Australian Idol

Australian Idol
Australian Idol
Australian Idol title card
Format Interactive reality
Created by Simon Fuller
Presented by Andrew Günsberg
James Mathison (2003–08)
Ricki-Lee Coulter (2004–09)
Judges Marcia Hines
Ian Dickson
Mark Holden (2003–07)
Kyle Sandilands (2005–09)
Jay Dee Springbett (2009)
No. of seasons 7
Executive producer(s) Greg Beness
Suzanne Mitchell
Producer(s) FremantleMedia Australia
19 Entertainment
Location(s) Global Television Studios, Sydney (2003–2006)
Sydney Opera House (finale)
Fox Studios, Sydney (2007–2009)
Running time 1 – 2 hours (includes commercials)
Original channel Network Ten
Picture format 576i (SDTV) (2003–2009)
1080i (HDTV) (2007–2009)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run 27 July 2003 – 22 November 2009
Australian Idol finalists
(with dates of elimination)
Australian Idol season 1 finalists
Guy Sebastian Winner
Shannon Noll 19 November
Cosima De Vito 3 November
Paulini Curuenavuli 27 October
Rob Mills 20 October
Levi Kereama 13 October
Rebekah LaVauney 6 October
Kelly Cavuoto 6 October
Lauren Buckley 29 September
Cle Wootton 29 September
Peter Ryan 22 September
Matthew Chadwick 22 September
Australian Idol season 2 (2004) finalists
Casey Donovan Winner
Anthony Callea 21 November
Courtney Murphy 8 November
Hayley Jensen 1 November
Chanel Cole 25 October
Marty Worrall 18 October
Ricki-Lee Coulter 11 October
Daniel Belle 4 October
Emelia Rusciano 27 September
Amali Ward 20 September
Dan O'Connor 13 September
Angeline Narayan 6 September
Australian Idol season 3 (2005) finalists
Kate DeAraugo Winner
Emily Williams 21 November
Lee Harding 14 November
Dan England 7 November
Daniel Spillane 31 October
Anne Robertson 24 October
James Kannis 17 October
Milly Edwards 10 October
Roxane LeBrasse 3 October
Laura Gissara 26 September
Natalie Zahra 19 September
Chris Luder 12 September
Tarni Stephens 12 September
Australian Idol season 4 (2006) finalists
Damien Leith Winner
Jessica Mauboy 26 November
Dean Geyer 13 November
Chris Murphy 6 November
Ricky Muscat 30 October
Lisa Mitchell 23 October
Bobby Flynn 16 October
Lavina Williams 9 October
Guy "Mutto" Mutton 2 October
Klancie Keough 25 September
Reigan Derry 18 September
Joseph Gatehau 11 September
Australian Idol season 5 (2007) finalists
Natalie Gauci Winner
Matt Corby 25 November
Carl Riseley 12 November
Marty Simpson 5 November
Tarisai Vushe 29 October
Daniel Mifsud 22 October
Ben McKenzie 15 October
Jacob Butler 8 October
Mark Da Costa 1 October
Lana Krost 24 September
Brianna Carpenter 17 September
Holly Weinert 10 September
Australian Idol season 6 (2008) finalists
Wes Carr Winner
Luke Dickens 23 November
Mark Spano 17 November
Teale Jakubenko 10 November
Chrislyn Hamilton 3 November
Roshani Priddis 27 October
Sophie Paterson 20 October
Thanh Bui 13 October
Madam Parker 6 October
Tom Williams 29 September
Brooke Addamo 22 September
Jonny Taylor 15 September
Australian Idol season 7 (2009) finalists
Stan Walker Winner
Hayley Warner 22 November
James Johnston 15 November
Nathan Brake 8 November
Toby Moulton 1 November
Kate Cook 25 October
Kim Cooper 18 October
Scott Newnham 11 October
Tim Johnston 4 October
Sabrina Batshon 27 September
Casey Barnes 20 September
Ashleigh Toole 13 September

Australian Idol is a Logie Award-winning[citation needed] Australian singing competition, which began its first season on July 2003[citation needed] and ended its run in November 2009[citation needed]. As part of the Idol franchise, Australian Idol originated from the reality program Pop Idol, which was created by British entertainment executive Simon Fuller[citation needed]. Australian Idol was televised on Network Ten for all seven series, and was broadcast on Austereo Radio Network between 2005 and 2007.[citation needed]


The show

Australian Idol was a show which sought to discover the most commercial young singer in Australia through a series of nationwide auditions. The outcomes of the later stages of this competition were determined by public voting. The original judging panel featured Mark Holden, Marcia Hines and Ian Dickson[citation needed]. In 2005, this was changed as Ian Dickson was replaced by Kyle Sandilands[citation needed]. In 2007, Ian Dickson returned to the program,[citation needed] when Mark Holden left at the end of the season[citation needed]. In 2009, Kyle Sandilands was replaced by Jay Dee Springbett. Network Ten made the decision to "rest" the program for 2010, supposedly due to a clash with the Commonwealth Games.[citation needed]


In its seven seasons, the show has seen a mixture of judges and hosts.[citation needed] The winner, runner-ups, judges and hosts of Australian Idol are:

Year Winner Runner-up Judges Host(s)
2003 Guy Sebastian Shannon Noll Mark Holden
Marcia Hines
Ian Dickson
Andrew G
James Mathison
2004 Casey Donovan Anthony Callea
2005 Kate DeAraugo Emily Williams Mark Holden
Marcia Hines
Kyle Sandilands
2006 Damien Leith Jessica Mauboy
2007 Natalie Gauci Matt Corby Mark Holden
Marcia Hines
Ian Dickson
Kyle Sandilands
2008 Wes Carr Luke Dickens Marcia Hines
Ian Dickson
Kyle Sandilands
Andrew G
James Mathison
Ricki-Lee Coulter
2009 Stan Walker Hayley Warner Jay-Dee Springbett
Marcia Hines
Ian Dickson
Kyle Sandilands (Auditions Only)
Andrew G
Ricki-Lee Coulter



Auditions were held in major cities around Australia to find each season's contestants. These auditions helped find the top 100.[citation needed]

Top 100

Around 100 people made it to Sydney to compete in the Top 100.[citation needed] The first task in the Top 100 was the 'chorus line' where 10 people were chosen randomly to perform in front of the judges.[citation needed] Each sang a short piece from a song of their choice. When all 10 were finished performing, the judges chose which contestants were eliminated.[citation needed] In the next phase, the Top 100 contestants were randomly put into groups of four and the groups chose a song from a short list of pop songs.[citation needed] They were given all night to rehearse so they would be able to perform it next morning.[citation needed] These group performances were generally criticized by the judges but with few exceptions.[citation needed] The next day each contestant performed a song of their choice acapella in front of the judges and all the remaining contestants.[citation needed] That night contestants were informed individually whether they made it to the semi-final round, the Top 24.[citation needed]


The semifinal format has varied from season to season. The formats for the different seasons were:

Season 1

The semi-finals for the first season consisted of 40 contestants, who were then split into 5 groups of 8. The 2 contestants with the highest number of votes then advanced into the finals. At the end of the last group results, a special wild card round was held, where the 10 previously rejected contestants where given a second chance to make it to the finals. In this special show, another 2 would advance in the finals. One public choice, and one Judge's Choice. However, a contestant by the name of Daniel Wakefield withdrew from the competition, leaving one vacant slot in the final 12. Because of this, instead of only one public choice, the contestant with the next highest number of votes was also declared a finalist.[citation needed]

Seasons 2 and 3

The number of semi-finalists was cut down to 30. The top 30 were then divided into 3 groups of 10, the top 3 vote-getters of each group advancing in to the final 12. The wild card show format changed slightly as it was the judges who selected two to advance and the public only choosing one. The wild card episode in the 3rd season had a little twist, when the judges announced a third person, namely, Roxanne Lebrasse, who also had the 2nd highest number of votes, would be included in the finals, making it a Top 13.[citation needed]

Season 4

The semi finals now consisted of 24 finalists, with 12 males and 12 females. The contestants would then be split into groups of six, with each group of contestants consisting of the same gender. The top two from each group would then advance into the finals. After all four groups had performed, eight contestants would then be brought back for a wild card show. The judges selected three while the public chose one. In addition, instead of one semi final round every week, all the semi finals were done in a week, airing one semi final round on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The wild card show and the live results on Wednesday's show is aired the following Sunday with the wild card live results shown on Monday. This was done to prevent the earlier contestants that made the finals to spend their time collect votes for the upcoming finals and the later contestants to practice their songs and collecting votes for their semi final round.[citation needed]

Season 5 maintained a similar format to that of the previous season, but there was a slight change in the wild card show, when the top two from the public vote would advance, and the judges would select only the remaining two.[citation needed]

Season 6

The season still maintained a top 24, but instead of all groups consisting of the same gender, each group now consisted of three males and three females, with the top two advancing in the finals. The wild card show then used the same format as that of Season 4, where the judges selected three to advance in the finals, and the public chose one.

Contestants who had previously made the top 24 in the past seasons but unfortunately did not continue on to the top 12 were ineligible to audition for Australian Idol again, however, it was announced that from 2008 season onwards previous top 24 contestants would be eligible for another chance and could audition; this is similar to the concept on Canadian Idol.[citation needed]


As the number of performers reached 12, the contestants were given the task of choosing a song, in accordance with a weekly theme, to perform live on national television. Viewers then telephoned (or SMS) their vote(s) in relation to who they wanted to stay another week.[citation needed]

At the beginning of an elimination show, the remaining idols also took part in a group performance that usually related to the previous night's theme. First, the contestants were told who was safe for another week. Then the contestants with the three lowest amounts of votes were announced, the 'bottom three'. The person who received the third lowest amount of votes for the week was quickly sent back to join the other safe contestants, leaving the two lowest votegetters. Finally it was announced who had received the lowest amount of votes and been eliminated. The eliminated competitor then presented a final song – usually the number they sang the previous night.[citation needed]

Grand Finale

The Grand Finale was held at the Sydney Opera House, featuring fireworks, an outdoor concert with many past Idol stars and other Australian musicians. It had been the highest rating episode of each season.[citation needed] The top 12 were celebrated and at the end of the night the winner was announced.[citation needed] Seasons 1–5 were held inside Sydney Opera House on the concert hall stage.[citation needed] For seasons 6 and 7, the finale was held on a stage erected on the Opera House forecourt.[citation needed]

After the first two seasons, the top 12 and top 10 went on a national tour.[citation needed] There were no tours for later seasons.[citation needed] However, there was a "Winner's Journey Tour" involving the winner with some guest performances from the Top 12 for seasons 4 and 5.[citation needed]


