2004 Newspaper Articles
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:28 PM
Thur 28 Oct 2004
I know that the Australian Idol judges sometimes appear as though they are coming from 'left field', however they appeared right on the money about the performance of Casey Donavon on Sunday night, and more importantly the punters agree. We posted Casey at $5 after Monday nights vote, and with our first wager of $200, it is an indication that there will be more money to follow. Not surprisingly on Sundays performance that Chanel was voted off, which now leaves two males, and two females, although we are not as adamant after Casey's touchdown that the two males will fight it out.
Last week, the solid support for Chanel ($11into $7) continued right up until showtime on Sunday, and she was backed to win close to $40,000. Unfortunately for her, she copped a bit of a 'bagging' for her performance, and her outfit, on Sunday night, and as a result of that, she is out of the competition. Courtney has grown in popularity as the series has progressed, but last weekend's performance was very ordinary, and the judges also gave him a pasting. Courtney has drifted out to $5 now, and although we took nearly $3500 for him last week, punters are now extremely wary as it does look increasingly likely that Anthony Callea ($1.45) will be the new Idol. Although we gave $67 for Anthony during the first week of betting, and he has been favourite for 80% of the competition, he is only a small loser in our book, and we are happy to keep it that way!
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:31 PM
Oct 25 2004
Story: Jacqui Lang
Anthony's health crisis
We reveal the terrifying story behind the Idol hopeful's secret hospital drama.
While Inside Idol may have hinted Anthony Callea's recent bout of ill health was nothing more than a passing moment, it's now been revealed there were grave fears for his life.
The handsome Australian Idol contestant became so violently sick a few weeks ago, he was secretly rushed to a Sydney hospital just days before he was due to give a live performance. Against doctors'b advice, Anthony discharged himself from hospital rather than risk being disqualified from Idol for being a no-show during the all-important Sunday night episode.
While his sickness was downplayed as just another of the contestants being struck down with the cold-like symptoms which have affected many of the other Idol hopefuls, his concerned family has revealed the 21-year-old was in fact desperately ill.
At the time, it was feared the singer, who in recent weeks has emerged as one of the hot favourites to take out the Idol title, may have developed a form of potentially life-threatening meningitis.
"I got the fright of my life when a doctor phoned to tell me Anthony was on his way to Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital by ambulance," reveals his Melbourne-based mother Santina.
"I dropped work and took the first plane to Sydney to be at my son's side. He'd had a shocking headache, a very stiff neck and a temperature of 39.9C. we feared he could have fluid on the brain.
After having fluid taken from his spine for tests, Anthony was found to be suffering only from a savage virus.
"It was a great relief, but he was still so weak," says Santina.
Although a doctor told Anthony he should not perform on the Sunday, he discharged himself from hospital on the Friday, desperate to be back on stage to belt out his '60s number Gimme Some Lovin'.
"If he hadn't sung, he'd have been out of the contest," confirms Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.
"I was so happy he made it back. That young man has got guts! I knew how much he was suffering during his performance - he was very subdued," she adds.
"The fans were kept pretty much in the dark about it all," Santina says. "I don't think the producers wanted Anthony to get a sympathy vote."
She says her determined son was prepared to do "whatever it takes" to remain in the competition.
"Singing has been his passion since he was five, when he came up to me and told me he wanted to have lessons," she recalls. "So we sent him to classes, and over the years he's flourished."
But pursuing his dreams has not come without paying a price in his personal life.
"Until quite recently Anthony had a lovely girlfriend, but he told her he had to concentrate on his singing at this stage of his life," says his mum. "That comes before all else."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:36 PM
October 28, 2004
Australian Idol's Anthony Callea still isn't gay
We told you earlier this month about Australian Idol contestant Anthony Callea announcing that he isn't gay. Myles Wearring writes, "It's no surprise to hear people might mistake Anthony for one of us. He's ridiculously cute, incredibly clean-cut, wears too much hair product, has manicured eyebrows and is, well, Italian." Anyways, on Sunday's show judges told Callea to appeal more to a gay audience by acting less like a puppy dog and being more masculine, because that's what we gays like. Say what? Then they said a pop musician has only made it once they've cracked the gay market - gay community members are the barometers of what's hot.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:37 PM
Thursday, October 28 2004, 15:43 BST -- by Neil Wilkes Digital Spy (UK)
The favourite to win the second series of Australian Idol has set the record straight over his sexuality.
