2004 Newspaper Articles
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:57 PM
From The Eye
November 11, 2004 Herald Sun
Wild ride ... Casey and Anthony in Sydney's Luna Park yesterday.
TWO of the most talked about people in the country, Australian Idol grand finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea, have already recorded the same single.
The duo were in the studio on Monday with Courtney Murphy, before he left the show, to record the song, which will be unveiled on Sunday.
The winner of the competition will release the single.
Sanctuary Lakes' Anthony Callea said he initially had reservations about the mystery track.
"At the start when I first heard it, I was wondering if it was the right thing," he told The Eye.
"The guide we got had female vocals to it. Courtney and I were listening to it and wondering how we were going to do it.
"But when we went into the studio and laid it down in our key, I thought, this is good."
Callea is the hot favourite to win Idol, according to Centrebet.
Since the finals began, there have been rumours about Callea's sexuality, despite the fact he has repeatedly denied being gay.
Callea is getting sick of being asked the question.
"I don't let it get to me, I just laugh about it sometimes," he said. "That's the best thing to do, I'm over it.
"Everytime someone asks me the question, I'm like, are you going to ask me that again?
"It's getting really old.
"We have put ourselves into this position, and people are going to make up stories and you have to expect that. If you let it get to you, that's when it is bad."
On Sunday night, Donovan and Callea will sing three songs, including the new single.
Callea said that at first it was difficult living with the other Idol finalists, but the last few weeks had been great.
"You had to learn to be very tolerant at the start, it was quite hard," he said.
"Dealing with the competition and living with 11 people got to you a bit.
"But as the competition went on, we got closer and closer."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:58 PM
November 11, 2004 Daily Telegraph
GETTING this far in the Australian Idol competition has been a rollercoaster ride for Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea so Luna Park was a fitting place for the pair to go for a rare bit of R and R.
With just 11 days to go before Casey and Anthony climb the steps of the Opera House for the finale, there's little time in the schedule for anything but Idol business.
With the winner's single set to hit the airwaves the morning after the final vote is revealed, both have been in the studio to cover any outcome.
And this Saturday, while the 10 finalists live it up at the David Jones Elizabeth St store opening, Anthony and Casey will both be shooting a video for the single � only one of which will see the light of day.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:59 PM
Fri 12 Nov 2004
Meanwhile, a South Australia man has placed the biggest Australian Idol bet ever - $10,000 on Victoria performer Anthony Callea winning the show's second series. Anthony's No. 1 fan will make a profit of $2,200 if Centrebet's favourite beats New South Wales singer Casey Donovan in the Australian Idol final at the Sydney Opera House on November 21. The five-figure punt forced Centrebet to cut Anthony's odds to 1.20 (from 1.22) but the small cash continues to come for Casey Donovan, who is 4.00 after reopening at 4.50 on Tuesday.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:01 PM
Australian Idol's family far from idle
12nov04 Herald Sun
CALLEA fever has well and truly hit the western suburbs.
Australian Idol favourite Anthony Callea grew up in and around Werribee, where most of his extended family live.
Now living in nearby Sanctuary Lakes, the 21-year-old told the Herald Sun his family had been incredibly supportive. They flew to Sydney each week.
"I'm overwhelmed with all the support I'm getting from my family," Callea said.
"I was lucky enough to come down and see my family last Saturday, which I kept really quiet -- my dad, mum, brother, sister and grandparents.
"I just wanted to spend some time with them."
While home, Callea got a shock. "It was so weird -- there were billboards and posters of me on the Princes Highway. I'm just going, 'Wow, this is really exciting'."
If they are not in Sydney on Sunday nights, the Callea family and a few hundred friends, including four of his aunts, Maria Lobianco, Rosie Callea, Roberta Callea and Caterina Barberi, all meet at Werribee's Wyndham Cultural Centre.
They will be there on Sunday night, and members of the public are invited to watch Australian Idol on the big screen.
The Cultural Centre has special significance for Anthony Callea -- he worked at the adjoining restaurant, Raffael's, for more than a year while he established his singing career.