A "touchdown" was awarded by judge Mark Holden when, in his own opinion, a contestant's performance was particularly good. Holden awarded his first ever "touchdown" to Cosima De Vito for her rendition of Cold Chisel's "When the War Is Over" in the Top 8 on Australian Made night in Season 1. De Vito also received a touchdown for her rendition of RESPECT, a classic hit by Aretha Franklin. Season 4 winner, Damien Leith and Season 2 winner, Casey Donovan have the record for the highest number of touchdowns at four apiece. Leith is the only contestant to receive two touchdowns in the same night. Emily Williams, and Matt Corby, runner-ups of seasons 3 and 5 respectively both hold the record of receiving the most amount of touchdowns without winning, at three apiece. In 2004, Top 8 contestants choice night, he awarded his only ever 'Grand Royal' Touchdown when Anthony Callea sang his stunning rendition of "The Prayer" which is still regarded as one of the most memorable performances of all seven series. Another two of Holden's most memorable "touchdowns" were awarded to Guy Sebastian for his rendition of "Climb Every Mountain" on the Top 3 show in Season 1 and to Jessica Mauboy for her rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" on the Top 10 Number 1 Hits show in Season 4. Holden's final touchdown went to 2007 winner Natalie Gauci in the Top 4 on Big Band night during Season 5.

During Season 6, due to Holden's departure from the judging panel, the other judges awarded "touchdowns" themselves. The first "touchdown" was delivered by Kyle Sandilands to Chrislyn Hamilton on top 12 night. She later received another on Motown night by guest judge and first series winner, Guy Sebastian. Thanh Bui received one from Marcia Hines during ABBA night and Mark Spano was also delivered one by Ian "Dicko" Dickson during Top 6 Rolling Stones night. Eventual winner, Wes Carr was awarded two; one by Hines and guest judge Jermaine Jackson on Michael Jackson night and another on Top 3 night by Dickson.

An alternate version of a "touchdown" was done by Dickson if he believes the performance was extraordinary saying "big ticko from Dicko". This was used in one of Natalie Gauci's performances and a few other performances when Holden was around.

Season Synopsis

Season 1

[citation needed]

When Network Ten paid $15 million for the first season of Australian Idol they anticipated it to be a critical and financial success like it had been in other countries such as the UK and the USA. When the show aired for the first time in August 2003 it was a ratings bonanza attracting diverse ranges of viewers, from people wanting the crazy auditions to people who wanted to hear great voices. The audition process went through several major cities in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin. Sooner or later Australian Idol became the most popular TV show in the country with more ratings than major events such as the AFL Grand Final. The Grand Final at the Sydney Opera House attracted more than 3 million viewers. It was listed as the ninth highest rating TV show in Australia in the past century in 2007. The eventual winner of the competition was Guy Sebastian with Shannon Noll finished in 2nd place.

Guy Sebastian has released six top 10 albums including a #1 and #2 which have all gained either platinum or multi platinum accreditation.[1] His first album Just As I Am was accredited 6x platinum and sold in excess of 480,000 units.[2][3][4] Beautiful Life, Closer to the Sun, Like It Like That and Twenty Ten were all platinum sellers, with The Memphis Album reaching double platinum.[5][6][7][8] He has also released ten top 15 singles, seven of which have reached the top 10 of the ARIA singles chart, including five #1's.[1] Sebastian is the only Australian male artist in Australian music history to achieve five #1 singles, and is equal third for all Australian acts.[9] His debut single Angels Brought Me Here was the highest selling single in Australia in 2003, reaching 4x platinum accreditation.[10][11] It won the 2004 ARIA for "Highest Selling Song", and in the ARIA highest sellers of the last decade report "Angels Brought Me Here" was named the highest selling song of the decade.[4][12] "Like It Like That" the title track from his 5th album reached triple platinum and was the highest selling Australian artist single of 2009.[13][14] "Who's That Girl", Twenty Ten's lead single, was the second highest selling Australian artist song of 2010 and has reached 4x platinum accreditation.[15][16] In total, Sebastian has been awarded 26 platinum and two gold accreditations for albums and singles in Australia, the highest accreditations for any Australian Idol contestant.[16][17] Sebastian's first single reached #1 in Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.[18] Sebastian also reached #1 on the New Zealand Charts with "Who's That Girl" in 2011, and reached the Top 10 with his debut album and two other singles, and has gained four platinum and two gold accreditations there.[19] During his career Sebastian has received 14 ARIA Award. Six of these nominations, including "Best Male Artist" and "Best Pop Release" were received in 2010.[12][20] He also received nominations for "Single of the Year", "Best Pop Release" and "Highest Selling Single" for "Who's That Girl" in 2011.[21]

Shannon Noll has released four top 10 albums.[22] His debut album That's What I'm Talking About gained 5x platinum accreditation and his second album Lift reached 3x platinum, both debuting at #1 on the ARIA charts.[5][23] His third album, Turn It Up, peaked at #3 and achieved platinum accreditation,[24] His fourth album No Turning Back: The Story So Far reached #7 and has not as yet gained accreditation. Noll has also released ten top 10 singles including three #1's and is the only Australian artist to have achieved 10 consecutive top 10 singles.[25][26]"What About Me" was the highest selling single in Australia in 2004 and he received ARIA nominations for highest seller for it and his debut album at the 2004 Aria Awards.[27][28] He also received nominations for best pop release for his second album Lift and a highest selling single nomination for its lead single "Shine" in 2006.[29] "Don't Give Up" a duet with Natalie Bassingthwaighte was nominated for highest selling single at the 2007 ARIA Awards.[30] He has a total of 17 platinum and 2 gold accreditations for albums and singles.[17] Noll's first single "What About Me" also reached #2 in Ireland and #10 in New Zealand, with his debut album peaking at #31 in NZ.[26][31]

