Idol judges’ big twist  

Australia was in the driver’s seat tonight, with Idol viewers’ choice week determining the hits the Top 6 would perform as they fought for their place in next Sunday’s Grand Finale.

Queensland rocker Ben Sheehy, 24, was gifted (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. Idol judge Amy Shark praised Ben’s vocals but was disappointed with the arrangement, saying she wanted to hear less cover band and more creativity.   

Harry Connick Jr agreed with Amy but noted Ben looked the part and was comfortable in his “zone”. Previously critical about the commercial life span of the rock genre, judge Kyle Sandilands conceded Ben might be ”the guy that revived rock music”.

Phoebe Stewart, 15, performed Birdy’s People Help The People. Harry said her performance was “fantastic as always”, noting her evolution from a “wide-eyed little girl” to a confident performer with a mature sound. 

Amali Dimond, 16, took on Fly Away by Tones and I. Harry applauded Amali for using her artistry to change the arrangement and suggested she try something different with her next performance, something more “stripped back”.  

Judge Kyle Sandilands firmly disagreed with Harry, asking why an artist would change their signature style at this stage in the competition. Harry countered, arguing the musicality wouldn’t change, just the presentation. 

Australia voted for Josh Hannan, 20, to sing Olivia Rodrigo’s smash hit Drivers License. Harry said Australia had made a great song choice for Josh and it was a strong performance. Kyle agreed, saying he had a “real shot” at winning the competition. 

Anya Hynninen, 19, performed Flowers by Miley Cyrus. Amy complimented Anya on the growing strength of her voice but said she had expected a different arrangement. Harry agreed, saying he wanted to see more of her artistry, advice he said she could “take or leave”.

Frustrated by Harry’s comments, Kyle argued Anya was in a contest, and it wasn’t about “showing off”, saying people want to hear something they can sing along to and Anya should “sing to win”.

Judge Meghan Trainor acknowledged Anya had one of the hardest songs tonight, given its current high rotation on radio, adding “I feel like you got trapped”.

Last to perform for the night, Royston Sagigi-Baira, 23, wowed the judges by singing True Colours by Cyndi Lauper. “There’s a lot of love for you on this panel and show,” said Amy. “You’ve really come into your own on this show. That was fantastic.”

In the biggest twist of the night, the judges shocked the remaining six contestants by announcing they wouldn’t be saving an artist from the public vote: it was now Australia’s turn to decide.

Tomorrow night on Australian Idol: Voting is now open! Australia decides their three Idol Grand Finalists and ARIA Award-winning Idol judge Amy Shark performs High On You with Sam Fischer.


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