Australian Idol 2023: Judges drop bombshell as top 6 battle for Grand Final spot

On the Sunday night episode of Australian Idol, the audience could choose which songs the final Top Six would perform.

That meant Australia were in the driver’s seat as Ben, Amali, Phoebe, Royston, Josh and Anya flexed their hearts for a spot in next week’s Grand Final.

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But in a major twist, the judges shocked the nominees by announcing they would no longer save any artist from the public vote.

That means what happens to the six candidates is now entirely in the hands of the voting public.

Queensland rocker Ben Sheehy, 24, kicked off the show with the Rolling Stones hit (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

While praising his classic rock vocals, judge Amy Shark added that his arrangement of the song was disappointing.

However, Kyle Sandilands was impressed, saying Ben could be “the guy who revived rock music”.

Could Ben Sheehy be ‘the guy who revived rock music’? Credit: Twitter/Australian Idol

15-year-old Western Australian singer Phoebe Stewart’s nerves rose when she realized Australia had chosen Birdy’s lyrical song “People Help The People”.

“At that stage of the competition, everyone could go home,” she said.

“So I hope I will learn the words. Because I have to do this.

“My whole life has changed since I’ve been on the show and I have to make sure I keep raising the bar so I can make it to the grand finale.”

From the judges’ perspective, she had nothing to worry about despite finishing in the last four last week.

“I mean Australia so seriously. Please don’t do this to my heart and soul again. You can’t put that girl in the last four again,” said judge Meghan Trainor.

“Please pay attention and vote. And even if you’re thinking, “Oh, they’re going to be fine,” vote anyway, OK?


Phoebe Stewart wowed the jury. Credit: Twitter/Australian Idol

Sixteen-year-old Amali Dimond got Tones And I’s Fly Away to sing.

“I decided to change this song just because it’s not as powerful and awesome as I think it needs to be at this point in the competition,” she said before the performance.

“We’re a week away from the grand final so the pressure is on.

“This performance must not only be good, it must be exceptional.”

And so it was for the judges once again.

“When you get on stage it’s like you’re at a real concert and then it’s back to a TV show,” gushed Kyle Sandilands.

“That’s what it feels like to sit here. You are a star to me.”

Amali Dimond sings Tones and I’s Fly Away. Credit: Twitter/Australian Idol

Amy Shark agreed, saying that even at the age of 16, Amali appeared to have built-in star qualities.

“I get massive Taylor Swift vibes,” she said.

“I feel like you’ve just been here and you just know what you’re doing and it’s really fucking exciting.”

Josh Hannan was next, singing Olivia Rodrigo’s hit “Driver’s License”.

“Last week was probably my best performance,” the 20-year-old said after judges saved him from the public vote last week.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort and hard work to make sure I can raise the bar again.”

Josh Hannan on Australian Idol. Credit: delivered

After her performance, Meghan casually dropped the fact that the head of Sony Music was in the audience.

“I’m so glad that whatever happens, she’s going to see you all beaming tonight,” she said.

“Because there’s a good handful of you ready to go, and you, my friend, are one of them.

“Because you’re a superstar.”

Anya Hynninen, 19, got the gift of singing one of radio’s biggest hits of the time, Miley Cyrus’ Flowers.

Before her performance, Anya said she was “not just for me in this competition.”

“I’m here for every woman who has ever felt different, strange, or an outsider,” she said.

“I’m here to represent her.”

And while Anya Flowers sang beautifully, both Harry Connick Jr. and Amy Shark said they hoped she’d done something original with the arrangement.

Frustrated by Harry’s comments, Kyle said Anya was in a competition and it wasn’t about “showing off,” adding that people wanted to hear something to sing along to and Anya should “sing to win.” .

Anya Hynninen on Australian Idol/ Credit: delivered

The evening’s final singer was 23-year-old Royston Sagigi Baira, who performed Cyndi Lauper’s ’80s classic True Colors.

Royston was thrilled to learn which song Australia had chosen for him and said the lyrics held a special meaning for him.

“It makes me think I’m singing to my younger self,” he said.

“Because I used to struggle a lot with my sexuality and things like growing up. I remember when I was in eighth grade people bullied me.

“I always wish I could just go back and hug him and tell him, ‘You can be your beautiful, wonderful self.’

“There are many other young children who are going through the same thing as me.

“I want to show them that it’s okay, you can be yourself. You can show your true colors.”

The judges were emotional after Royston’s soulful performance.

Royston Sagigi Baira gives a hearty performance. Credit: delivered

“You’re beautifully spirited, you have an amazing voice,” Kyle said.

“I would be so thrilled if you could play your songs on the radio if you win this thing.”

“I love that Australia chose this song for you,” Meghan added.

“It’s such an iconic moment that I will cherish forever. I was so glad I was up here, like, ‘Oh my god, he’s singing to me’.”

Host Ricki-Lee agreed.

“It’s been so nice to see how as the show progresses you start to peel off the layers and reveal more of yourself each week,” she said.

“It seems like audiences are really starting to see your true colors too.

“Because they picked the perfect song for you.”

To vote, text the name of your favorite artist to 0457 500 700. Standard SMS rates apply. Voting closes March 20 at 7:35pm AEDT.

Australian Idol continues 7.30pm Monday on Channel 7 and 7plus.

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James Brien

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