Paulini who came fourth has released two albums as a solo artist, One Determined Heart which reached #1 and gained platinum accreditation, and Superwoman which peaked at #77. She has also released four top 50 singles including the #1 "Angel Eyes", a platinum seller which was nominated for highest selling single at the 2004 ARIA Awards. In 2007, Paulini was nominated for "Urban Music Awards" for "Best R&B Album" & "Best Female Artist" for Superwoman. Paulini was also a member of The Young Divas, who released two Top 10 albums and four Top 50 singles.

The other top 5 contestants in season one were Cosima De Vito who came 3rd, & Rob Mills who finished in 5th place. After Idol it was these five, the Final 5, who were the most successful out of the Top 12. Other Idol contestants from Season 1 to release music were Levi Kereama, Rebekah LaVauney, Peter Ryan and Courtney Act. All of these independent acts achieved limited success.

Date Bottom Three
22 September
Matthew Chadwick
Peter Ryan
Kelly Cavuoto
29 September
Cle Wootton
Lauren Buckley
Kelly Cavuoto
6 October
Kelly Cavuoto
Rebekah LaVauney
Levi Kereama
13 October
Levi Kereama
Paulini Curuenavuli
Shannon Noll
Bottom Two
20 October
Rob Mills
Cosima DeVito
27 October
Paulini Curuenavuli
Guy Sebastian
3 November
Cosima DeVito
19 November
Shannon Noll
Guy Sebastian

Season 2

As well as the five larger cities, the judges also visited Canberra, Hobart, Darwin and Tamworth this year. Of the twelve finalists, three were from Sydney, two were from Melbourne, and one each from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Hobart, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Bega.

The winner was Casey Donovan. The runners up (in descending order) were Anthony Callea, Courtney Murphy , Hayley Jensen & Chanel Cole. The final two, as well as Ricki-Lee Coulter (7th), were the only contestants from the Top 12 to be signed to a record company. Callea was the highest seller of the three, with his first release "The Prayer" spending five consecutive weeks at No 1 and sending the record-books reeling. Chanel Cole and Daniel Belle teamed up under the name Spook to release an album in October 2005; a bootleg album for Chanel was also released in November 2005. Top 30 contestants Ngaiire Joseph and Marty Worrall each released a single in late 2005, and Hayley Jensen an album in September 2007. Daniel O'Connor, another of the Top 12, gained a role on Neighbours.

The Grand finale of this series remains the highest rated show out of all broadcast over the five seasons.

On a darker note, Telstra, a major sponsor of the series, made an embarrassing error when they issued a series of half-page advertisements in major newspapers congratulating Donovan on her victory, with a reference to her website. However, the address was incorrect, leading to a website about gay porn star Casey Donovan, rather than the singer's. The company issued a prompt apology upon realising their mistake.[32]

After this season, judge Ian Dickson left the series, later to appear in the Seven Network reality TV shows My Restaurant Rules, Dancing with the Stars and most recently, Australian Celebrity Survivor. The 2004 season was also notable for an Asian contestant named "Flynn", who sang the Freestylers song "Push Up" after being found from a terrible audition, in the same vein as William Hung.

Date Theme Bottom Three
6 September Australian Made Angeline Narayan Emelia Rusciano Amali Ward
13 September Pop Dan O'Connor Hayley Jensen Marty Worrall
20 September 1960s Amali Ward (2) Hayley Jensen (2) Marty Worrall (2)
27 September Disco Emelia Rusciano (2) Marty Worrall (3) Casey Donovan
4 October Contestant's Choice Daniel Belle Chanel Cole Hayley Jensen (3)
11 October The Beatles Ricki-Lee Coulter Chanel Cole (2) Marty Worrall (4)
18 October 1980s Marty Worrall (5) Casey Donovan (2) Hayley Jensen (4)
25 October R&B Chanel Cole (3) Courtney Murphy
1 November Big Band Hayley Jensen (5) Casey Donovan (3)
8 November 1970s Courtney Murphy (2)
21 November Finale Anthony Callea Casey Donovan (3)

Season 3

For the first time in 'Australian Idol' history there were 13 finalists. This came about during the Wildcard Verdict show on 5 September 2005. The judges initially chose James Kannis and Emily Williams to go through to the final. This left one spot which was chosen by the Australian public. Out of the remaining contestants the two that received the highest votes were Daniel Spillane and Roxane Lebrasse. With only 1% between them, Dan was announced as the final member of the Top 12. This meant Roxane had missed out yet again. The judges decided however that Roxane was too good to be left out of the Top 12 so they made it a Top 13. The catch was that two contestants were eliminated in the first round of the finals.

On 21 November 2005, the winner was announced and it was Kate DeAraugo. Kate was an outside chance to win throughout the whole season and after the show had ended Kate released a #1 single, a platinum selling album and a further Top 10 hit single through Sony BMG. Kate is currently working with all girl group Young Divas which is madeup of past Idol contestants which include Paulini Curuenavuli, Jessica Mauboy and Emily Williams. Runner up Emily Williams lost by 1% in the closest percentage ever in an Idol finale. She was originally signed to Sony BMG as a solo artist, but the agreement fell through. She is also a member of Young Divas and has had much success with them.

