending hours on the exercise bike and pounding the treadmill at Idol headquarters.

It could mean a change from his Beatles-inspired suit coat in the coming weeks with Channel 10's wardrobe department thrilled he is now fitting into shirts he had to squeeze into at the beginning of the series.

Munchkin Idol Anthony is said to be becoming a bit of a loner, passing time gnawing down his fingernails and Hayley the Canberra yodeller is looking at a hefty mobile bill from calling her husband Tim several times a day.

Seductress Chanel has taken to hiding in toilets and dressing rooms during the others' Sunday night performances - and when that fails, the 26-year-old runs to her teddy.

At 10 years Chanel's junior, it's not a teddy bear that Casey is comforted by as the pressure mounts but her pet plastic rats, Patty and Ratty, which are always backstage.

Source: The Daily Telegraph


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RnB/Soul Performance Show | BACK |
24 October 2004

The remaining Top 5 Australian Idol finalists have performed live in the eighth round of live theme shows on Australian Idol. The contestants sang songs from the RnB/Soul genre included songs made famous by Brian McKnight, Blu Cantrell, and the Doobie Brothers among others for the themed show tonight.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the eighth episode of the live themed shows, 24 October 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Chanel- 'Hit Em Up' by Blu Cantrell 1902 55 55 61
Anthony- 'Back At One' by Brian McKnight 1902 55 55 62
Casey- 'Beautiful' by India Arie 1902 55 55 63
Courtney- 'What A Fool Believes' by Doobie Brothers 1902 55 55 64
Hayley- 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Lauryn Hill 1902 55 55 65

SMS First Name to 19 10 10

Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEST, Monday 25 October. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents.

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





Up Close and Personal | BACK |
24 October 2004

The remaining Top 5 Australian Idol contestants performed live in an Up Close and Personal special screened last Tuesday 19 October. The hour-long special "Australian Idol- Up Close and Personal" allowed the studio and TV audiences to learn more about the Top 5 without the pressure of the competition and comments by the judges. Studio audience members were also able to ask the Idols questions before their performance with a live string orchestra.

Hayley- 'Here With Me' by Dido
Chanel- 'A Case Of You' by Joni Mitchell
Anthony- 'A Perfect Fan' by Backstreet Boys
Casey- 'Nothing Else Matters' by Metallica
Courtney- 'We'll Do It All Again' by Bleu

The audience was charged $15 each on entry with proceeds from the special episode assisting McDonald's charity Ronald McDonald House.



Marty eliminated | BACK |
18 October 2004

The Top 6 of Australian Idol was reduced to just five after Marty Worrall was eliminated from the series after the seventh live result shows. After the lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 6 sang together with a performance of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust".

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the three contestants who had the least amount of votes. They were Casey Donovan, Marty and Hayley Jensen. The emotional contestants were then told that both Hayley and Casey were safe for another week and that Marty, the 26 year-old singer, was eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Marty performed his song from last night's 1980's themed show- "Power Of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News, with other Idol contestants clearly emotional at the announcement.

Tune in tomorrow for the hour-long special Australian Idol: Up Close and Personal special at 7.30pm when the remaining Top 5 will perform and answer audience questions. Tune in on Thursday for "Inside Idol" at 7.30pm for all the behind the scenes action including all the reaction from tonight's elimination. Also tune in next Sunday to see the eighth round of live performances with a show based on Soul and Rn'B hits and next Monday to see which contestant is eliminated next.





1980's Performance Show | BACK |
17 October 2004

The remaining Top 6 Australian Idol finalists have performed live in the seventh round of live theme shows in Australian Idol. The contestants sang songs from in the 1980's, which included songs made famous by Huey Lewis & The News, Martika, and Foreigner among others for the 80's show on tonight.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the seventh episode of the live themed shows, 17 October 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Marty- Power Of Love by Huey Lewis & The News 1902 55 55 61
Chanel- Stop by Sam Brown 1902 55 55 62
Casey- The Flame by Cheap Trick 1902 55 55 63
Courtney- Oh Sherrie by Steve Perry 1902 55 55 64
Hayley- I Feel The Earth Move by Martika 1902 55 55 65
Anthony- I Want To Know What Love Is by Foreigner 1902 55 55 66

SMS First Name to 19 10 10


Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEST, Monday 18 October. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents.