His family were very supportive of him pursuing a singing career while working various jobs and trying tertiary study.
"They have always been supportive, and never turned around and said get a real job," he said.
"When I was back in Melbourne I was teaching and doing gigs, and they said 'if you're happy with that, we're cool'."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:05 PM
Werribee's big chance always a star at home
November 13, 2004 The Age
Teacher Dominic Bufalino holds a 1999 photo of Anthony Callea and other students.
Photo: Andrew De La Rue
Anthony Callea has an army of supporters who want him to reach the top, writes Marc Moncrief.
Dominic Bufalino, a teacher of media studies at MacKillop Catholic Regional College in Werribee, often takes pictures of his students for yearbooks, bulletin boards and mementoes. In 1999, he photographed three students who were helping him with some after-school chores. He copied the photo and passed it on to two of the students, but the third knocked it back.
"I said to him back then - and he'll be able to vouch for this - back in '99 I said to him 'Anthony, when you're rich and famous it will be worth a bit. Are you sure you don't want it?' And he goes 'Nope, you can have it, sir,' " Mr Bufalino recollected.
In 2001, after spending a year at art school, Anthony Callea returned to MacKillop and noticed the photo in his teacher's pencil case. Mr Bufalino had kept faith that his student would make good one day, and had kept the relic for a time when the world would know the talent that the school was already enjoying.
In two Sundays, that student, now an accomplished 21-year-old performer, will take the stage at Sydney's Opera House to compete in the second Australian Idol final. At stake are his life-long aspirations; a singing career with a major label, international exposure, money, fame, and a chance to live from his gift.
Also at stake is a buzz - a feeling of accomplishment, of pride and of solidarity. His childhood streets, his old school campus and thousands who live in Melbourne's oft-maligned western suburbs have clutched at Callea's success as a rescue from the cultural tyranny of the city's elite (some would say elitist) cultural and artistic heritage.
At the Hoppers Crossing shopping centre, apprentice butcher John Madeira and cashier Imperia Zahra said they watch Australian Idol religiously.
"For the first time someone does something good for Werribee," Mr Madeira said.
"If I miss it, I tape it," Ms Zahra said. "I vote for him every day."
Hairdresser Natasha Camilleri said she and her husband had both been voting for Callea since the start of the Idol season. Her husband's employer, Benlor real estate, has sponsored posters and billboards, ostensibly cashing in on the area's value as a pool of talent. Butchers, hairdressers and real estate agents have all been swept up in the Callea mania.
Spying an opportunity, Mr Bufalino and his colleague, Callea's former music teacher Chris O'Malley, took advantage of a rumour on campus that Callea was due to return to his school for a performance on Tuesday.
"We didn't start it," Mr Bufalino said.
"But we didn't quash it," added Mr O'Malley.
The two would speak in tones that were certain to be heard by students, implying that one of them had been meant to pick Callea up - perhaps along with the other Idol finalist, Casey Donovan - to bring him back to campus. "Will they be performing?" the children would squeal.
"Oh, we can't say too much," was the teachers' reply.
"I don't think we had one kid absent today (Tuesday) at school, hoping and thinking and anticipating that he was going to be singing at our assembly," Mr Bufalino said.
Callea's sister, Christina, a year 8 student at MacKillop, came to school on Tuesday after spending a long weekend in Sydney, where on Monday night her brother survived the Idol semi-final verdict.
Her proximity to stardom has made her famous by association.
"It's all right, you get a lot of attention - people coming up to you, you've never spoken to them before," Christina said. "It's like 'what? Who are you?' "
She described the experience of watching her brother on the Idol stage as "nerve-racking", and said he was shocked by his success in the semi-final. "He couldn't believe it. He was shocked. He was still trying to sink it in before we left. I think we all were. We just couldn't believe this was happening, that his dream was coming true."
But Mr O'Malley is less surprised about the success of a student he remembers as head and shoulders above his peers, but more than willing to share his talent.
"He was an inspiration to the other kids," Mr O'Malley said. "He certainly made my job easier."