Clean-cut Anthony Callea, 21, spoke in response to rumours circulating on internet message boards down under.
"I'm not gay," he told the Sunday Mail. "I don't know why people say I am. A lot of people just make up rubbish."
The boards of the show's official website had been swamped with messages questioning his leanings - with supporters of the theory pointing towards his overuse of hair product, microphone technique, manicured eyebrows and Italian heritage.
Asked what he thought of his gay following, Anthony replied: "It's fine by me. Whoever buys the albums, I don't care. It's cool." He added that although he gets plenty of numbers from female admirers, "I don't think I'll be ringing them. I just don't have time for it."
Last year's winner Guy Sebastian was plagued by similar rumours.
**There was a similar story in the Herald Sun by Liam Houlihan on Oct 10th - so I will only include the section which is different ....
......"The same thing was levelled at (last year's winner) Guy (Sebastian)." The 21-year-old Sanctuary Lakes resident said rumours he was gay were amusing.
One fan compared watching Callea on Australian Idol to watching Play It Straight - a show where viewers attempt to guess whether participants are gay or straight. Another described those voting for Callea as "poor deluded girls who believe he's not gay".
The performer added fuel to the rumours in an interview for the Idol website. When asked to disclose something about himself that no one else knew, he teased: "That's for me to know and you to find out."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:45 PM
By Kimberley Porteous SMH
October 29, 2004
Australian Idol finalists Hayley, Courtney, Anthony and Casey.
Photo: Tom Holland/WHO magazine
The competition is heating up for the final four aspirant Australian Idols - but are tempers reaching boiling point?
24-year-old Courtney Murphy has asked critics to "lay off" and has cried: "it just seems like everyone in Australia has the right to judge you and I don't really think that's fair."
Murphy shows his sensitive side in an interview alongside remaining finalists Hayley Jensen, Anthony Callea and Casey Donovan in this week's Who magazine. And it sounds like the pressure of performing for a growing audience of two million viewers - not to mention the judges - is beginning to show.
Gone are the wide-eyed ingenues from July 13 when the second series of Australian Idol kicked off. In their place are four young musicians who have been catapulted to national stardom.
Callea tells Who that the fame "wasn't a gradual thing, it was like bang! You don't mind talking to people, but when they grab you and pull your clothes, it's like an invasion of privacy."
But it is facing up to the inevitable critiques from show judges Ian Dickson, Marcia Hines and Mark Holden that is really starting to take its toll.
It is all very well for Holden to push his charges to "grab the crown from greatness. Not from mediocrity." But comparisons to Guy Sebastian are hurtful, according to Murphy.
"This is a really tough thing we're doing. We've copped so much. Just lay off a little. If you think we're not doing the best that we can, then get over it," says the Paul McCartney fan.
"We're just different. Everyone is going to have to learn to live with that."
As for Holden's on-going criticism of Hayley, the blonde Canberran says: "I would just appreciate some constructive criticism instead of comments that don't really help anymore."
Even the recently fallen Idol Chanel Cole is rooting for Hayley: "It changes for me daily because I love them all, but today I'm rooting for Hayley ... I think (Holden) has given her a bit of a hard time," she told AAP this week.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:49 PM
Issue dated 30 Oct - 05 Nov 2004
The Idols are tipping that the final two will see the boys battling it out
With five singers left in the competition, the experts think a boy will win Australian Idol for the second year running. Will it be "Mr Nice Guy" Courtney Murphy, or "Italian stallion" Anthony Callea? We asked the Idols who they think will take the gong.