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



Dicko: Why I had to go | BACK |
17 October 2004


Dicko: Why I had to go
By Phillip Koch
October 17, 2004

AUSTRALIAN Idol judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson said yesterday he defected from Channel 10 to Channel 7 because he was bored with talent shows.
"I really couldn't see myself sitting on a talent show for another year," he told The Sunday Telegraph in an exclusive interview.

"I have worked very hard to make Australian Idol a successful show as part of that cast, and I'm proud of the show.

"I'm not stamping my foot, throwing my toys out of the pram and walking away from the show. It's just that personally, I don't want to do a third series."

Seven chief executive David Leckie confirmed yesterday that Dickson had signed a long-term contract to present and produce new entertainment shows.

"It's a hugely important step for this network," Leckie said.

"We're in a rebuilding process, and we have some ideas we think fit perfectly with him and his production company has some ideas that fit perfectly with us."

Leckie acknowledged this year had been very difficult for Seven, but claimed that with a new line-up of hit US shows, "we'll be looking stronger" next year.

Dickson would not comment on speculation that his deal with Seven was worth as much as $4 million, but Leckie said: "No one is paid more than me" - and he was paid $1.17 million last financial year.

Last month, Dickson formed a production company, Watercooler, with his business partner, David Wilson, to develop new shows for television.

Even he finds his success beyond his wildest dreams - given that two years ago, he was an unknown record-company executive with no public profile.

"In a very strange couple of weeks, we ended up having lunch with and talking to Kerry Packer, having lunch with David Leckie and obviously having ongoing discussions with Network Ten," he said.

With Dickson's contract with Ten up in November, the announcement ends a fortnight of speculation and follows a bidding war for Dickson between the three commercial networks.

It also leaves Australian Idol without its most popular judge and biggest drawcard next year.

"It's Dicko-less," joked the self-professed "naughty boy" who has captured the imagination of the Australian public.

Neither he nor Leckie would be drawn on Dickson's exact role with Seven other than to confirm it would involve both an on-air role and a producer role.

The Sunday Telegraph

Source: news.com.au

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Bad note for Ricki-Lee | BACK |
13 October 2004

Bad note for Ricki-Lee
From The Eye
October 13, 2004

THE 18-year-old girl everybody was talking about yesterday was Ricki-Lee Coulter.
The Gold Coast teenager, who was famously booted off Australian Idol on Sunday night, was disappointed with how she left the competition.

"I'm just really disappointed I left on a bad note, on a night I wasn't comfortable with," she said.

"I went on stage and I didn't enjoy it.

"Every other week I did a song that I love, a song that I listened to growing up, but you know, I've never been into the Beatles, it's just something that is foreign ground to me."

Judge Ian Dickson compared Coulter with LaToya London from this season of American Idol, who was also booted off early after being a clear favourite.

"I think this does happen around the world in Idol world," Dicko said. "The fact that sometimes it appears somebody is so safe, the public get complacent and don't vote for them.

"I think Fantasia was a fantastic winner, but LaToya London was head and shoulders about the girls that stayed after her."

Last week the Idols had a particularly busy schedule, only really having one night on Friday to have a good rehearsal of their song.

They spent two days in Melbourne where they didn't get a chance to rehearse and had a motor show appearance on Saturday and many late nights during the week.

Ricki-Lee made no excuses about the busy schedule, but did have a point on how it has an impact on the Idols performances.

"It's part of the industry, but in saying that, if you're in the industry and you're an artist, you don't do songs that are foreign to you," she said.

"Guy Sebastian is out promoting his album, he has had sleepless nights and weeks and stuff like that.

"But he's doing it because that's what he loves."