Lee Harding finished in third position and was signed to Sony BMG and released a # 1 single and a platinum selling album. His second single from his debut album proved to be less successful and in mid 2006 Harding was released from his contract with the label. He is currently touring and performing with Bedrock.

Dan England came 4th and didn't score a recording contract with a major label but recorded several independent releases and has toured with Season 2 winner Casey Donovan and Season 1 Runner Up Shannon Noll.

Anne Robertson who finished in sixth position was negotiating a deal with Sony BMG, but it was rumoured that Sony BMG was reluctant in signing her as they believed she was too similar to Season 1 contestant Paulini Curuenavuli who had been signed to the label for several years. Other Idol contestants from Season 3 have released numerous independent material and have toured and performed with several bands and music groups.

Although averaging around the 1.5 million viewer mark, ratings were down by up to 40% on average during the third season compared to the first two seasons, which regularly drew more than 2.5 million viewers during the latter half of the competition. This created a serious situation for Ten, which was airing three Australian Idol shows every week at the time, and forced them to give away free commercial airtime to program sponsors expecting higher ratings. Commentators has theorised over the reasons why this has occurred, ranging from the viewing public being tired of the format due to Sandilands replacing the popular Dickson. This caused a major Idol revamp for Season 4 which meant Season 4 being one of the highest rating seasons yet.

Date Theme Bottom Three
12 September Australian Artists Tarni Stephens Chris Luder Milly Edwards
19 September 1960s Natalie Zahra Laura Gissara James Kannis
26 September Rock Supergroups Laura Gissara (2) James Kannis (2) Daniel Spillane
3 October Contestant's Choice Roxane LeBrasse Milly Edwards (2) Daniel Spillane (2)
10 October Big Band Milly Edwards (3) Dan England James Kannis (3)
17 October 1980's James Kannis (4) Emily Williams Daniel Spillane (3)
24 October Motown Anne Robertson Daniel Spillane (4) Dan England (2)
31 October 1970's Daniel Spillane (5) Lee Harding
7 November Elvis Presley Dan England (3) Lee Harding (2)
14 November Number Ones Lee Harding (3)
21 November Finale Emily Williams (1) Kate DeAraugo

Season 4

Changes for the fourth season of Australian Idol included the cancellation of "Inside Idol"; a "streamlined" semi-finals (replaced with a variant of the 12 females, 12 males format popularized by American Idol); and the contestants will be able to bring instruments with them on stage for at least one of the final shows. Also, the fourth season's television promos promised a change in the viewer's role in the show, revealed to be an SMS service called 199-JUDGE which allows viewers to SMS their opinions on the judges' reactions.

Damien Leith was named the winner of Australian Idol 2006 on 26 November, beating Jessica Mauboy for the title. Leith is the third most successful selling Australian Idol contestant with 385,000 units, behind Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll. He has achieved two #1 selling albums, The Winner's Journey which sold 4x Platinum and Where We Land which gained Platinum certification. His third studio album Catch the Wind: Songs of a Generation peaked at #2, reaching gold status. His first single, Night of My Life stayed at #1 for four consecutive weeks and was certified Platinum after one week of sales. It was the fastest selling debut single for 2006, and was the most added song to radio. Leith won 4 ARIA #1 Chart Awards and the 2007 ARIA Award for Highest Selling Album. He has also released a novel titled One More Time and hosted Network Ten's heart-warming television series "Saving Kids". His most recent album Remember June released on 9 October 2009 debuted at #25 on the ARIA Charts. Third place getter Dean Geyer later released his debut album Rush and top ten single "If You Don't Mean It" and currently stars on the Australian long-time running soap Neighbours. Jessica Mauboy went on to join ex-Idol girl group Young Divas, after member from season 2, Ricki-Lee Coulter, left the group. Jessica Mauboy has since gained much success as a solo artist. Her album Been Waiting has peaked at #11, spent 50 weeks on the charts to date and achieved Platinum status since its debut on the ARIA Albums Chart. Mauboy has also continues to enjoy success with her singles "Running Back" which was certified 2x Platinum, second single "Burn" reached #1 and achieved Platinum status, third single "Been Waiting" achieved Gold peaking at #12, fourth single "Because" peaking at #9 and achieving Gold status, and latest single "Up/Down" peaking at #11, achieving Gold status and still charting.

Date Theme Bottom Three
11 September Contestant's Choice Joseph Gatehau Lavina Williams Reigan Derry
18 September Rock Reigan Derry (2) Ricky Muscat Guy Mutton
25 September Number Ones Klancie Keough Dean Geyer Lavina Williams (2)
2 October Birth Year Guy Mutton (2) Lisa Mitchell Jessica Mauboy
9 October Disco Lavina Williams (3) Chris Murphy Ricky Muscat (2)
16 October Acoustic Bobby Flynn Lisa Mitchell (2) Ricky Muscat (3)
23 October Rock Swings Lisa Mitchell (3) Dean Geyer (2) Ricky Muscat (4)
30 October ARIA Hall of Fame Ricky Muscat (5) Dean Geyer (3)
6 November Audience Choice Chris Murphy (2) Dean Geyer (4)
13 November Judge's Choice Dean Geyer (5)
26 November Finale* Jessica Mauboy (1) Damien Leith

Season 5

Ian "Dicko" Dickson rejoined the show as one of the judges, along with Mark Holden, Marcia Hines and Kyle Sandilands from 2006. The series was again hosted by Andrew G and James Mathison. The show continued with the format from Season 4 where contestants could use instruments throughout the show and for their audition they could perform original material rather than covering other artist's work.