"Anthony Callea. He's an excellent performer and an incredible singer. He connects with a lot of people who vote; he's got a huge fan base. He manages to choose good songs that suit him."
"I have no idea, absolutely no idea. Anyone here could win. Everyone's got talent."
The newly evicted Marty agrees with the majority. "At this stage, it's hard to go past Anthony. He and Courtney are in the best position at this stage of the comp."
"I think Anthony is going to win. He is the consummate performer. He has done the Young Talent Time sort of thing. The guy has been doing this since he was a kid."
The other week I would have said Ricki-Lee but now that she's gone, all my ideas have been thrown out. I'd say the obvious foreeunners, Anthony and Courtney, aren't such safe bets any more. Hayley could take it out; she's the underdog."
I really thought that Ricki-Lee would win, but now that she has gone, I haven't really given it much thought. I would like Casey to win. I just love listening to her. She's a genuinely nice person and I'd love her to win."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:51 PM
By Karl Quinn
October 31, 2004 The Age
From left: The final four Idols, Casey, Anthony, Hayley and Courtney, at a performance and signing session in Sydney yesterday.
Photo: Dallas Kilponen
It was the news that threatened to reduce thousands of girls, grans and gay men to tears. Anthony Callea, one of the four finalists on this year's Australian Idol, could be facing disqualification.
If the word doing the rounds of chat rooms and fansites last week was to be believed, Callea was in breach of the competition's rules because he already had a recording contract. And that meant BMG, the record company footing the bill for the winner's break into the big time, could not possibly sign him. He would, therefore, have to go.
Luckily for all those Callea fans out there, the rumour appears to be founded on nothing more than careless wording.
The story goes a little like this. Sanctuary Lakes boy Callea was, before joining Australian Idol, a member of the Melbourne vocal trio sayYEAH. According to their website (sayyeah.com.au), the trio "has been one of Melbourne's most successful dance (acts) over the last 10 years", with "regular spots on Channel Ten's Good Morning Australia and the Denise morning show on Channel Seven".
More significantly, the website claims all three members - Jimmy Christo, Mari Hall and Anthony Callea - are "extremely talented vocalists who have been signed to major record labels".
But while Hall released a single in 1999 through Sony and Christo had a 2000 release and an appearance on the Wog Boy soundtrack the following year (both through Mushroom), the website is extremely quiet on what recording contract, if any, Callea might have.
When The Sunday Age called the sayYEAH contact number, Mari Hall answered and told us: "I'm not supposed to talk to anyone about any of this."
Hall went on to say that while she had a music publishing contract with Warner Chappell, neither she nor anyone else associated with the trio currently had a recording contract with anyone.
"It (the recording contract with Sony) was a long time ago, 1998 or something," she said.
She added that Callea was a relatively recent recruit to the trio, having joined "about 12 months ago". Asked if he was still a member of sayYEAH she said: "Yes, but I don't think we'll be seeing him again. I think he's on his way now."
Indeed, one recent newspaper report suggested Callea was more than on his way, with a claim that an album by the 21-year-old was due out before Christmas - despite the fact he does not (or, at least, should not) even have a recording contract yet.
In a bid to clarify the Callea contract conundrum, The Sunday Age contacted Sony, Mushroom, BMG and Grundy Entertainment (producer of Australian Idol). All denied any knowledge of the rumour and all declined to comment on the record, though Grundy's stated categorically that "Anthony Callea does not have a recording contract with anyone". Callea was unavailable for comment.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:53 PM
By PHILLIP KOCH
31oct04 Herald Sun
ANTHONY Callea realised how much his life had changed when he met Tina Arena.
"I absolutely love her," the Australian Idol favourite from Sanctuary Lakes said.
"'When I had the privilege of meeting her at the ARIAs I was completely starstruck. But she knew who I was and had even heard me sing. It's really weird that Tina Arena knows who I am."
With five Idols from the debut series last year zooming up the charts, Callea, 22, and the three other finalists - Casey Donovan, 16, Courtney Murphy, 24, and Hayley Jensen, 21 - should get used to the attention.