And despite being in Sydney, busy with the maelstrom that is the professional music industry, Callea continues to lift the game of other students. "When you have students that progress on . . . there's a sense of pride for the department, but also, an inspiration for the other kids to get there as well."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:09 PM
Nov 14 2004
Anthony will win: Dicko
Judgement - Dicko thinks Anthony has got what it takes to be the top Idol.
Idol judge Ian 'Dicko' Dickson is happy to reveal who he thinks will take out the top prize. "It will be an Anthony Courtney final and Anthony will win. He looks pretty strong and has not been anywhere near the bottom three," says Dicko.
While Dicko says Anthony has the look and the voice to be a star, he firmly believes that the popular Melbourne finalist needs to work on his sugar-coated personality.
"He needs to be more shagable," he says bluntly.
In the past, Dicko has upset several Idol contestants with comments about their weight. He has also ignited some heated arguments with fellow judge Marcia Hines.
Despite the feeling that there is no love lost between them, Dicko insists he and Marcia are pals.
"We're really good friends and I don't like arguing with her but those arguments are real. She pushed me a little too far and I erupted," he says.
"I'm a passionate man and it's a very emotional show. She cares and I care but we come at it from different angles and we're going to bump each other."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:10 PM
14 November 2004 Daily Telegraph
Casey Donovan is the underdog to win Australian Idol after a punter bet $10,000 on her rival Anthony Callea.
Centrebet was forced to cut Callea's odds from $1.22 to $1.20 after the monster wager.
The biggest bet on Casey is just $200, bringing the total pot for her to just $4000.
"History is not on her side," Gerard Daffy of Centrebet said.
"Girls just don't seem to win these shows so it would be a shock if she won.
"But she seems to have a lot of support in NSW."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:11 PM
14 November 2004
Sydney Confidential in the Daily Telegraph
Australian Idol finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea have made what will be the most important decision of the competition - what to sing on Sunday.
Anthony has gone for something old, something new, while Casey has looked to fellow songbirds for inspiration.
The 16-year-old student from Bass Hill will belt out Hello by Evanescence and Take Me As I Am by local chanteuse Vanessa Amorosi.
Her Melbourne rival has gone for Craig David's Walking Away and the '80s power ballad Glory of Love by Peter Cetera.
And then, of course, there's the mystery tune that the winner will release as their first single.
Both Idol hopefuls will perform the song, written by American hitmaker Diane Warren, which is being kept under wraps until Sunday night.
But Confidential expects to hear an inspirational ballad, with plenty of power notes, and a title along the lines of The Wings Of Love Lift Me Higher. Or words to that effect.
Both have recorded the single so that it can hit the airwaves the day after the final on Monday.
Callea has revealed he had doubts about the track when he first heard it.
"At the start when I first heard it, I was wondering if it was the right thing," he said.
"The guide we got had female vocals to it. But when we went into the studio and laid it down in our key, I thought, this is good."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:12 PM
By MATT CUNNINGHAM
14 Nov 2004 Herald Sun
MELBOURNE'S Australian Idol heart-throb Anthony Callea is fed up with rumours circulating about his private life and wants to let his singing do the talking.
Callea, 21, is tipped to become Australia's second Idol when he goes head to head with Sydney teenager Casey Donovan in the show's final at the Sydney Opera House next Sunday.
And while his singing has impressed the public and the show's judges, the pint-sized western suburbs boy says he is tired of all the talk about what he does away from the show.
"I'm so over it," he said. "Give me something new to talk about."
Callea has continually denied rumours that he is gay and has also denied he has found love in Sydney during the filming of Idol.
"I don't know where they've got that from," he said. "It certainly hasn't come out of my mouth."
Callea said the only serious relationship he had ever had ended almost two years ago, but he refused to name his former lover.
"I really don't want to say. I don't think that's necessary," he said.
But the man who fans have dubbed the Italian Stallion said he was determined not to let the rumours get to him.
"I said to myself at the start of this competition, 'as the competition goes on the media is going to get more intense and want to know more about you'," he said.
"They want to know everything about you and they want to write stuff in magazines and things are going to be said. So I said: 'I'm not going to let it get to me, I'm going to try and not read much of it at all', and I don't."
