Finally, auditions are back to how they should be.
One person, one shot, a jury and a piano.
Australian idol he’s back, baby.
There are no spinning red chairs, no theater filled with screaming audiences, and no coach determined to “win.” It’s a cattle call of young up-and-comers who show up and sing a song they bond with. Sure, they were screened in advance by the producers and some perhaps were persuaded to wear something memorable or highlight a particular backstory. Only the best, or worst, are sent…all pawns sitting in the middle are usually denied the chance.
But IdolThe audition process is still the purest of all and reflects the way auditions are traditionally held in show business.
It’s usually not recognized that those who sit across the audition table, smiling through long days of life stories and karaoke, genuinely wish the next person who enters to be good. In IdolI think they want to hand out that golden ticket to the Top 50, but can the singer be up to the challenge, and how else are you going to let them down?
Over the next 14 years Australian idol was the last on Australian television a lot has changed: both in reality TV and in the music industry. It’s also enabling a new generation of kids, raised on YouTube, iTunes, TikTok, social media, cameras in their phones, to adapt quickly.
Idol you would have you believe that every second kid on the street can sound like Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, Charlie Puth… and on this show they can. The level of self-taught singers is at its highest and it’s strange.
Though for new judge Amy Shark, she’s constantly worried about how some of the very green kids are going to cope with what they’re embarking on.
“Stop trying to save the world,” insists returning judge Kyle Sandilands. It’s all about trying to find the radio act and marketable.
Harry Connick Jr., slipping into a kind of boss role, is big on the technicals and connects with the text, while newcomer Meghan Trainor is a breath of fresh air.
In this modified environment the panel clicks nicely, although I’m looking forward to seeing them more transparently at the start of live shows.
But wow! There is no shortage of young talent.
These guys can sing and some play guitar. Of the 4 episodes I’ve seen there are several potential winners.
And then there are the problems of tone, those who are unaware of their limitations, the overdressed, the bribers who bring gifts and other, more, more problems of tone.
In the old days the TV made fun of them mercilessly and – with our hand on our heart – we did it too from the sofa.
In 2023, we no longer tell someone they have “candy shop lady arms” (Australian idol 2005), or “wear more appropriate clothing or lose a few pounds” (Australian idol 2003), right?
So how does it work Idol now face those auditions that are clearly out of their depth?
Is there any initial wtf? she looks and giggles and oh the look on Amy Shark’s face as she tries not to react. But Harry Connick sums it up best with a polite: “Idol it’s not for you, it’s a No from me.
However Sandilands was singled out for his frankness and humour, and while he can be cruel to be kind, at other times he is a big fan of those who have laid their souls bare (though he often seeks other judges to validate his instincts ). I’d say he’s mellowed, he coos to the kids in the room and holds back tears at an audition. ….I’m afraid I’ll eat my words during the live shows.
Idol 23 whips across the country at a lightning pace. Five cities feature regularly in consecutive episodes (as opposed to one night, one city in series 10). There are also visits from individual judges to regional houses where you know the producers have secured a winning act and everyone acts surprised for the cameras. Um.
Through fleeting appearances -for now- by presenters Ricki-Lee Coulter and Scott Tweedie, we receive reminders of Idol nostalgia … here is the city where Guy Sebastian auditioned, Jess Mauboy was discovered in the NT, and gives way to a relative of Shannon Noll. Later Marcia Hines will be a guest judge and there are rumors of more.
Idol, Seven insists, is “the only show that creates real stars.” I’m not entirely sure where that goes The voice OR X Factornor whether it can be replicated in the music download era of 2023, but I can’t wait to find out.
It’s been a long wait. But it’s great to have it Idol Backwards.
Australian Idol is shown at 7.30pm Monday to Wednesday on Seven.