Natalie Gauci went on to win the series, beating Matt Corby for the title. Natalie released her debut platinum selling album "The Winner's Journey". After the winner's single "Here I Am" debuted at #2 on the ARIA Charts, and the album debuted at #11, Natalie has plans to release a new album later in 2009.

Carl Riseley, who finished third in the contest went on to release a swing-style album titled "The Rise", debuting at #5 on the ARIA Charts.Carl Riseley's 2nd cd "the stillest hour" was released 24 April 2009 and peaked at NO#1 on the ARIA jazz chart. Runner-up Matt Corby however, is yet to sign a deal with record company SonyBMG, but has "had talks" about his future with the company. Natalie Gauci next album release is June 2009.

Date Theme Bottom Three
9 September Contestant's Choice Holly Weinert Lana Krost Brianna Carpenter
16 September Rock Brianna Carpenter (2) Marty Simpson Jacob Butler
23 September Disco Lana Krost (2) Tarisai Vushe Daniel Mifsud
30 September Acoustic Mark Da Costa Jacob Butler (2) Daniel Mifsud (2)
7 October Brit Pop Jacob Butler (3) Carl Riseley Daniel Mifsud (3)
14 October Birth Year Ben McKenzie Matt Corby Marty Simpson (2)
21 October Judge's Choice/Contestant's Choice Daniel Mifsud (4) Tarisai Vushe (2) Marty Simpson (3)
28 October Australian Made Tarisai Vushe (3) Natalie Gauci
4 November Big Band Marty Simpson (4) Carl Riseley (2)
11 November Audience Choice/Contestant's Choice Carl Riseley (3)
25 November Finale Matt Corby (1) Natalie Gauci (1)

Season 6

Changes to the Australian Idol format for season 6 include judge Mark Holden[33] leaving the show and temporary absence of host Andrew Günsberg, and auditions held for the first time in the United Kingdom.[34] This was also the first season where the Top 4 contestants were all male, and the second time with two male grand finalists, after Season 1 Finale with Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll. On 23 November, Wes Carr was announced as Australian Idol for 2008, beating Luke Dickens.

Date Theme Bottom Three
14 September Idols' Idols Jonny Taylor Teale Jakubenko Sophie Paterson
21 September '80s Music Brooke Addamo Sophie Paterson (2) Thanh Bui
28 September Aussie Hits Tom Williams Teale Jakubenko (2) Madam Parker
5 October ABBA Madam Parker (2) Chrislyn Hamilton Roshani Priddis
12 October Rock Thanh Bui (2) Teale Jakubenko (3) Sophie Paterson (3)
19 October Motown Sophie Paterson (4) Mark Spano Teale Jakubenko (4)
26 October The Rolling Stones Roshani Priddis (2) Luke Dickens Teale Jakubenko (5)
2 November Michael Jackson Chrislyn Hamilton (2) Mark Spano (2)
9 November American Hits Teale Jakubenko (6) Wes Carr
16 November Contestants Choice Mark Spano (3)
23 November Finale Luke Dickens (1) Wes Carr (1)

Season 7

On 10 November 2008, it was announced that a seventh season of Australian Idol will be produced and aired in late 2009.[35]

James Mathison announced on 31 March 2009 that he was leaving the show after six seasons. Andrew G continued hosting along with Ricki-Lee Coulter who was once again co-host.

On 1 June 2009, musical director John Foreman announced that he was also leaving the show after six seasons. Foreman's right-hand man, David Pritchard-Blunt, was announced as his replacement.[36]

On 3 August, Kyle Sandilands was let go as a judge on Australian Idol, while the future of his radio job remained uncertain after an on-air stunt went wrong. "Australian Idol is very much a family program and its appeal is very much right across the board, and we'd like to think that all families can enjoy the program in front of the TV," Idol Executive David Mott stated on the daily news.

It was announced on 3 August 2009, via a press statement from Network Ten, that Sandilands had been sacked from Australian Idol due to this incident. He was replaced by Jay Dee Springbett, a Sony music executive.

A Network Ten spokesman said of Sandilands' firing:

"Idol has remained a family-focused show, even more so this year with the 6.30 pm Sunday timeslot. His radio persona has taken on a more controversial position . . . which is not in the interest of the show."[37]

Of being fired from Australia Idol, Sandilands said in a statement that "I'm disappointed at Channel Ten's decision to remove me from Australian Idol. I have truly loved being a part of the show." Network Ten had held crisis talks with advertisers in the days prior to his firing amid concerns Sandilands would damage their brands. Idol creator Simon Fuller reportedly gave Ten his blessing to fire Sandilands. It was believed Sandilands earned $1 million of his estimated annual $2.8 million income from Idol.[37]

The promotional commercial for the season featured various "Legends". It featured impersonations of Elvis, Madonna, Michael Jackson, the Supremes, Christina Aguilera, and Mariah Carey among others. The Australian Idol hopefuls were featured covering Mariah Carey's "Emotions" as the soundtrack to this commercial.[38]

The 7th season began on 9 August at 6.30 pm. This was the first year that previously rejected contestants could return to audition again. The only ineligible contestants were those who previously made the Top 12/13. Semi-finalists (Top 24/30) had the opportunity to re-audition for the show.

