Standing ovation signals rising star

Australian Idol tugged at the heartstrings tonight as the Top 8 saluted the heroes in their lives.

In a moving night of competition, the Top 8 paid tribute to the important people and places in their lives that have inspired them. 

Keeping it in the family, Amali Dimond,16, paid tribute to her dad, former professional NRL player Craig Dimond, with a killer rendition of Katy Perry’s Unconditionally. Judge Harry Connick Jrapplauded Amaili for her calculated song choice, encouraging the 16-year-old to “keep riding that wave”. Judges Amy Shark and Meghan Trainor both agreed Amali was “ready’ to hit a professional stage. 

Angelina Curtis,15, paid tribute to her hero and professional inspiration, Delta Goodrem, singing Born To Try. Meghan was floored by Angelina’s performance saying it was an improvement on last week. Harry also said it was a strong performance but warned Angelina not to be complacent about song choice, noting TV audiences love big choruses. 

Royston Sagigi-Baira, 23, performed Miley Cyrus’ The Climb, paying tribute to his Year 2 teacher, Miss Alex, who encouraged his musical talent from an early age. Amy was in awe of the performance, saying Royston had “arrived”. Harry commended Royston for nailing the emotional connection each week but advised the singer to find techniques to ease any nerves that could impact his performance. Harry’s honest critique drew “boos” from the audience. 

Noora H, 27, chose to celebrate her online community who she said had supported her from the first day of her singing career. Noora’s uncharacteristic pop song choice, Scared To Be Lonely by Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa, played to her favour, with Meghan saying Noora could “slay” any genre.

Paying tribute to her late grandfather who always wanted her to pursue music, Phoebe Stewart, 15, sang You Say by Lauren Daigle. The teen’s stellar performance had the judges on their feet with the first standing ovation for the night. “You are Adele,” said Meghan, likening Phoebe’s performance to the famous British singer-songwriter. Harry commended Phoebe for her musicality and unpredictable performances.

Rocker Ben Sheehy, 24, wowed the judges with Wolfmother’s Joker And The Thief, paying tribute to the music school that had been instrumental in helping him find his artistry. Amy said his performance was “sick!” while Harry said Ben was the most comfortable he had ever seen him on stage. 

Anya Hynninen, 19, celebrated her hometown of Selby by singing Feeling Good by Nina Simone. The performance divided the judges, with Harry accusing Anya of “stealing” another artist’s work, saying she should have made it more her own. Amy disagreed, saying she “loved” Anya’s performance.

In the last performance of the night, Josh performed Cold Play’s Fix You at the piano, a heartfelt tribute to his music teacher Tracey who is battling brain cancer. The judges were in awe, saying he was a superstar and sent the performer directly to the Top 6.   


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