Cultural Learnings of Australian Idol For Make Benefit Glorious Readers Of My Blog

In accordance with my usual practice, I’ve kept my brain a wonderfully Idol-free zone so far this year. But last night I endured what must be the world’s longest five-second announcement for you, gentle readers. So now, in the interests of education, it’s my dubious pleasure to share the ten things I learned watching the Australian Idol final. And guess what? In an Idol first, both of the final two could both sing, and weren’t jerks. It truly was the best final ever. Despite the continuing involvement of Mark Holden.

James Mathison is the luckiest man on television. I can see why Andrew G, with his slick delivery and pretty-boy-poodle appearance, is on Idol. But how on earth did James get to make the transition from Channel V with him? I don’t particularly mind him or anything, but surely he’s never gotten a prepubescent girl’s heart throbbing in his life. I’m amazed they didn’t plump for a female Andrew G instead. The similarly badly-named Jackie O for example?

A huge number of people will attend the opening of an envelope. Because that’s all the Idol final is – and for about four hours.

Everyone in the Northern Territory has ready access to a crocodile. At least that’s what you’d think given Idol‘s cliched montage of local well-wishers. One baby croc was even named Jess in her honour. I’m sure that will lessen Jess’ disappointment enormously.

Tim Bailey is a nob. I know we all knew this already. But I learned last night that the true extent of his nobbiness has hitherto been shackled by the usual requirement that he talk vaguely about the weather. His enthusiastic, patronising crosses from Darwin were the night’s lowest of many low points. But he does get points for trying to bridge the divide between himself and the Territory’s Aboriginal community through extensive visits to the solarium.

In Idol-land, “very soon” means “in such a long time that you’ll be sticking forks into your eyebrows before we announce it”. As in, “Don’t go away, very soon we’ll be announcing who your Australian Idol is.” Really, the show had more filler than an Anthony Callea album.

Idol voters aren’t that superficial. For yet another year, singing prowess as opposed to superficial hotness won the day. Both Damian and Jess were average-looking, but incredibly good singers – at least within that cheesy Idol style of ultra-saccharinated R&B styling. Which is how it’s supposed to be. How can a show that’s so vacuous in so many respects keep delivering such surprisingly solid results? And yet again Idol has genuinely showcased Australia’s ethnic diversity. Which, unfortunately, still extends to an American judge.

Guy Sebastian’s still a much better singer than Shannon Noll.
Even four years later, the wisdom of the people was vindicated again. A rare victory for reality TV democracy. As opposed to, say, every single series of Big Brother.

Irish people like to drink. That much we can gather from Idol‘s stereotype-busting decision to house Damian’s contingent amid a tsunami of Guinness in the Gaelic Club. The peculiarly-named “Labrat” told us about 800 times that the crowd had been drinking all afternoon, leading to the presentation of a limerick specially written for Leith that was even more incoherent than Mark Holden.

Kyle Sandilands is soft. Not a single negative word to say at the final. (Of course, the judges are completely redundant on the big night anyway.) Kyle wasted a perfect opportunity to really get stuck into an adolescent girl’s weight in front of a nationlal audience of millions. Forget Jess’ “jelly belly” – Kyle’s got jelly where his backbone should be.

Irish migrants can find work outside of theme pubs. Those who’ve endured the ‘authentic’ Irish sticky floors at Scruffy Murphy’s, Bridie O’Reilly’s, Paddy Maguire’s or Stereotype O’Cliche’s will be astonished to read that an Irish person has found employment elsewhere, but Daniel Leith shows it can be done. If you can sing, and have a great deal of luck. As opposed to the much-vaunted “luck of the Irish”, that has gifted them largely potato famines and civil wars.

Dominic Knight

Photo: Edwina Pickles

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