Season 7 was also broadcast in New Zealand, five days after the initial airing in Australia.[39] This marked the return of the show to New Zealand screens after a 4 year absence.

Date Theme Bottom Three
6 September Rock Ashleigh Toole Casey Barnes Tim Johnston
13 September Top 10 Hits Casey Barnes (2) Sabrina Batshon Kim Cooper
20 September 80's Sabrina Batshon (2) Kim Cooper (2) Nathan Brake
27 September Pink Tim Johnston (2) Scott Newnham James Johnston
4 October Big Band Scott Newnham (2) James Johnston (2) Nathan Brake (2)
11 October Movie/Theatre Kim Cooper (3) Hayley Warner Kate Cook
18 October Contestant's Choice Kate Cook (2) Stan Walker James Johnston (3)
25 October Noughties Week Toby Moulton* James Johnston (4) Nathan Brake (3)
1 November Power Anthems Nathan Brake (4) Hayley Warner (2)
15 November Contestant's Choice & Winner's Single James Johnston (5)
22 November Finale Hayley Warner (3) Stan Walker (1)

* Toby Moulton withdrew hence keeping original eliminee James Johnston in the competition.


Loss of major advertisers

It is unsure as to the future of Australian Idol, because two of its top sponsors (Telstra, and Procter & Gamble) have dropped, amid fears it cannot rebound the decrease of 19% in ratings from last year, which has resulted in a decrease of $482 million off Ten's market value,[40] considering Channel Ten refused to air American Idol.[41]

Lack of ongoing Recording Industry support

Australian Idol and its performers are often criticized by the Australian media and entertainers .[42]

Some winners and runners-up from the show have failed to maintain popularity past the airing of their respective series of the show. Critics have also lamented the associated record companies claiming high record sales but instead measuring the number of copies shipped to music stores in sale or return.[43] This trend is more noticeable with the female winners, as Casey Donovan, Kate DeAraugo and Natalie Gauci only enjoyed mild and short-lived successes. Male winners such as Wes Carr and Damien Leith did also have a short-lived success.

Other idol graduates such as Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll, Dean Geyer, Anthony Callea, Paulini, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Jessica Mauboy on the other hand, have established themselves in the Australian music market and continue to enjoy success. Another noticeable fact is that some female contestants who were favourites with the audiences during their respective seasons but did not win such as Jessica Mauboy and Ricki-Lee Coulter have gone on to have more commercial and long term success than all three of the female winners, none of whom were actually favourites to win their respective seasons.

The criticism of idol sales fails to take into account the fact that while accreditations are based on distribution, the ARIA weekly and end of year charts and also sales nominations at the Annual ARIA Awards are based on actual real sales and do not use distribution in their calculations to determine position. There are some Idol contestants who have achieved strong sales for their first releases, with a few having sustained success over a number of years going on chart performance,[44][45] position on the ARIA end of year charts[46] and also sales nominations at the Annual ARIA Awards.[47]

Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll received highest selling nominations both for singles and albums at the 2004 ARIA Awards, with Sebastian winning the highest selling singles category.[48] Paulini was also nominated for an ARIA Award for "Highest Selling Single" for the single Angel Eyes in 2004.[49] Sebastian also received nominations for highest selling album in 2005 and 2008,[48] with Noll nominated in the singles category in 2006[50] and 2007.[51] Casey Donovon and Anthony Callea were nominated in both single and album categories in 2005 with Anthony Callea winning the ARIA for highest selling single.[52] Damien Leith was nominated for highest selling single and album in 2007, winning the album category.[51]

Several other contestants have received nominations for singles in various years. In more recent history Sebastian and Mauboy both achieved #1 singles in 2009, with Sebastian reaching triple platinum accreditation for his single "Like It Like That".[13][53][54] "Like It Like That" was the highest selling Australian artist single and 6th highest seller overall in Australia in 2009[55] Jessica Mauboy has received ARIA nominations for highest selling album Been Waiting and has songs "Running Back" and "Burn" in the highest selling singles category for this year and also four nominations in industry voted categories.[56] "Running Back" won the ARIA for highest selling single.

Hillsong sponsorship claims

In October 2007, criticism was leveled at the fairness of the program's telephone voting system, where 50% of the remaining contestants were stated by the media to be members of the Hillsong Church. The 50% of remaining contestants dispute was put to rest- when Daniel and Ben both said they did not have any affiliations with the Assemblies of God.,[57][58] and raising concerns of vote-stacking by the church congregation. Since the members associated with the Assemblies of God were voted week by week, some media analysts also claim discrimination against those who admit being Christian, noting it being out of line with the "family-friendly" product placement.[59]

Revenue generation

In November, reporter Neil Wooldridge stated that although the producers are coy about how much was being made from SMS promotions that "some commentators estimate Telstra and Network Ten, partners in the 'Australian Idol' program, made up to $900,000 profit each episode."