Source: Herald Sun


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Many comments have been received by Inside Australian Idol and heated discussion posted on the forum after this week's shock elimination of Idol favourite Ricki-Lee. Here are some comments that have been received:

I wont be watching Aus idol again. I saw the most talented idol voted off by the aus public??? last night and I wonder how this can be. Ricki Lee outshines all others in the show and I am appalled at the outcome. Bloody ridiculous
from annette

One seems to think there was something sinister behind the dismissal of Ricki Lee as it was quite obvious that she was the potential winner of the contest. Those left on the programme seem quite bland by comparison. I do hope that one of the influential members of the judging panel will take her under their wing and ensure that she becomes an Australian Idol. We have lost interest in the programme now.
from Maria

i think that they should choose there own songs every week.
from Cassie

Just wondering what in the hell has gotten into the australian public, 2 weeks in a row I think we got it wrong Daniel was great, but the world spoke about Ricki Lee constantly and the talent she has, we have gone mad! I agree with Marcia's comment that this is just like it was with Paulini (totally wrong) wake up australia we have got great talent, so support it and vote regularly. I also feel this year we have even better talent than in the last idol comp. Congratulations to all the contestants this year as you all deserve some recognition, you are great and all deserve to gain a recording contract, I don't think you will have any trouble! Best of Luck to all
from Veronica


Dicko's six-figure defection | BACK |
13 October 2004

Dicko's six-figure defection
By MARCUS CASEY Media Writer
October 13, 2004

AUSTRALIAN Idol's hard-man judge Ian Dickson is set to leave the successful talent show to join the troubled Seven network next year.

The 41-year-old formerly unknown record company marketing executive rocketed to fame on AI last year.

His acerbic comments helped make him the main face of the Ten show, which drew 2.34 million viewers on Sunday night and is a bigger success this year than last.

Dickson's contract with Ten expires after the finale in late November and sources say he used his raised profile to up the ante in renegotiations.

Seven CEO David Leckie is understood to have approached Dickson with an offer.

Ten executives have a high regard for Dickson and wanted to keep him, as AI will air again next year.

However, Leckie outgunned Ten with an offer that a source said was "well into the six figures".

Dickson agreed to join Seven but can't sign a contract until his current one expires.

A Seven spokesman declined to comment, as did Dickson's manager David Wilson. It's understood Seven did not offer a specific program or format.


Source: The Daily Telegraph

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Centrebet Odds | BACK |
13 October 2004

Anthony clear Idol favourite after Ricki-Lee's exit

Centrebet says that Melbourne vocalist Anthony Callea is odds on to win Australian Idol after the surprising departure of the best backed contestant, Gold Coast teenager Ricki-Lee Coulter.

Centrebet had taken twice as much money on Ricki-Lee winning the Network Ten singing competition than any other person. Punters had backed her
From $41.00 down to $2.50.

Ricki-Lee's shock exit prompted Centrebet to make major changes on its exclusive betting market, with Kerang rocker Marty Worrall's title odds plummeting from $51.00 to $8.00.

Australian Idol
$1.65 Anthony Callea (from $2.00)
$3.50 Courtney Murphy (from $5.00)
$8.00 Marty Worrall (from $51.00)
$10.00 Chanel Cole (from $15.00)
$15.00 Casey Donovan (from $17.00)
$17.00 Hayley Jensen (from $67.00)

Log on to http://www.centrebet.com to view its latest odds.

About Centrebet

One of the world's oldest online sports bookmakers, Centrebet's explosive growth continues 12 years on from its launch. Punters from all four corners of the globe are flocking to Centrebet because of its great odds, exhaustive range of options and guaranteed payment of winnings.

Centrebet operates in one of the world's strictest gaming jurisdictions. Australia's Northern Territory Government licenses and regulates Centrebet. Its Racing and Gaming Commission digitally monitors all transactions for the protection of Centrebet and its worldwide clients.



Is Australian Idol murdering pop music? | BACK |
13 October 2004

Is Australian Idol murdering pop music?
Max Factor
Entertainment editor

Enough is enough

12 October 2004

Australian Idol and its TV driven talent show ilk that are growing with such contagion that they will soon even come with their own designated disease (Factor X) - are a boil on the bum of an industry who's best and brightest are overwhelmingly original talent.