"I hardly read anything and I don't let it get to me. If I get caught up in that sort of stuff I think it's going to ruin me."
Fellow Idol finalist Casey Donovan has also been forced to put a stop to rumours linking her to Joel Turner, the popular beat box boy from the first series of Idol.
"I just sit back and laugh that people are that sad to make up c--p."
Callea's single status will come as welcome news to the hordes of female fans he has acquired since making Idol's final 12.
"He is definitely gonna win this Aussie Idol," one fan wrote on the show's website this week.
"He has the looks and an awesome voice. God, does anyone know if he's single?"
While the answer might be yes, Callea said he was not looking for a relationship at the moment.
Instead, he plans to concentrate on the Idol final, which he hopes will help launch his career.
"Winning this competition is one thing, but using the experience we've had, and the profile that both Casey and I have now, we want to turn this into a long-term career not just a short-term career," he said.
"It's pretty guaranteed that the first hit is going to be a smash hit and the first album's going to sell a bucket load. I don't just want to focus on that. I want to make sure that I can make this whole experience turn into a long-term career."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:15 PM
November 14, 2004 - 9:35PM The Age
Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea have sung their hearts out in a last bid attempt to win over the public and secure the Australian Idol crown.
Donovan, from Sydney, and Callea, from Melbourne, sang three songs each, including the Dianne Warren-penned tune Listen With Your Hearts which will be released as a single by the eventual Idol winner.
"For both of us, this is probably a dream come true," 21-year-old Callea said in his last performance before next week's grand final.
"It has been quite nerve wracking and I expect the week to get much worse."
It has been a long journey for Donovan, 16, and Callea, who auditioned among more than 50,000 hopefuls earlier this year, hoping to follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Guy Sebastian.
Perth singer Courtney Murphy's departure from the competition last week meant Donovan and Callea would be the male/female team to fight it out at the Sydney Opera House at next Sunday's final.
Donovan first auditioned with Kasey Chambers' song A Million Tears and has received much praise throughout the competition.
Her trademark black dreadlocked hair and grunge style has also won the high school student many fans.
Callea comes from a totally different background, having begun his journey to stardom at the age of five and going on the study at the famed Johnny Young talent school.
His polished style and Italian good looks earned him the nickname "plastic fantastic"."
I am just so rapt that we have got two very different performers," judge Ian "Dicko" Dickson said.
"It is a real clear choice for the public this year."
Betting agency Centrebet has young music teacher Callea as firm favourite to win.
But many are hoping Donovan secures enough votes to put her over the line.
Along with the Dianne Warren song, Donovan and Callea performed two other songs tonight.
Donovan belted out Vanessa Amorosi's Take Me As I Am and the Evanescence hit Hello, while Callea sang Craig David's Walking Away and Karate Kid theme song Listen to Your Heart.
The pair played a game of paper/rock/scissors to determine who would lead the charge and sing first at the Opera House.
Scissors beat paper and Donovan will take the lead.
Voting lines opened immediately after tonight's show and will remain open until 8.30pm (AEDT) next Sunday's program, to be aired live on the Ten network.
The winner will then be announced and will receive a recording contract with record label BMG Australia.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:17 PM
By Phillip Koch
14 Nov 2004 Herald Sun
IF Sydney schoolgirl Casey Donovan wins Australian Idol she plans to splash out on a waterfront apartment for her battling parents.
"I'd like to move my mum and stepdad into an apartment on the water," Donovan, 16, said. "It sure would beat looking out at our dirty pool."
Her arch rival, Anthony Callea, 21, is also keen to repay his parents for their support if he finds fame and fortune in the Network Ten television competition.
"I want to buy my dad a Porsche," said the Melbourne-based singer, who is the national favourite to win Australian Idol next Sunday.
On Friday the two potential Idols had a small taste of what it will be like when thousands of fans descend on Sydney Opera House for the grand final.
"It just gives you shivers up your spine," Callea said. "Whatever happens, it will be a night to remember."
He and Donovan were mobbed by schoolchildren on an excursion to see the Australian Ballet when they checked out the Opera House on Friday.