In 2003, it is estimated that viewers cast 20 million votes for their favourite Australian Idol contestant. At 55 cents for each telephone call or text message, that equates to $11 million even before advertising revenue. In Season 2, it is estimated that 29 million votes were cast making $16 million. Season 3 saw a slight drop with 18 million votes cast making $10 million. In Season 4, 26 million were cast making $14.3 million and in Season 5, 22 million were cast making $12.2 million. Network Ten pay around $13 million for each season.[60]


After her performance, judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson told Paulini Curuenavuli that in order to wear the dress she had chosen she would need to "shed some pounds". This caused outrage and heated debate. Later, Paulini participated in a weight loss program involving other famous Australians. The TV show 20 to 1 named the controversy in an episode of its show titled "Scandals and Controversies".

Judge Kyle Sandilands in 2009 was axed from the show due to his radio programme's scandal involving a 14-year-old girl. He was fired from the Australian Idol show and was replaced by JayDee Springbett.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Guy Sebastian". Australian Charts. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  2. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2003 Albums". ARIA. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Quinn, Karl (21 November 2004). "Everyone's A Winner". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Daily Telegraph Delta Goodrem's talents top the charts 7 January 2010 – retrieved 7 January 2010
  5. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2004 Albums". ARIA. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2006". ARIA. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  7. ^ ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Albums Retrieved 8 June 2010
  8. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums". ARIA. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  9. ^ ARIA Chartifacts 27-December-2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  10. ^ ARIA Charts Top 100 Singles 2003 Retrieved 13 October 2009
  11. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association Accreditation – 2003 singles Retrieved 13 October 2009
  12. ^ a b ARIA Awards. History by artist. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 13 May 2010
  13. ^ a b ARIA 2010 Singles Accreditations Retrieved 4 May 2010
  14. ^ ARIA Charts Top 50 Australian Artist Singles 2009. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  15. ^ ARIA Charts Top 50 Australian Artist Singles 2010. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 5 February 2011
  16. ^ a b Top 20 Australian Singles Chart Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 1 May 2011-05-01
  17. ^ a b Accreditations – albums and singles Retrieved 13 October 2009
  18. ^ Artist Information: Guy Sebastian Retrieved 15 October 2009
  19. ^ Guy Sebastian in the NZ Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  20. ^ 2010 ARIA Nominations Take40 Australia (mcm entertainment). 28 September 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  21. ^ ARIA Award nominees announced for 2011. The Vine. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011
  22. ^ Shannon Noll Albums in Australian Charts Retrieved 13 October 2009
  23. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association Accreditations – 2006 Albums Retrieved 13 October 2009
  24. ^ ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2007 Albums Retrieved 13 October 2009
  25. ^ Shannon Noll Singles in Australian Charts Retrieved 13 October 2009
  26. ^ a b Biography Retrieved 13 October 2009
  27. ^ 2004:18th Annual ARIA Awards Event highlights Retrieved 28 August 2009
  28. ^ ARIA Charts Top 100 Singles 2004 Retrieved 13 October 2009
  29. ^ 2006:20th Annual ARIA Awards Event highlights 13 October 2009
  30. ^ 2007:21st Annual ARIA Awards Event highlights Retrieved 13 October 2009
  31. ^ Shannon Noll in the New Zealand Charts Retrieved 13 October 2009
  32. ^ "Porn apology over Idol win". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 November 2004. 
  33. ^ "Mark Holden Quits Idol". Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  34. ^ "Australian Idol's LA auditions canned already". AAP. 10 April 2008.,26278,23515605-10388,00.html. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  35. ^ Looking for the magic touch TV Tonight 10 November 2008
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b Darren Devlyn with Geraldine Mitchell and Colin Vickery (4 August 2009). "Kyle Sandilands dumped as judge on Australian Idol". The Herald Sun.,21985,25877881-2902,00.html. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Steffens, Miriam (14 July 2008). "Ten left with Idol and an empty house". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  41. ^
  42. ^ Bernard Zuel (6 September 2007). "Will Idol winners ever get any respect?". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2007. 
  43. ^ c.f. Zuel
  44. ^ ARIA Weekly charts archives – singles Retrieved 12 October 2009
  45. ^ ARIA Weekly charts archives – Albums Retrieved 12 October 2009
  46. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association End Of Year Charts Retrieved 12 October 2009
  47. ^ ARIA Awards History by year Retrieved 12 October 2009
  48. ^ a b ARIA Awards, History by Artist – Guy Sebastian Retrieved 18 May 2010
  49. ^ ARIA Awards. History – Paulini Retrieved 18 May 2010
  50. ^ ARIA Awards 2006 Nominations Retrieved 12 October 2009
  51. ^ a b ARIA Awards 2007 Nominations Retrieved 12 October 2009
  52. ^ ARIA Awards 2005 Nominations Retrieved 12 October 2009
  53. ^ Jessica Mauboy Burn Weekly chart position Retrieved 12 October 2009
  54. ^ Guy Sebastian Like It Like That Weekly chart position Retrieved 12 October 2009
  55. ^ Brisbane ARIA end of year charts 3 January 2010 – Retrieved 3 January 2009
  56. ^ ARIA Awards 2009 Nominations Retrieved 12 October 2009
  57. ^ Jane Nethercote. "Australian Idol: Where are the singing Buddhists?". Private Media Pty Ltd, Publishers of Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  58. ^ Garth Montgomery (10 October 2007). "Idol fans angry at vote bloc". News Limited..,23663,22558938-10229,00.html. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  59. ^ "Channel Ten Goes On Australian Idol 2008 Cover-Up Spree". Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  60. ^ "SMS Phenomenon". Retrieved 17 November 2007. 

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