Anyone can and usually does sing. What overwhelmingly drives the record business though is creative talent usually in control of their own material whether they are bands or singer-songwriters. Manufactured pop music has always been around, but the usual pop idols riding on the back of other people's material, unless you are the diva types, quickly run out of puff. It's not easy being original which is why so few ever make it by comparison with those who start out.

But TV talent shows of the Australian Idol idiom turn all the normal industry rules upside down because they become one gigantic promotional machine - as we've already seen. The trick for Guy Sebastian is not remaining a velvet smooth singer or even trawling through the publishing houses of the world for good songs. His long term marketability lies in remaining fashionable beyond a certain period, and as the sub or teenyboppers get older and our more senior record buying citizens take to the next big thing from the Idol assembly plant, Sebastian will have to exist more as a league's club staple, and appearing on Bert Newton 10 years from now even if Bert isn't! Just don't expect to see his videos being rotated on MTV; in fact he may not even have videos! Being top of the TV talent crop is mostly a guaranteed ride to yesterday.

So naturally most folks in the record business see Australian Idol as purely an instant purveyor of pop pap - whose upside is immediate, but longevity really pushing the envelope! In the record business you rhyme pap with crap. Ian 'Dicko' Dickson as an Idol judge can bang on all he likes about avoiding the ARIA awards because of the snobbery of the industry towards his Idol star turns, even as they sell truckloads of records, but if he was at another label with no ties to Idol, he would be equally dismissive of these manufactured pop stars.

Sure the industry is envious of this formula and sales machine that BMG is now tapped into locally, but the industry mostly dines out on originality to sell the majority of pop acts - and being responsible for your own material usually ensures a much longer career. No self-respecting executive hates success and knows volume sales keeps people employed, but the TV talent show process is so totally contrived, it's both an aberration and the antithesis to creativity. It's music by numbers.

If Ricki-Lee had got beyond last night's elimination and actually ended up winning the whole Idol shooting gallery - you still would have had amateur hour releasing factory assembled music. Every bit as forgettable as Bardot - or spurned ex-member Sophie Monk; or now struggling Idol refugee Rob Mills. You only have to go back to a kind of sub-Idol 70's driven Countdown to see how current judge Mark Holden became a teen idol with songs that at the time made young girls swoon, and groaning boys regurgitate! Soon enough his vacuous music floundered and if I recall rightly he left the country for a fresh start in the USA, following in the footsteps of another former Countdown pretty boy - Rick Springfield, who combined a stalled music career with soapy acting.

Faust would love to do a deal with Idol

So for good reason the industry looks down its collective nose at preppy karaoke pop peddlers who not only sign up in the hope or wild expectation of overnight success, but also have zero control in how they actually go about getting there. If Faust came back today and fancied life as a pop star - he'd gladly sign on for Australian Idol as the shortest possible route to his 15 minutes of fame.

That's not to belittle those who seek a career via Australian Idol but to recognize that this show has about as much to do with the real spirit of pop music which should be bold and inventive, but when you see the Beatles trashed as they were on Sunday by some, they are mere props in a TV ratings juggernaut. Australian Idol exists to make money and attract as many viewers as possible, both of which it does spectacularly.

But when Dicko or anyone else defends Idol from derision for being anything other than the equivalent of a bargain basement sale or visit to the reject shop, he's talking through his pocket and that of the record company that peddles the end product, irrespective of how willing or enthusiastic the consumer is to embrace the show. If the film business can happily admit that genre movies are merely exploitative marketing ploys to make money, why can't Australian Idol accept its recognition as being at the bottom end of the scale when it comes to pop dross?

If my family loves Australian Idol and is silly enough to hang out to buy whatever "product" is dished up off the conveyor belt of the next Idol signed artists good luck to them - it's their money and their right to be sucked in. But don't expect those who see the show as the very thin end of the wedge for so many other Australian artists. Those with original talent deserving of support, which, if they also had this Idol machine behind them wouldn't lack for success? It's also ironic that when others pass critical judgment on Australian Idol for whatever reason, the likes of Dickson or Holden think they're being snobs. I don't see it as snobbery for hating the way Idol reduces the music form that most of us grow up with and might still adore, being reduced to the lowest common denominator.

