The wannabes and attention seekers are long gone, and Australian Idol now has a top 24. I haven’t written about this season yet, partly because the action has been so fast and furious, but now as we head towards the finals I figured I’d share my views.
There’s been some major changes this year, and so far so good. I thought it was great to tear through the auditions by screening them every night of the week. I think the top 100 night was less successful though. By cramming all that action into a single episode, rather than the usual two, we missed a lot of singing. Having said that, there were some really positive changes in the format like scrapping the group songs and bringing in a band and audience. And I love that we now know who makes up our top 24.
And it’s a really solid group of performers. They represent so many musical styles, but generally they seem to come from a really organic place. You won’t see any manufacturer pop princesses in this bunch. Many of my early favourites made the cut including Matthew Parsons, Roshani Priddis, Chrislyn Hamilton, James Spargo, and Wes Carr.
But there were a few questionable choices. I’m sure the teenage girls will flip over young Tom Williams, but his dodgy Top 100 performances tell me he’s not really ready for the comp. I’d have much rather seen his place go to Simon Phillips who wowed me in the auditions, only to be glimpsed during the Top 100 show. Such is the nature of this compressed format. He apparently didn’t crash and burn spectacularly like my other fave Casey Freeman, so his disappearance puzzles me.
Tomorrow night the semifinals start. This year we’re doing mixed groups, which makes so much more sense to me. Talent isn’t gender based, so I never understood why we needed an even mix. You can catch the semis over the next four nights and the wildcard round on Sunday.
After that we’ve got the newly revamped finals. The introduction of a “Sing for Your Life” round on Mondays should make for a much more interesting watch. Hopefully it’ll also ensure the good contestants don’t leave just because their fans thought they were safe. If only we had it last year, we might not have lost Ben McKenzie!
Click below for the Australian Idol Top 24, and the nights your favourites will sing!