"It's a shock to the system," Donovan said, "and it's going to be even scarier on the night."
Jordana Dostalek, 13, almost fainted in excitement when she spotted "spunky" Callea outside the Opera House.
"Can I have a hug, please?" begged the high school student before she and her schoolmates started taking photos of him with their mobile phones.
"I love Anthony," she said. "He has the best voice and he is so good looking. Can you believe I just touched him?"
Lane Cove mother Kathy Segal may not have shrieked with excitement like the schoolgirls but she admitted to being just as big an Idol fan.
"I'm here to see the ballet with my (seven-year-old) daughter, Dana, but I think she's a lot more excited to see Anthony," Mrs Segal said.
"There is a war on in our house, with half the household voting for Anthony and the other half going for Casey."
While the nation gets to vote for their favourite Idol after tonight's performance, both finalists are confident they have a future in the music industry, no matter who wins.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:18 PM
REPORTER: Miranda Miller
BROADCAST DATE: November 15, 2004
Today Tonight - seven.com.au
Will Anthony be the next Australian Idol? He's the hot favourite to be this year's Australian Idol. Talk to anyone who's ever known Anthony Callea and they'll tell you - he was born to be a star.
One punter is so confident Anthony will out-vote his rival, 16-year-old Casey Donovan, they've put $10,000 on him with Centre Bet.
From the age of five Anthony learnt to sing and dance at the Johnny Young Talent School, where he honed his craft for eight years.
Johnny Young remembers Anthony as a boy with it all - good looks, talent, and stage-presence.
"He's just a natural performer - not even a show off," Mr Young said. "I think he just realised at a very young age that he had a special gift."
Thrust into the national spotlight Anthony's had to dodge questions about his sexuality ... and the judges have been critical of Anthony's Talent School grooming, accusing him of being too plastic.
But Mr Young disagrees.
"I don't think it's plastic at all," Mr Young said. "I think what he has is a confidence in his own ability."
As a teenager Anthony made his all-singing, all-dancing television debut on Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital appeal telecast.
At 19, he even had a crack at TV presenting, co-hosting Channel 31's music program "M-Zone" at 19.
M-Zone producer, Mary Sfameni, says the minute she saw Anthony she knew he had the X-factor.
"I think Anthony's always had star quality in him," Ms Sfameni said. "I think anyone who saw him thought yeah, this guy's gonna make it someday."
More recently, Anthony and his band, Say Yeah, have become popular weddings performers where a squeaky clean image and trademark ballads have them in high demand.
Anthony's primary school principal John Glaubitz says he always stood out from the crowd.
"He had a great voice," Mr Glaubitz said. "We knew he'd do something with the talent he had."
All over his home town of Werribee, on the outskirts of Melbourne's west, locals are proudly getting behind their most famous export.
Music guru Molly Meldrum says Anthony is the complete package.
"If I was looking at Anthony from my point of view, with my record label, I think he's very marketable," Mr Meldrum said.
"Obviously he's had great training and great background," Mr Meldrum said. "As far as wanting to be an artist, he's been given the chance now on Australian Idol to get national exposure and obviously the public love him so I think he's got a big future."
Even if he loses next Sunday night, Anthony is almost guaranteed a recording career from his exposure on Idol and for anyone who's ever had anything to do with this motivated young man pop success will come as no surprise.
"I think you could put him in front of world audience - if he wins Australian Idol and has to perform in front of the world, it won't matter to him whether there are a million people watching him or ten people watching him," Mr Young said. "He just loves performing, and that's the beautiful part."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:20 PM
15nov04 Herald Sun
MORE than 600 screaming fans packed Werribee's town hall last night to watch their favourite local give his final performance in the hit television show Australian Idol.
Anthony Callea, 21, received raucous cheers and applause as he took to the stage for the final performance show in Sydney.
Callea and Casey Donovan, 16, from Sydney, are the last two finalists vying to win the series. The winner will be announced at the grand final party at the Sydney Opera House next Sunday.
Callea said it was a dream come true to reach the final of the Idol series.
"To make it to the top you need to believe in yourself so the audience can believe in you," he said last night.