Network Ten hopes to break records when two of the contestants stage their sing-off at the Sydney Opera House, watched by an expected TV audience of four million viewers.
Twelve weeks ago, the four finalists were unknown.
"My confidence has grown a lot," Callea said. "I've come out of my shell and learned to be true to myself. It's funny when you meet people in the street -- it freaks me out because they feel they know you and own a piece of you."
Donovan, the part-Aboriginal Sydney teenager who is the youngest contestant, has found it difficult adjusting to her new-found fame.
"I can't walk up the road any more without being noticed," she said.
Donovan postponed HSC studies to commit to Australian Idol and while she may return to school next year, she realises life has changed forever.
"I didn't think I was going to get through the first round," she said.
Perth-born Courtney Murphy said he would be disappointed if he did not win.
"That's a bad thing to say, but, really, anyone would be disappointed."
But he isn't banking on victory or even a recording contract once the fans' applause dies down.
"Who knows what this year will do?" he said.
Jensen is also philosophical about her tilt at fame and fortune.
"I think we kind of live in a bit of a bubble at the moment," she said.
"I won't be devastated at all if I don't win," she said.
"I'm just so grateful to be at this point - every step along the way has been a further blessing."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:57 PM
News from The Star newspaper Nov 2004
By Ann Marie Angebrandt
FAMILY members of local Australian Idol finalist, Anthony Callea have become celebrities in their own right.
While they wait nervously this week for news of whether 21-year old Anthony will make it through to the final two, the close-knit western suburbs Italian family say life has changed dramatically since the national talent-hunt started eight months ago.
Mum Santina and dad Cosmo have long been recognised in Sydney where they fly every weekend to watch their son compete, especially after Anthony dedicated a song to his teary and nationally televised mum, calling her "his perfect fan".
But lately, they've also become stars around the western suburbs, where Santina works as a part-time accountant in Tullamarine and Cosmo is a carpenter and builder.
Brother Matthew, 18, even got his own internet fan club that poses the question: "Who's hotter, Anthony or Matthew?" after he accompanied his celebrated sibling on a recent visit to Highpoint Shopping Centre. As for 14-year-old sister Christina, a student at MacKillop College, she's lost count of the number of times she's been asked whether Anthony was available.
Last week, two national women's magazines dropped by the family's Sanctuary Lakes home for a photo shoot and story of the Callea family.
"We're taking this day-by-day, one step at a time," said Santina.
"We don't know how long this will last, but we're enjoying it for now."
Besides the personal attention, the family has been overwhelmed by the support Anthony has received by businesses and residents in the area.
Benlor Real Estate in Hoppers Crossing has erected signboards with life-size photos of Anthony, urging residents to vote for their local idol.
And pizza restaurant, La Porchetta in Altona Meadows, has created an "Anthony Callea Special" offering to place telephone votes for Anthony every time his pizzas ordered.
Wyndham Council and the Volt Nightclub have also got behind the effort, installing large screens where hundreds gather Sunday nights to watch the competition.
"Everyone's been so amazing and Anthony wants to do something to say thank you once he gets back," said Cosmo.
Anthony's extended family, which incredibly includes three siblings from Cosmo's Callea side marrying three siblings from Santina's Barberi clan, is already planning a big celebration when he comes home.
And even if he doesn't make it through as Australia's number one idol, Santina hopes there could still be a record deal for getting this far.
"Music has always been his life," she said. "He's tried other things like business and natural medicine, but he always comes back to music."
Santinavs "born to entertain" son overwhelmed judges and viewers when he chose to perform an operatic classic, "The Prayer" early in the finals.
"He called me the day before and said that song was either going to make or break him in the competition," Santina said.
"It looks like it made him."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 12:58 PM
Recording and Multimedia Project
N E W S L E T T E R
Issue - November 2004
Latest new Patrons to Kool Skools
Missy Higgins, Axle from Video Hits and Living End have all become Patrons in support of the project. Missy Higgins and Axle both took part in Kool Skools in previous years and appreciate the benefits they gained towards their careers which have taken off so successfully.
