Australian Idol‘s Live Shows kicked off tonight on Channel 7 and 7plus with breakout performances as the Top 12 rocked the stage hoping to win Australia’s vote as the next Idol.
Fifteen-year-old high school student Phoebe Stewart stunned the judges and live audience with her haunting performance of Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth feat. Emeli Sande. Judges Kyle Sandilands, Meghan Trainor, Amy Shark and Harry Connick Jr unanimously agreed to protect the teen’s place in the competition, granting her immunity in Monday night’s Live Verdict show.
Josh Hannan also proved himself a star-in-the-making with The Fray’s You Found Me. Harry described the Victorian’s performance as the perfect balance of poetry and accessibility, saying he did an “incredible job” and commending his song choice.
Song choice was a hot topic for the night. Maya Weiss’ performance of Cold Heart by Elton John and Dua Lipa came under fire from Kyle, who believed in her talent but doubted her song choice, saying: “You’re a great signer, but there was something shit about it!”
Anya Hynninen received similar feedback for her performance of Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach, with Meghan telling the Idol hopeful she had a “soulful” voice but didn’t get the chance to show it off.
University student Royston Sagigi-Baira was applauded for his take on Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror and held up by the judges as an example of how to make their mark on a song. Meghan said: “That’s how you take a song and make it your own. You should be so proud of yourself.”
While some artists hit the highs, the pressure of the hotly-contested competition started to show for others, with nerves undercutting their performance. Harry Hayden’s pitchy performance of How Will I Know by Whitney Houston left the judges flat, but they all sympathised with the performer about having an “off day” on the stage.