"Words could not really express the feelings you would have (if you win)."
Emily Keogh, of Wyndham City Council, organised a big screen at the town hall last night to celebrate Callea's final performance.
She said Callea had attracted so many fans that some had to be left out when the Wyndham Cultural Centre filled.
"Every time he comes on they go absolutely crazy," she said.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:42 PM
15nov04 The Courier Mail
IDOL finalists . . . Anthony Callea and Casey Donovan each delivered stirring renditions of the sure-fire hit Listen With Your Heart last night. The series winner will be announced after the grand finale at the Sydney Opera House next Sunday night.
The song, which will be released as a single by the winning contestant, was unveiled last night in the final performance show of the series.
Both have recorded the track and spent all of Saturday shooting respective video clips to prepare for either of them winning at the grand finale at the Opera House next Sunday night.
They will perform in a medley with the other 10 finalists, but they won't sing solo again until the winner is declared
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:44 PM
From Sydney Confidential (The Daily Telegraph)
November 15, 2004
AUSTRALIAN Idol finalists Casey Donovan and Anthony Callea each delivered stirring renditions of the surefire hit Listen With Your Heart, but only one of them will get to sing it again.
The song, which will be released as a single by the winning contestant, was unveiled last night in the final performance show of the series.
Both have recorded the Diane Warren-penned track and spent all of Saturday shooting respective video clips at Fox Studios to prepare for either of them winning.
But only one will get to sing it again - when he or she is declared the winner on Sunday night.
The song, which was recorded by CeCe Winans in 1998, was everything we've come to expect of an Idol single - big power notes, Idol moments and uplifting lyrics about faith, hope, and finding your way in the dark.
Last night's show was the final opportunity for the pair to secure viewers' votes.
Casey, the 16-year-old student from Sydney's Bass Hill, sang Hello by Evanescence and Take Me As I Am by Vanessa Amorosi.
Melbourne's pocket-rocket Anthony delivered '80s power ballad Glory of Love by Peter Cetera and Craig David's Walking Away.
They now enter a week of intense publicity commitments as well as rehearsals for the grand finale at the Opera House on Sunday night.
They will perform in a medley with the other 10 finalists, but they won't sing solo again until the winner is declared.
You have all week to vote.
To find out how much it costs to vote, log on to www.australianidol.yahoo.com.
Voting lines close at 8.30pm (AEDT) on November 21.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:47 PM
The Eye Herald Sun
November 15, 2004
A BET of $10,000 has been placed with Centrebet on Melbourne's Anthony Callea to win Australian Idol.
It is the biggest bet the group has taken on a reality television show.
A little over $100,000 has been wagered on Australian Idol through Centrebet this year.
But Anthony's Sydney rival, Casey Donovan, is not out of the race yet.
The 16-year-old sensation is much harder to interview than Callea.
She has trouble answering questions, but that's not unusual for any normal teenager her age.
"It's a bit overwhelming, to be honest," Casey said. "I didn't think I'd make the top 30, nor did I think I'd make the top 12.
"I thought there were a lot better people than me."
Behind the scenes, Casey is well liked by all the fellow housemates and production staff.
Both Hayley Jensen and Ricki-Lee Coulter wanted her to win after they left the show.
Casey relishes the fact she is not your typical 16-year-old pop star. "I thought the image factor was an issue, but it obviously hasn't been, so that's good," she said.
While at high school, Casey grew up listening to Incubus, Nirvana and Metallica, which is very un-Australian Idol. She didn't rule out recording that kind of music.
Third-placed Courtney Murphy said he thought Anthony would win, but said Casey was a force to be reckoned with.
"When she gets that microphone in her hands, it's just incredible," he said.
"You go 'Wow, where did she get that from?'"
As for Anthony, he admitted that sometimes being hot favourite did get to him.
"It's a compliment to get, and both of us wouldn't be here if we didn't have a large fan base," he said.
Although Anthony had been popular, all the other 10 finalists' fans would be voting, and might not support him.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:48 PM
By Jonathon Moran
7News on Seven ... also on ninemsn.com.au
Melbourne's Anthony Callea is Guy Sebastian's hot tip to take out the second series of Australian Idol on Sunday.