But at least Dickson was the only one of the judges to get it absolutely right when he castigated Ricki-Lee for her murderous treatment of We Can Work It Out on Sunday night. If any proof was required that the show is essentially a vehicle for karaoke singers peddling homogenized pop, seeing and hearing that classic song reduced to sounding horrible was an affront. Even worse, the singer didn't even seem to know the song actually started with totally different opening lines than the ones she claimed to rate so highly? Dicko sure got it right when he thought a couple of dead Beatles would be spinning in their graves after that effort. God only knows what the living deity who actually wrote it would have thought of it?

Anyway for what it is worth here's my take on the core components that makes Australian Idol the biggest thing on our television right now. Perhaps the silver lining on Sunday night was it might actually encourage lots of people to go out and buy the original songs, but then if they haven't discovered them for themselves already - they sure as hell aren't pop fans as most of us come to understand the term?


The judges

Marcia Hines: Once the so-called Queen of Pop, she has great genes and looks remarkable for her age. But while Marcia was a huge seller in her '70's prime, she was not so much a pop princess as a glorified cabaret act. If she had been living and working in America instead of establishing her middle of the road credentials here, she would hardly have a queue forming to sign her. Also because she's a professional singer she somehow thinks this qualifies her to look down on fellow judge Dicko when she disagrees with him, because he's not. Her usual encouragement to Idol aspirants might be well intentioned, but more often than not it only serves to make her sound patronizing.

Mark Holden: Any man who dares to claim a hand in the recording career of David Hasslehoff has no shame! But then as another pretty boy King of Pop and Countdown cardboard cutout, he was almost certainly the most disposable pop idol of Australian music in the '70's. He made middle of the road sound like the highway to hell by comparison with his vacuous fluff posing as pop music. As a producer his local confections shows a shrewd eye for maximum exploitation of genre bending artists like the poor man's Laura Branigan - Vanessa Amorossi, and the previously ubiquitous Nicky Webster, and now of course some Idol hands!

Ian 'Dicko' Dickson: Appears to have had more a marketing career back in the UK than genuine A&R experience but I might be wrong. However, on my limited observations he's the only one of the three who seems to have a genuine appreciation for spotting talent that isn't the technical clap trap of Hines, or the career long easy listening instincts of Holden. Also he brings a cynical record company marketing sensibility that tells him whatever political correctness might dictate, deep down that while beauty is only skin deep - it helps your video and art work no end! Sure Guy Sebastian broke that mould with his bubbly personality and violet vocals as the first winner; but his longer term career will be founded in being a kind of Luther Van Dross type, with the clock already clicking on his time as a hot teen idol. He's still enormously popular and record sales healthy, but nothing like they were less than a year ago.


The material

Enthusiastic karaoke contestants are one thing, but the producers choice of material for them is not only pop's walk on the safe side, but the constant misuse of R&B bandied about on the show by all and sundry for a lot of material makes me wonder who stole their musical compass?

But even when they are raiding the vaults for pop classics, why must they be truncated edits of songs when the two hosts talk so much crap that could provide more song time, or does that now change as we get down to a six pack or whatever?

However, there is no escaping that overwhelmingly the choice of material even when doing theme nights is banal to the point where it seems more adult contemporary than pop.


Long term career propects

Music mogul Michael Gudinski late last week remarked that that he doubted the show would produce any long terms superstars. He put it rather diplomatically when he said it might produce one or two artists who might endear themselves to the public, but few would have long careers.

"The day you find a Neil Young or a Bob Dylan on Australian Idol, I'll retire," he said.

Mark Holden immediately hit back at this criticism by defending the show as a fresh means of discovering musical talent. Unfortunately Holden's idea of musical talent seems to be a rather careless use of the term when you have people doing cover versions that without the backup of this huge TV vehicle are going to sink without trace almost 100% of the time. For him to describe the show as an alternative means of A&R, is like claiming Neighbours exists to showcase Australian acting talent instead of actually being a TV soap. I think Russell Crowe would have got by without the TV show, but Guy Sebastian wouldn't get arrested without Australian Idol, so this isn't the chicken or the egg!