Fans of Australian Idol's Anthony Callea, may also be interested to know that he was a soloist on MacKillop Catholic College's Kool Skools CD, 'Many Rooms', in 1998. Anthony was in Year 9 and was already demonstrating a voice like a young John Farnham. The Music Director then, was David O'Meara who has more recently brought The Good Samaritan College into the KS Project.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:06 PM
01 Nov 04
Anthony's family: Refusing interviews
Anthony Callea has been striving towards becoming a professional recording artist his whole life. Now that his chance has arrived, his family are discovering that the media attention can be very intense. "They have pretty much refused to do any more interviews," says Anthony's work colleague and friend, Chrystal.
She says Anthony's family are a supportive bunch but, after being burnt a few times, they have decided it's best not to talk to the media anymore.
"There have been a couple of things that were turned the wrong way," Chrystal explains.
But the Calleas haven't turned their back on Anthony and know that it's just the way it goes.
"They understand that the media attention comes with it," Chrystal says. "They say, "That's entertainment." "
Casey's parents: Working flat out
Since Idol began, Casey Donovan's parents, Norm and Tracy, have been going beyond the call of duty to support her.
"Tracy and I spend hours each day working on something for Casey," says Norm, a locksmith from Bankstown in Sydney.
"I check the message boards every day and we download information about Casey that is on the Net. We also do all the interviews with the magazines and we go out to ask shop owners to put posters up."
While it may sound like pretty hard work, it"s really a labour of love for Norm and Tracy, who see only positive things coming out of Idol as they watch Casey grow.
"The only outcome we were interested in was for Casey to have some self-esteem and for her to know she really does have a talent," Norm says. "And the whole Idol experience has done just that."
Hayley"s husband: sleep deprived
Hayley Jensen's husband, Tim, says having his wife on Australian Idol is great, but it's taking its toll on him physically and mentally.
"The hardest thing is going to work and feeling tired," says Tim, a retail assistant at a hardware store in Canberra.
"Coming back from the shows early in the morning and trying to catch up on sleep is hard, but then having to do it again the next weekend! Luckily, the boss has been fairly lenient!"
Not only is sleep deprivation getting to Tim, but the media attention is taking him away from what he is supposed to be doing at work.
"I'm doing interviews four or five times a week, but work is pretty good about it," says Tim, who slipped off into the car park for a chat with TV WEEK on his mobile.
"I love doing the interviews because it helps Hayley out. Sometimes it's hard to keep everybody happy, but it's getting easier - I know the end of the competition is getting near.
"It's getting exciting for everyone. This may never happen again, so it's an opportunity that you have to take."
Courtney's girlfriend: so far away
For Courtney Murphy's family and friends in Perth, the hardest thing about him being on Idol is the distance between them.
When Courtney's girlfriend, Jane, does decide to fly to Sydney, it also means she's missing out on work.
"When I go over, I miss two days of work," says Jane, who has been in her job as a school assistant for just two months.
Jane admits she has been shying away from the media. "Being in the spotlight is just not me," she says, "but I know it's something that comes with the industry."
Courtney's parents are in the same boat. "I think the attention does get a bit much sometimes," says Jane, "but at the same time, his mum and dad will do anything for their boys."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:12 PM
Nov 01 2004
Party of five - Inside the very private lives of our favourite Idol finalists
Our favourite Idol contestants confess all about their lives and loves - and reveal some surprising secret crushes
Describe your most embarrassing romantic moment for us.
Anthony: I don't have one yet - but give me time.
Anyone else have criteria for the perfect partner?
Anthony: And someone you connect with
What's your idea of the perfect date?
Anthony: A yacht - preferably my yacht - on the harbour and a lovely lunch.
Are you guys prepared for the long separations from loved ones that come with the life of a touring pop star?
Anthony: You have to make certain sacrifices to do what you want to do and I think I can handle it.
Guys tell us who is your celebrity crush?
Anthony: Sandra Bullock, for sure.
The Idol Whiz Quiz
Some fellow Idols say you spend a long time standing in front of the mirror. Are you a metrosexual?
No, I just like to look after myself and look good.
What's the key to maintaining those pop-star looks?
Good Italian food, lots of sleep - and scotch and water!
How did that transformation from 'plastic' to 'fantastic' happen?
I don't think I was ever plastic, and performing The Prayer certainly confirmed that.
What's the first thing you'll do after the Opera House gig if you win?
Throw a huge party for my family and friends back in Melbourne.
A Message To My Fans
"Thanks so much for getting me where I am today. Please keep up the support. I greatly appreciate it."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:12 PM
November 4, 2004
AH, the spoils of fame. Australian Idol hopeful Anthony Callea has been enjoying (or perhaps enduring) some special treatment from fans during his recent shopping centre appearances. At Warringah Mall at the weekend, young teenage girls among the 4000-strong crowd were chucking their G-strings at him as he sang.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:15 PM
By Matthew Benns
November 7, 2004 The Age
Anthony Callea in the Idol house that's becoming quieter as contestants are dumped.
Photo: Anthony Johnson
Melbourne's Australian Idol finalist Anthony Callea has denied suggestions that he is gay.
The 21-year-old Sanctuary Lakes voice coach is among the last three Idol contestants living in the show's Sydney mansion until the competition final next weekend.
Tomorrow night, after viewers have voted, the finalists will be reduced to two.
Of rumours that he is gay, Callea said: "At the end of the day I think the most important thing is that as long as your family knows the truth and your close friends know the truth, that's all that's really important to me." So what is the truth? "That I'm not."
The other finalists are Casey Donovan, 16, from Sydney, and 24-year-old Perth musician Courtney Murphy.
Donovan says that the judges' criticism of her weight and style did hurt but she has managed to deal with it. "It used to affect me. I don't worry about it any more," she said. "Since I have been in the house I have lost a bit of weight. I would like to lose more just for health reasons."
Donovan said her father "got me hooked on music when I was about seven. He took me to Tamworth.
"He lives with his wife and two other kids. He rings me a couple of times a year. My parents divorced and there was a little bit of stuff that happened so I don't really want to talk to him much. He has rung me a couple of times and said: 'You're doing good'."
She said it was only when she sings that the "bad stuff" gets out of her head. Her parents' divorce "messed me up a little bit".
Donovan's mother, Tracy, is preparing to be there for her daughter when the whirlwind of life in the Australian Idol limelight ends.
"On any given Monday, which we don't want to think about, this could end," she said. "There is a psychologist who walks around after the show to chat with people."
Murphy's girlfriend, Jane, 22, has flown from Perth each weekend to support him during the show.
He said: "She stays at a hotel in the city. Some jokes have been made that the first weekend she came over, a lot of people noticed a change in me.
"We have talked about marriage, more than likely after all this thing slows down."
He said his first engagement to another woman was "a little destructive" and led to him needing counselling and anti-depressants. The drugs led to a dramatic increase in weight.
As the three idols wrestle with their insecurities, Channel Ten bosses are also concerned. Viewing figures have dropped for the third week running amid claims from the show's own judges that the contestants are not as good as last year.
All three idols complained last week that the house now seemed empty without the other rejected contestants. On Tuesday, it will be even quieter - only two will remain.
*A similar article appeared in the Sun Herald on Nov 7th in a story called Idols Face their Demons. Additional detail included ....
Tomorrow night viewers will vote out another idol, deciding between 16-year-old Casey from Sydney, 21-year-old voice coach Anthony Callea from Melbourne and 24-year-old Perth musician Courtney Murphy.
Last week The Sun-Herald was invited into the mansion that has been home to the contestants on Australian Idol for the past 10 weeks.