Sebastian, who on Monday night performed the first gig of his national tour, said Callea had the "girl vote".
"He is just a great vocalist," Sebastian said of the 21-year-old Callea.
"I also think the girl factor is the big one. I don't know if as many boys vote.
"I didn't expect (other finalist) Casey (Donovan) to get that far but she has definitely struck something in the hearts of Australia."
Callea and 16-year-old Donovan will compete for the Australian Idol title and a lucrative recording contract with Sony BMG at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday.
The pair follow in the footsteps of last year's winner Sebastian and runner-up Shannon Noll.
Sebastian said he expected a third series of Australian Idol to air next year.
"I definitely think it is a TV success but I don't know how much of a recording success it would be," he said.
Sebastian kicked off his national tour in Queensland on Monday night, performing for more than 1000 fans at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
"It was great for a first run," Sebastian said before driving to Brisbane for his next show.
"I just look forward to getting the show totally right. I am just going crazy the whole time just trying to think of what to do next."
Sebastian is accompanied by a 10-piece band and four dancers.
His set includes songs from both his albums - his debut Just As I Am and the follow-up Beautiful Life.
"It was very challenging last night," he said.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:49 PM
Thur 18 Nov 2004
Even NSW Premier Bob Carr has got behind Casey Donavon in her quest to win Australian Idol, and this week we have seen a huge move come for the 16 year old to win the crown on Sunday night at the Sydney Opera House.
It was hard to gauge anything from last Sunday's performances as both Casey and Anthony were very good, and while we have been saying that Casey faces an uphill battle due to the fact that she is a female, there are a couple of things in her favour. The first is that she comes from the largest State, and the second is that the demographic of the voters appears to be changing now that the media have started to really focus on the show.
Last week we took two separate bets of $10,000 for Anthony, one at $1.22, the second at $1.20, but this week he has blown out to $1.40 after the barrage of support for Casey. The $4 for Casey didn't last long on Monday, and with close to 80% of the bets this week coming for the youngster, her price has been slashed to $2.70. From what we are seeing, Casey Donavon is on track to join Reggie Bird as the only other female winner of an Australian 'reality' show.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:52 PM
November 18, 2004 The Age
Anthony Callea, left, and Casey Donovan, right, compete for the right to sing first in the final of Australian Idol. James Mathieson and Andrew Gunsberg look on.
It's down to the last two on Australian Idol. Nicole Brady looks at why the show is a barbecue-stopper.
Doing a local interview before breakfast is rarely required of the print media. So talking to Australian Idol's Casey and Anthony by phone at 7.15am as they are whisked to a record company photo shoot is yet another reminder of the phenomenon the show has become.
Casey Donovan, 16, and Anthony Callea, 21, are this week at the peak of the Idol cultural sensation. Their every minute of the past fortnight has been slotted into a carefully knitted schedule of rehearsals, film sessions, media interviews, photo shoots and various other publicity stunts.
Like Kath & Kim, the show has broken network television's strict rule to never do stories about the stars of a rival's program. Last week, current-affairs programs on Nine and Seven both ran stories about Idol - "they go up four (ratings) points every time they do", says Stephen Tate, Channel Ten's network executive producer of the show.
Over the phone, Casey and Anthony come across as they do on screen.
She is quiet and hard to draw much out of, finishing her sentences with a "so" or a "yeah" before the thought seems to have run its course.
He's an amiable, chatty fellow with a cheery laugh and slightly self-deprecating manner. Both profess to being exhausted but enjoying the whirlwind.
"It's a weird thing, you get up every day and you have a schedule and you're just run off your feet pretty much," says Casey.
While the instant celebrity aspect of the competition seems to be the most obvious consequence of being a finalist, it is something neither seems to have anticipated, let alone desired.
Both just want to sing.
"It's a bit hard to get used to because it's all come very, very quickly, I don't handle it very well - because it's happened so quickly, and it's on a large scale. The fame thing is hard to get used to," Anthony says.
