Australian Idol was arguably Australia’s best reality TV show of all time, and produced some of this country’s biggest talents and pop-bangers.

The winners were promised fame, fortune and a shit-ton of cash but was being an ‘Idol’ all it was cracked up to be?

Australia, this is where your Idols are now.

Guy Sebastian

Guy Theodore Sebastian, our first ever Australian idol, our beloved ‘fro from Adelaide who had never been laid has kinda ‘made it’. The man did create a club banger with Lupe Fiasco and a-not-so-hot track with 2 Chainz, ‘Muma Ain’t Proud’. FFS fellas, what were either of you thinking?

This year, Guy became the first Australian ever to be able to compete in Eurovision. How and why, seriously, no one will ever know. He didn’t embarrass us completely and came 5th overall. Not too shabby for a guy (ha) competing against babes standing in front of wind machines and water features. The song ended up charting in Europe and made Guy a stack of cash.

Shannon Noll

We all have a Shannon Noll story. How many of us pumped ‘Drive’ on our first trip to the Maccas Drive-Thru on our Ps? Just me? This loser burnt a CD especially. Nollsy is a legend, an Internet sensation, who takes RSLs by storm every Saturday night.

Shannon nearly caused a riot in Goulburn when half of the country decided they’d be hilarious and click attending to his show, just to get any easy seven likes on Facebook. The show was cancelled due to the whole of Goulburn being terrified. Goulburn / Shannon on behalf of the nation, I apologise. We all let Internet fame get to our heads.

Cosima De Vito

My gosh, do you remember the heartache when it was announced that Cosima De Vito pulled out of Idol because her vocal cords could not hack it? Or that time Mark Holden repeated ‘Hubba Hubba Hubba’, three painfully cringy times after her vomit-in-my-mouth performance of ‘Hot Stuff’?

Cosima didn’t do too badly for herself in 2014 though. She started her own record label (CVD) ~imaginative~ and beat our Missy Higgins and Paulini to debut at number #1 on the ARIAs with her single ‘When the War is Over / One Night Without You’. The song went on to go platinum, selling over 70,000 units. Ah the days when people still bought singles.

Paulini Curuenavuli

Did you know that Paulini released an album this year? No? Didn’t think so, because the whole world DGAF. It did peak at number #25 on the ARIA charts, though. That doesn’t mean we all didn’t love her in 2003.

In a poll taken on Australian Idol, Paulini’s elimination was the second most surprising elimination in the history of the show – it really was shocking! And how could we all ever forget that infamous gold dress, which basically just made the entire nation despise Dicko even more as Paulini is clearly a 10.

Jessica Mauboy

Jess Mauboy is Australia’s sweetheart. Gawd, how can you not love her? She is everything. Jess Mauboy may or may not have written the greatest pop song in Australian history with her absolute banger ‘Pop a Bottle (Fill Me Up)’.

Seriously though, Jessica Mauboy is actually legit and has done pretty great for the runner-up of season four. It was pretty incredible to watch our girl from Darwin up on the Eurovsion stage and doing her thing on Ellen.

She has even had a stint of the silver screen and was loveable as ever in the Australian film The Sapphires, and no one will EVER forget that time she said ‘de-butt’ repeatedly on live TV.

Ricki-Lee Coulter

Ricki-Lee Coulter is the poster child of the before and after shot. She yo yos / walks the dog more than any other Australian woman. My favourite image of Ricki-Lee is one of her driving Tkay Maidza around in an Uber last year in Sydney. Tkay 1, Ricki-Lee 0.

Ricki-Lee made Internet headlines across Australia after her EPIC rant, which she let loose on Instagram / Facebook revealing that her newly married hubby is actually in fact her manager. What a shocking revelation. Guess what, Ricki? No one cares! You did look wonderful at your wedding though. Congrats.

Ricki has done pretty alright for herself considering she didn’t even make it past the audition round in the first season of Idol and ultimately came 7th in the second season. Ricki-Lee later re-joined the show as a presenter and even snagged herself a Logie nod (made it) and a gig on Nova’s Sydney Breakfast show.

Casey Donovan

Fun fact – this gal once saw Casey Donovan performing at the Glebe Markets and we became Facebook friends. Just checked, I’ve been culled. In semi-related news, WTF – Casey revealed in her biography Big Beautiful and Sexy last year that she was in love with a man for 6 years that never actually existed. Hook, line and catfishes!

Casey Donovan beat out pint-sized Italian Stallion Anthony Callea to win the second season of the show at the age of 16, making Casey our youngest ever Australian idol (although the win was overshadowed by show sponsor Telstra who ran full page ads in The Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph leading fans to, a gay porn site. WHOOPS.)

Casey found her place on stage and was a hit in the stage version of The Sapphires. She also auditioned for the movie version but unfortunately didn’t quite make the cut.

Lee Harding

Lee Harding did zero except for releasing a fucking great song called ‘Wasabi’ and became the poster child for wannabe emos everywhere for a brief time in 2006.

Believe it or not, ‘Wasabi’ debuted at #1 in the ARIA Singles Chart in December 2005, and remained at the top spot for five whole weeks. The banger was certified gold in the first week, and certified platinum in the second week. Lord have mercy.

Kate DeAraugo

No one actually cares about anything else except that Kate was charged with ‘eating and smoking’ ice and then jumping behind the wheel in Surry Hills earlier this year. Stayed tuned for Kate’s autobiography, ‘Confessions of a Fallen Idol’. I actually hope you are okay, Kate, and get the help you need.

Rob Mills

Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills became an actual Australian Idol when he hooked up with Paris Hilton. This is by far the best thing he has ever done and will ever do.

Rob was the hunk of Australian Idol. Millions of teenage girls everywhere had posters of him hung in their lockers. Again, only this fool? Rob’s career highlights include being on Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Apprentice and was the host of Channel 10’s Young Talent Time.

Like Casey, Rob has found his place on the Broadway stage (he’s basically has become a young Bert Newton) and has been cast in every single Australian stage show since 2008.

Millsy recently toured his autobiographical one man cabaret show, Surprisedly Good, where he bags the shit out of Shannon Noll and Guy Sebastian and dedicates Taylor Swift’s hit ‘I Know You Were Trouble’ to Paris Hilton.

The Sydney Morning Herald‘s review was unsurprisingly brutal: “I’ve rarely seen such lame and uncomfortable banter with an audience (Clunkers about premature ejaculation? Really?) and Mills needs to develop a more self-deprecating and likeable stage persona if he’s going to use his life post-Idol as grist to the mill of cabaret.”

Wes Carr

Wes Carr goes against everything I stand for. He wears fedoras, lives in Bondi and is strictly Paleo. Lord, give me strength.

Wes was pretty much the last Idol winner I remember and did actually have one good song called ‘You’, which was an ARIA #1. Same old story for Wes. He was dropped by Sony and released an album and EP independently and they bombed.

Wes now has a stellar rig, has shaved off his blonde locks, and is married to Charlotte Carr, the paelo diet guru who is also the voice behind some of your favourite KFC and Coca-Cola commercials.

Honourable Mentions

Matt Corby is legit a superstar.

Lisa Mitchell has a few bangers and is legit enough for people to forget she got her start on Idol.

Brooke ‘Owl Eyes’ Addamo is a legend. She’s got a hell of a voice and is currently touring the world with Flight Facilities.

Dean Geyer, the South African babe, was on Neighbours, dated a Veronica and made it big in Glee. Pretty huge stuff

Long live the Young Divas, Australia’s greatest pop girl band other than Bardot and Scandal’us of course.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine