Friday, August 29, 2008

The Idol "Hall of Fame" - Ten Great Performances.

Before you read this, a warning. These performances are not ranked, and I am sure uproar will ensue as to the inclusion or exclusion of certain performances - I haven't put Anthony Callea in, I just noticed. I know everyone won't like this list, but Idol is subjective, and when I hit Youtube to look up old Idol classics, these are a few of the ones I turn to most. Here are ten performances in no particular order - complete with corresponding videos - to keep that Idol fix at bay for a while.

1. Guy Sebastian - Climb Every Mountain
Idol's original king now has four albums in the bag; he almost blew the competition out of the water early on with his version of When Doves Cry, and then hit the pinnacle with - strangely - a number from Rodgers and Hammerstein. Holden went Touchdown and there was no way anyone was beating the man with the 'fro. The vid is worth watching solely to see Mark Holden's outfit, Marcia Hines' crazy whooping, and Dicko's ghastly hair.

2. Natalie Gauci - Man In The Mirror
Yeah, she's disappeared back into relative obscurity, but this performance, arguably, was the one that put her into the Idol-lover's consciousness. A slow, yet gloriously soulful portrayal of Jacko's smash, this was the first of Natalie's piano "interpretations", which included Rihanna's "Umbrella" and standing on the instrument itself for the Divinyls' "Boys In Town". Brilliant.

3. Chanel Cole - When I Get Low, I Get High
Chanel Cole is possibly my favourite contestant on Australian Idol, ever. Period. Why she was never offered any kind of record deal beyond her collaboration with fellow Idoler and sometime boyfriend Daniel Belle (Spook: The Dusk Sessions) is beyond me. Word is she's now working in Canberra as a receptionist. Ah, how sad. Nevertheless, I still rate this as probably the greatest Idol audition the Australian competition has ever seen: a divine voice with just the right amount of whimsy. Perfect.

4. Jessica Mauboy - Beautiful
The previous week she was labelled a Jelly Belly by the porkiest member of the judging panel, Kyle Sandilands, following a scorching performance of Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away". So what did she do? Sang Christina Aguileira, dang. It may have been cliched and almost too corny, but that was all forgotten when she hit some absolutely spine-chilling notes as the song reached its climax. A truly deserved touchdown.

5. Damien Leith - Crying
Dee-diddly-dee-potatoes! Damien Leith, who won Idol without Australian citizenship, melted the hearts of many a female with his swooning falsetto throughout season 4, despite his terrible teeth. "Crying" showcased Damien at his best - a soaring vocal, heartfelt performance and the first of two touchdowns in one evening, something never seen before, or since, on the show. Apparently even Roy Orbison's family were calling for a recording of the performance afterwards.

6. Bobby Flynn - The Boy Had Trouble
Known best perhaps for his eerie resemblance to Sideshow Bob, strange Bobby wooed the judges with this sensational acoustic performance of his original song. Marcia's jarring comment that it "was the best song I've ever heard" seems somewhat farfetched, but it's an undeniably understated, pretty melody backed by an almost flawless vocal here. Somehow, Bobby managed a touchdown on the Disco Week show; but was hit, as Ben McKenzie would be the following year, by the "Ricki-Lee 7th Place Curse". Ahh, such is life.

7. Paulini Curuenavuli (please tell me I spelt that correctly) - Freeway of Love
Paulini's a bit of a sad story as far as Idol's concerned. Undoubtedly the best vocalist in Season 1, but without the charisma of Guy, the ocker appeal of Shannon and the...the...something of Cosima, she finished fourth. After a successful first album and a devastatingly unsuccessful second, she joined the Young Divas. Big mistake. Now she's in limbo-land, having reportedly left the group. Despite its cheesiness, and Paulini's hideous costume, this was a stunning vocal performance, rightly rewarded with Holden's early version of the touchdown.

8. Emily Williams - I'm Every Woman
Season Three, as all Idol fans will tell you, was the worst of the lot. A genuine lack of ostensible talent; Kyle Sandilands' terrible hair - oh, woe betide me. Runner-up Emily Williams provided a few bright spots, however; whether you like vocal gymnastics or not, this was a powerhouse version of a big, big song. Unfortunately, the performance is unavailable on Youtube: hit instead to have a look. And do. It's worth it.

9. Casey Donovan - Beautiful
I still maintain that Casey Donovan is a great musician. I still do. No matter how much hate is dished out towards Idol's most corpulent victor, you only need to watch the video below to understand how much talent Casey Donovan possessed. Sadly, too much KFC and smoking lost Casey a record deal, but this performance, along with "Special Ones" and "Here's Where I Stand", rank among the all time greats of Australian Idol. I hope that wherever she is she's losing weight and making music, because she's got skills. Like, serious vocal skillzzz.

10. Matt Corby - The Blower's Daughter
Ahh, Matt Corby. The campest sixteen year old churchgoer in Australia. Unfortunately, Matt's constantly hideous wardrobe selections often masked his undeniable musical talent - he really was something of a prodigy. On Acoustic night he stripped himself back and wore a simple "flanno", and it worked. No Touchdown for Corby on this night, but he won a place in the hearts of more than just the screaming tweenyboppers. Fantastic stuff.


Diane said...

Looking forward to this year's Idol!

My fav would probably be the first series though as I thought the top 4 were excellent.

I am a huge Guy Sebastian fan so seeing Climb Every Mountain there brought back some wonderful memories.

Thank you Mr Melodicus!

chellekat said...

I enjoyed your top 10 because it was so different to other peoples usual top 10's. While Guy is always included (and as it should be - amazing moment), Chanel and Bobby are usually left out. In fact, I've seen some people leave Casey out too and I think the song choice for this one was really her shining moment. Chanel and Casey will always be very talented - I think both of them are misunderstood as they're marching to the beat of their own drum so to speak - but I hope Chanel returns to music and that Casey finds her way musically and personally. Jess, well she's obviously a huge star on the verge of her solo career and she has so many fantastic moments from Idol, as does Damien.

And of course... Natalie. Ahh I miss you Natalie... I just hope it's not too long before we hear your first single off the new album.