Holden also believes Australian Idol is sending people back into record shops and that fine. But if he thinks it's widening the public taste for great pop music through karaoke mediocrity - imagine what might be achieved with original artist's being given a crack at doing their own music?

Source: www.crikey.com.au

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Ricki-Lee eliminated | BACK |
11 October 2004

The Top 7 of Australian Idol was reduced to just six after another shock result when Ricki-Lee Coulter was eliminated from the series after the sixth of the live result shows. After the lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 7 sang together with a performance of The Beatles' "Hard Day's Night".

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the three contestants who had the least amount of votes. They were Ricki, Marty Worrall and Chanel Cole. The emotional contestants were then told that both Marty and Chanel were safe for another week and that Ricki-Lee, the 18 year-old singer from the Gold Coast, was eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Ricki-Lee performed his song from last night's Beatles themed show- "We Can Work It Out", with other Idol contestants clearly emotional at the announcement.

Tune in on Thursday for "Inside Idol" at 7.30pm for all the behind the scenes action including all the reaction from tonight's elimination. Also tune in next Sunday to see the seventh round of live performances with a show based on hits from the 1980s and next Monday to see which contestant is eliminated next.



The Beatles Performance Show | BACK |
10 October 2004

The remaining Top 7 Australian Idol finalists have performed live in the sixth round of live theme shows in Australian Idol. The contestants sang songs made famous by The Beatles for tonight's 'fab four' themed show.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the sixth episode of the live themed shows, 10 October 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Chanel- Across The Universe 1902 55 55 61
Anthony- I Saw Her Standing There 1902 55 55 62
Casey- Eleanor Rigby 1902 55 55 63
Marty- Oh Darling 1902 55 55 64
Hayley- Yesterday 1902 55 55 65
Courtney- Got To Get You Into My Life 1902 55 55 66
Ricki-Lee- We Can Work It Out 1902 55 55 67

SMS First Name to 19 10 10


Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEST, Monday 11 October. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents.

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



More criticism of Australian Idol | BACK |
10 October 2004

No Idol threat to music
October 09, 2004

TELEVISION powerhouse Australian Idol is unlikely to produce any long-term superstars, Australian music royalty Michael Gudinski has claimed.
The founder of Mushroom Records said the popular Network Ten show might produce one or two artists who endeared themselves to the public but few would have long careers.

"The day you find a Neil Young or a Bob Dylan on Australian Idol, I'll retire," he said.

Speaking at the Port Phillip Business Excellent awards where the Mushroom Group was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Gudinski likened Idol to karaoke and described the music as "disposable".

But Idol judge Mark Holden hit back at the claims, saying the program was just another alternative to discover fresh musical talent.

"Idol is an alternative A&R source, it's not instead of," he said.

"There are plenty of rooms for the likes of Missy Higgins, Powderfinger, the John Butler Trio, there is plenty of room for every other kind of artist."

Gudinski said Australian Idol had galvanised the music community.

"It's a love-hate relationship but it's putting people back in record shops," he said.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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Anthony denies gay rumours | BACK |
10 October 2004

I'm not gay, Idol claims
By LIAM HOULIHAN
10oct04

VICTORIA'S Australian Idol contender Anthony Callea has denied fan claims he is gay.

Fans have questioned Callea's sexuality on the Australian Idol Internet message boards.
"I'm not gay. I don't know why people say I am. A lot of people just make up rubbish," he said.

"The same thing was levelled at (last year's winner) Guy (Sebastian)." The 21-year-old Sanctuary Lakes resident said rumours he was gay were amusing.

One fan compared watching Callea on Australian Idol to watching Play It Straight - a show where viewers attempt to guess whether participants are gay or straight. Another described those voting for Callea as "poor deluded girls who believe he's not gay".

The performer added fuel to the rumours in an interview for the Idol website. When asked to disclose something about himself that no one else knew, he teased: "That's for me to know and you to find out."

Callea and the other six remaining Idol hopefuls will fight it out tonight.

Source: Herald Sun


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Daniel eliminated | BACK |
4 October 2004

The Top 8 of Australian Idol was reduced to just seven after Daniel Belle was eliminated from the series after the fifth of the live result shows. After the lines closed at 7:40pm, the remaining Top 8 sang together with a performance of Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat".