As the three idols wrestled with their own insecurities, bosses at Channel Ten are also concerned. Viewing figures have dropped for the third week running amid claims from the show's own judges that the contestants are not as good as last year.
All three contestants were given media training as part of the show before The Sun-Herald interviewed them last week.
For Anthony Callea, the Idol trip is the first time he has lived away from his parents' Melbourne home. "It's good that there is someone cooking and helping us out around the house. "The only thing we have to do really is washing and drying . . . I had to learn that very quickly," he said.
His time on Idol has been spent playing down rumours that he is gay. "At the end of the day I think the most important thing is that as long as your family knows the truth and your close friends know the truth, that's all that's really important to me."
What is the truth? "That I'm not."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:17 PM
From Sydney Confidential
08nov04 Herald Sun
FOR Australian Idols Anthony, Casey and Courtney, the nerves have gone beyond nail-biting.
The three contenders for impending mega stardom have now retreated to their own corners, doing whatever they can to calm the nerves.
Prior to last night's crucial sing-off, which will tonight see three down to just two, each of the Australian Idols fled to the comfort of their families.
Casey hit the high road to Bankstown, where she had a BBQ with family and school friends, Anthony hung with his Melbourne-based family in their hotel and, after a huge long walk around the Harbour, Courtney dined with his family and friends.
All three have been busy in the studio, recording their versions of the Diane Warren song. The winner's version will be pressed the night of the final and in stores the following day. The winner will then have eight days to record an entire album.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:48 PM
By Sacha Vukic, SMH Online
November 9, 2004
It was a verdict that shocked judges and viewers but breathed new life into a reality television show that's now set for a head-to-head male/female grand finale.
Unfancied Casey Donovan bypassed Courtney Murphy on the Australian Idol live verdict show last night to sail through to the big sing-off with Anthony Callea at the Sydney Opera House on November 21, where the 2004 winner will be revealed.
The duo follow in the footsteps of last year's inaugural Idol Guy Sebastian and runner-up Shannon Noll.
Making the grand final is a competition coup for 16-year-old Sydney schoolgirl Casey. A week ago, she was thought to be the least likely winning candidate by bookmakers. Now she is in with a shot at becoming Australia's first girl Idol.
After Sunday night's 70s-themed show, Australian Idol's resident judges Ian Dickson and Mark Holden both incorrectly called Casey's demise assuming that her frequent lapses into the "bottom three" category would eventuate in her departure.
Holden did, however, immediately express a hope that the Australian public would be forward thinking enough to vote Casey into the final.
Despite their inaccurate predictions, the judges were delightfully astounded at Casey's overcoming of the odds. Holden, not uncharacteristically, became lost for words and co-judge Marcia Hines seemed considerably moved.
Sunday night's performance final on Channel Ten put the contestants under enormous pressure to sing exceptionally. The heartfelt determination of all the finalists was obvious on stage and won over the judges as all three sung their way to the show's first-ever trinity of 'touchdowns'.
Round one saw Courtney score his with the Queen classic 'Somebody to Love' while Casey copped hers after a punchy rendition of Carly Simon's popular hit 'You're So Vain'.
Anthony's round one performance may not have been worthy of Holden's trademark arm swing, but his subsequent soaring version of Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' convinced Holden.
Ousted Perth singer Courtney Murphy took his exit gracefully. "My luck had to run out eventually ... and top three - whoo!" Murphy said. "Thank you so much if you voted for me this far. This has changed my life."
Holden, Dicko and Hines held out high hopes for Murphy to make the cut in the recording business. "If (jazzman) James Morrison doesn't make an album with you in the next year, he is completely crazy," Holden said, while Hines even ventured to ask Morrison personally to work with Murphy.
Casey and Anthony
For their final performance next Sunday, Casey and Anthony can perform any song of their choice. Reaching this stage of the competition also means that both will record a single and shoot a video film clip, but only the winner's versions will be released to the public.
The newly-crowned Idol also earns a lucrative recording contract with music label BMG Australia.
