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  • Writer's pictureLaura Smith

The Australian Idol connections to Eurovision

Since its beginning back in 2003, Australian Idol has created the careers of many talented performers.

Many of these artists have gone on to compete at Eurovision or Australia Decides.

Ahead of the 2024 Australian Idol grand final, we are looking at the connections between the two contests.

Our first competing artist - Guy Sebastian

Guy Sebastian won the first season of 'Australian Idol' in 2003. It was the beginning of an illustrious music career in Australia, with 10 multi-platinum certified singles, 10 top 10 albums, and 34 ARIA Award nominations.

Twelve years after his 'Australian Idol' win, he became the first artist to represent Australia at Eurovision. He finished in fifth place at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.

One year after winning 'Australian Idol', Guy Sebastian competed in 'World Idol', where winners of 'Idol' franchises from around the world competed for victory.

Competing against other famous Idol winners such as Kelly Clarkson and Will Young, Guy came seventh in the show, which was won by 'Norwegian Idol' winner Kurt Nilsen.

In his season of 'Norwegian Idol', Kurt beat runner-up Gaute Ornasen to win the show. Gaute Ornasen went on to become one-half of Subwoolfer, who represented Norway at Eurovision in 2022.

Jessica Mauboy - the Aussie who made Eurovision history

In 2006, Jessica Mauboy auditioned for Australian Idol's fourth season at the tender age of 16. Although she finished that season as runner-up to Damien Leith, it was the start of a very successful music career.

Jessica Mauboy first graced the Eurovision stage in 2014 as part of the interval act, making Eurovision history by introducing Australia to the contest while performing the song 'Sea of Flags'. She then flew the flag for Australia in 2018 with her song 'We Got Love', which came 20th in the final that year.

Australia Decides connections

Australian Idol's legacy has continued to Australia's Eurovision selection show 'Australia Decides', with many competing artists having ties to the singing competition show.

Courtney Act, who competed in the very first Australia Decides, famously auditioned for Australian Idol's first edition in 2003 as Shane, then returned the following day as drag queen persona Courtney Act (who was eliminated just before the finals). Courtney Act's 2019 Australia Decides song was 'Fight For Love'.

Casey Donovan won the second season of Australian Idol back in 2004. She competed in Australia Decides 2020, absolutely belting out her song and winning the televote with her entry 'Proud'.

Paulini came fourth in the first season of Australian Idol (2003), and took part in Australia Decides 2022 with her song 'We Are One'.

Guest performers - Kate Miller-Heidke and Vanessa Amorosi

Australia's 2019 Eurovision artist Kate Miller-Heidke released a song titled 'Australian Idol' back in 2007, about a friend who advised her to go on the show. In 2024, the prophecy came true, as she performed as a guest on the ninth season of 'Australian Idol'.

Vanessa Amorosi, who competed in 2020's Australia Decides with 'Lessons of Love', also made a guest appearance on 'Australian Idol' in 2007. She performed 'Kiss Your Mama', the lead single from her third studio album 'Somewhere In The Real World'. 'Kiss Your Mama' peaked at number 15 on the ARIA charts that year.

Jury members

In 2016, 'Australian Idol' season 1 runner-up Shannon Noll joined former 'Australian Idol' host James Mathieson on Australia's Eurovision jury.

An ARIA charting hit with a Eurovision connection

'Rise Up' was a single released by the top 12 contestants from the first season of Australian Idol, including Guy Sebastian and Paulini.

'Rise Up' is actually a cover of a song by another Australia Decides artist, Vanessa Amorosi. Vanessa Amorosi released 'Rise Up' as a track on her 2001 compilation album 'Turn To Me'.

The Australian Idol top 12 version of 'Rise Up' peaked at number 1 on the ARIA charts in 2003.

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