After the performance, hosts Andrew G and James Mathison named the three contestants who had the least amount of votes. They were Chanel Cole, Daniel and Hayley Jensen. The emotional contestants were then told that both Hayley and Chanel were safe for another week and that Daniel, the 21 year-old student, was eliminated. The live audience were able to show their appreciation while Daniel performed his song from last night's Idol's Choice themed show- "Your Song" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, with other Idol contestants clearly emotional at the announcement.

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



Idol's Choice Performance Show | BACK |
3 October 2004

The remaining Top 8 Australian Idol finalists have performed live in the fifth round of 'live' theme shows in Australian Idol. This week the contestants were able to choose any song from any period and genre, which included songs made famous by Australian group George, kd lang and Whitney Houston among others for tonight's Idol's Choice show.

Here is a list of what each of the remaining Australian Idol contestants sang on the fifth episode of the live themed show, 3 October 2004 and their respective voting lines-

Ricki-Lee- "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston 1902 55 55 61
Marty- '"Broken Wings" by Mr Mister 1902 55 55 62
Hayley- "Release" by George 1902 55 55 63
Daniel- "Your Song" by Moulin Rouge soundtrack 1902 55 55 64
Chanel- "Constant Craving" by kd lang 1902 55 55 65
Courtney- "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys 1902 55 55 66
Casey- "Special Ones" by George 1902 55 55 67
Anthony- "The Prayer" by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli 1902 55 55 68

SMS First Name to 19 10 10


Phone and SMS lines open until 7.40 pm AEST, Monday 4 October. Phone voting and SMS voting will be charged at 55 cents.

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



Idol hours | BACK |
3 October 2004

Idol hours
By Chris Middendorp
September 30, 2004

There are some fastidious viewers who would go out of their way to avoid a show such as Australian Idol, assuming that it is a grotesque orgy of manufactured, commercial blandness.

But they'd be wrong to do so, because this year's Idol has been fascinating television.

No one is more astonished by this than me. I missed last year's series but understand that if it contributed nothing else to our culture, it definitively reacquainted us with the afro (thanks, Guy) and revived one of the most wretched pop anthems ever written: What About Me (sorry, Shannon).

Lately I've felt like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus; switching on Idol to ridicule it, I kept watching and became a happy convert. What's worse, I've fallen for contestant Chanel Cole.

She's a sparkling, '60s-style cabaret artist whose sassy performances, fine voice and quirky song choices have been a joy.

Other contestants - Courtney Murphy, Casey Donovan and Daniel Belle - are clearly not aspiring to be mere plastic pop commodities either.

They are brimming with personality and possess a clear point of view about the music business.

They're the opposite of the emaciated, enervated Jessica Simpson or pumped Justin Timberlake wannabes you might have expected.

Idol endears despite a somewhat tacky aesthetic. Does it really need two hosts? Do they have to yell?

James Mathison's voice is so shrill, he sounds like John Safran on helium. Andy G is so preposterously glamorous, it's distracting.

In essence, Idol attempts to engineer popstars with all the soul and finesse of a transnational hamburger chain.

One could accuse it of breathtaking cynicism - if it wasn't for the fact that the world of pop music is breathtakingly cynical.

It should come as no surprise then that its creator, Simon Fuller, is the same genius who brought us that massive ephemeral entity the Spice Girls.

The Idol formula is so successful, it now has more branch offices than American Express.

There's even a version of the show in Kazakhstan. Fuller has become filthy rich and media internet sites invariably describe him as a "British pop svengali". Sure.

But how Fuller has given the talent quest new life is by allowing viewers at home to have a say. He's turned a TV show into a community and given us all the opportunity to say "up yours" to the judges and their opinions.

Once the judges have whittled down the 8000 auditioners to 30 finalists, the viewers get to participate. But who does the voting?

If, as it's often been suggested, it is pubescent girls who dominate the proceedings, then why did Dan O'Connor not get enough votes to stay on?

With respect, Dan, you seemed the ideal choice for big-kahuna pop-star status: hunky, handsome, smooth and personable. The women loved you.