Casey's surprising triumph in last night's live verdict final throws a gender equation in the mix for the nation's TV viewers who devotedly follow the show.
Melbourne voice coach Anthony's knee-buckled legion of female fans will be difficult to overcome, so Casey is again the underdog. And a win with those kinds of odds would be very special indeed.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:50 PM
By GEMMA JONES
November 9, 2004 Daily Telegraph
SHE can belt out a song like the best of the pop divas - now a teenager from western Sydney who almost didn't enter Australian Idol has a shot at making it big in the music industry.
Australian Idol finalists Anthony Callea and Casey Donovan celebrating last night.
Casey Donovan, 16, of Bass Hill, had said reaching the final would be the highlight of her life. Last night that dream came true.
But she faces some stiff competition from south of the border, with the final battle between Sydney and Melbourne for the Idol crown.
She will challenge Anthony Callea, 21, of Melbourne, for a lucrative recording contract and a shot at being the first female Australian Idol.
Courtney Murphy was voted off the competition last night, which has proved a ratings winner for Network Ten.
Donovan feared her journey would end prematurely after her performance on Sunday night earned her harsh criticism from two judges.
But the viewing public put her over the line.
"As soon as [the judges made their comments], I thought - I'm gone, I'm dead," she told The Daily Telegraph.
"I got up and they said my name and I almost started crying.
"This has made my life. This means so much for my sake and my family and the support they have given me. I'll be lost for words for a couple of days."
She was still shaking in shock at the announcement minutes after she came off stage.
There was enormous support for her in the crowd, with a huge group of people from her Sydney-based fan club in the audience at Global Studios in North Ryde.
Callea said before making it through the first audition for the program, he was teaching music and playing gigs and never thought his life could be transformed in the way that it has been.
"If somebody told me six months ago I probably would've laughed," he said.
He agreed with Donovan that the shock of getting through to the final round was immense.
"I'm totally numb. I feel like I'm going to throw up," the excited 21-year-old, who gave a rousing rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water on Sunday, said.
Callea said being on Idol had changed his life.
Murphy closed the show with a rendition of Paul McCartney's, My Love.
The grand final will be held at the Opera House on November 21.
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:53 PM
Nov 10 2004 Herald Sun
LAST year, Casey Donovan didn't watch a single episode of Australian Idol, preferring to spend Sunday nights alone in her bedroom, singing to herself.
This year though, millions of people around the nation will watch as the gifted Sydney teenager battles it out against Victoria's Anthony Callea at the Opera House.
Six hours of non-stop photo shoots and interviews did little to dampen her spirits yesterday.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," she said.
"I'm just going to try to have fun this week."
Having never expected to make the final, Casey said she was just enjoying the last week of preparation.
Callea said there hadn't been much time to rest and reflect on their success yet.
"It's definitely not glamorous at all," he said. "It's a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day we're here doing what we love, so you don't mind it at all."
Posted 12 June 2010 - 01:54 PM
Thursday 11th November
Another shock in Australian Idol at the weekend when Courtney Murphy was shown the door.
Courtney had been popular with punters all week, but obviously wasn't as popular with the voters. We took nearly $6000 worth of bets for Courtney to win the Idol title at $4, as well as two $5000 bets for Anthony at $1.33. The only one that punters didn't want was Casey, who blew out to $10, but she now finds herself in the final two, but still as the outsider.
One thing we did do last week that we hadn't tried before was bet on who would go. Casey was the top elect at $1.30, and in amongst a series of bets for her, we took one bet of $6000. Courtney had some backing at $3.25, with Anthony the outsider at $21.
Now we are down to the final two, and with two weeks before the big event, opinions differ vastly on who will win. For all the reasons mentioned before, and also that he is our worst result, we opened up Anthony at $1.16 with Casey at $4.50. In the first 48 hours of betting, nearly $5000 has been placed on Casey which has seen her price cut to $3.75, but by the same token we have taken bets of $2000 and $1500 for Anthony at $1.22, so he looks likely to enter the final show as a warm favourite.
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