What is the key to Idol's popularity, a show that has leapt the boundary from TV program to barbecue-stopper? A show even Treasurer Peter Costello lamented was more appealing to his children during the election campaign than the leaders' debate screened at the same time on Channel Nine.
Just as we all have an opinion on whether the winner ought be Casey or Anthony on Sunday night, we all have a pet theory for why the show is so popular, on why Ten's cameras can vox pop just about anybody in a shopping mall and they will have a view about the previous night's show.
Idol judge Mark Holden attributes the show's reach to the raw emotion it conjures.
"A, it's a brilliant format, they really did get it right. And B, having been in Showcase in 1974, and having been in this kind of competition myself, it's about that exquisite beauty-slash-pain of young people reaching for their aspirations, reaching for their dreams and some achieving, and some crashing and burning ... in the landscape of music, which is also about spirit and soaring."
But while breakfast radio, workplace conversations and the ratings convince of the show's popularity, it is a gripe that we never get to know the important numbers.
By how many votes did shock evictee Ricki-Lee miss the cut? Did Courtney Murphy narrowly miss out last week or were Casey and Anthony miles ahead?
More pertinent: is there daylight between Anthony and Casey's figures or has the competition been close?
Tate says it is network policy not to reveal how many votes are cast for any of its interactive programs. Even the judges are kept in the dark, although Holden says that if enough drinks are shared after a show, they're sometimes given a hint about numbers.
But such is the widespread acceptance of the show and its parameters, Tate says, the secrecy issue is rarely raised with him.
"Most of the complaints are about people not accepting that someone is gone. They're far more separation-anxiety issues between the audience and that performer."
While Tate can laugh about mothers and children badgering him across his daughter's schoolyard, music producer Holden still seems stung by record industry criticisms of the show and the talent it nurtures.
To those who have dismissed the show as karaoke and derided - or worse, ignored - the stars it has conjured, Holden holds up the record he has recently co-produced for former Idol Joel Turner.
"To the critics that want to beat us up, I will point them to Joel's record that is at number two this week, between Eminem and Delta, by a 15-year-old kid that wrote it, produced it, played it."
Holden plans to return for Idol III next year - "I'll ride it to the bitter end because for me it's about the opportunity to promote and develop and be a part of the Australian music business" - and wonders why Dicko jumped ship to Channel Seven to do (according to rumours) My Restaurant Rules.
"He must have a big, fat cheque to match his big, fat belly - which I guess are his qualifications for My Restaurant Rules."
With Sunday's final so near, Holden is not sure whether the prevailing wisdom that Anthony is a shoo-in is correct. An unabashed Casey fan, when we spoke last week, he was still reeling from the fact she had made it through to the final.
"I was shocked. Never thought it would happen in a million years. But I'm so thrilled for her and I'm so thrilled for the show because it really means that we've got a show right now. I think if it was Anthony and Courtney everyone would have assumed that it was just going to be a lay down for Anthony. But now that this sort of strange thing has happened with Casey, I think the question mark is out there - will Casey actually pull it off?"
Posted 12 June 2010 - 02:56 PM
School claims Australian Idol
18nov04 Herald Sun
Four days to go: Australian Idol finalist Anthony Callea revisits his old school, MacKillop Catholic Regional College, in Werribee. He completed his VCE there in 2001. Yesterday he was performing at the school assembly.
THE last time Anthony Callea was at MacKillop Catholic Regional College in Werribee, he was an unknown picking up his sister Christina from school.
It was a different story yesterday as Callea returned to his old school, where he was mobbed by students excited at seeing a former student make good.
The hundreds of students went wild for local boy Callea as he sang the R Kelly hit Ignition to a packed school assembly.
"Thank you very much for all the support. It's great to be back," Callea said with a wide grin.
Callea spent most of his school life at MacKillop before going to the Victorian College of the Arts to do Year 12. He returned to MacKillop in 2001 to finish his VCE.
Callea has captured the support of his home town, Werribee, with billboards around town and Idol stories on the front of all three local papers.
On Sunday, Callea faces his biggest challenge at the Sydney Opera House, where he is favourite to take out the title of Australian Idol.
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