Your performances, however, weren't rousing enough to get you through. Sorry, bud. It seems the voters are interested in more substantial qualities.

Then there are the three C's - Casey, Courtney and Chanel - who, as prospective pop stars, have unconventional looks and make unorthodox song choices.

How is it that they have stayed in the competition? Are they not the antithesis of mass audience tastes?

Viewer taste is more complicated than we suspected. Courtney recently performed the unexpected and virtually forgotten Billy Field song You Weren't In Love With Me.

It brought the house down. The audience loves Courtney's earthy charm and his genuineness - all the more appealing when contrasted with Idol's gaudy set, frenetic pace and ruthless ambitions.

The judges' assessments of performances and their reactions to the live verdicts are engrossing.

Veteran songster Marcia Hines is typecast as Earth Mother and is relentlessly affirming; her chief role is to take the sting out of the other judges' harsher critiques.

Perhaps Marcia could afford to be a little tougher. If I hear her say "You did very well, darling" one more time, I'm going to blow a gasket.

Ever noticed that the bad guys in films are often British - Alan Rickman, Anthony Hopkins? Idol continues the tradition.

In American Idol there's the inelegant Englishman Simon Cowell, who is notorious for his excoriating criticisms. Our version is petulant Pom Ian Dickson, a record industry representative, who gets to play bad cop. His opinions are endearingly brutish but usually practical.

Former idol and now producer and talent scout Mark Holden is a more measured judge, a combination of Dicko and Hines. Holden often seems to be in two minds about contestants but appears genuinely fascinated by them.

The judges are like pantomime villains - they exist for us to jeer when we feel they've missed the point of a performance.

Comparing their views to the often contrasting enthusiasms of the live audience and voters affords an intriguing insight into mainstream taste - which obviously isn't as atrocious as some critics might have us believe.

The judges' regular clashes are fun and usually amount to a difference of opinion about what qualities define a star.

The fact that they don't agree suggests that engineering pop stars is not the science that a show such as Idol might have originally suggested.

Idol's entertainment value works on several levels. The personal growth of young hopefuls sieved through the demands of the marketplace is one of the most fascinating aspects of popular culture.

Seeing these young performers sweat and nail-bite their way through each week's ordeal is visceral. The search for the next "superstar" is the show's least interesting aspect, largely a ruse to make us tune in.

It's not necessarily the winner who will have the big career. Watching the journey is more rewarding than experiencing the destination.

Is it any wonder that Idol out-rated the political debate between Messrs Howard and Latham? Let's face it, that pseudo event was more plastic, hackneyed and ephemeral than anything Idol has offered.

Australian Idol screens on Sunday, Monday and Thursday on Channel Ten.

Source: The Age

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Beat Box Challenge | BACK |
3 October 2004

More than 2,500 teenagers turned out in Brisbane to audition for the Australian Idol Beat Box battle.

Music producer and judge on the Channel Ten program, Mark Holden, said beat boxing, which uses the mouth and vocal sounds to replicate beats and instruments, was the new voice for today's youth.

"You don't need to be rich, you don't need to have the latest fender guitar, you just do it all yourself," Holden said at today's Beat Box challenge at Carindale Shopping Centre in Brisbane.

"This is a new genre in music. You don't need any instruments. It may not replace rap as the next new wave of music but it will actually complement it."

The Network Ten program is holding beat box auditions in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with the winner appearing at the Australian Idol final, which will reveal the nation's new singing star at the Sydney Opera House in about eight weeks' time.

Co-judging today's audition was Brisbane's 17-year-old Joel Turner who mesmerised judges at the Australian Idol auditions last year and has since gained support from the television show to produce a CD by Joel Turner and the Modern Day Poets called These Days.

"When you hear the sounds that Joel can produce, it's just incredible. It's not just the sounds of drums and saxophones and synthesizers, but the beats just blow you away," Holden said.

Alex Whitehead, Video Hits host and today's compere, said Brisbane had the finest talent so far.

"It's probably the influence of people like Joel Turner who have got their friends into it," he said.

The Beat Box Challenge will continue in Melbourne on Sunday.

Source: ninemsn.com.au

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