Australian Idol: Everything you need to know about the judges

Australian Idol

The singing competition returns with new judges hoping to unearth a new generation of talented Australian artists

Australian Idol is back and set to premiere on Monday, 30 January at 7.30 pm on Seven and 7plus.

After 13 years off the air, the reality singing competition returns with the hope of unearthing a new generation of talented Australian artists.

A global success since 2001, the Idol franchise has launched the careers of many multi-award-winning Australian artists, including Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, Matt Corby, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Anthony Callea, Casey Donovan and Courtney Act.

International music icons Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert also launched their careers on the Idol stage.

Taking to the judging table in the new iteration of the show, produced for the Seven Network by Eureka Productions, are Harry Connick Jr, Meghan Trainor, Amy Shark and Kyle Sandilands.

Harry Connick Jr

Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr’s career spans multiple platforms in the entertainment world over the past three decades. He’s starred in live and recorded musicals, film and television and appeared on Broadway as both an actor and a composer.

Connick, who has sold millions of recordings around the world, also boasts Grammy and Emmy awards as well as Tony award nominations.
He is also no stranger to the judging panel, having served as a mentor on American Idol with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban from 2013 to 2016.
Connick said: “The amount of talent was what impressed me the most. So many great singers! It’s going to be really hard to pick a favourite.”

Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor

Meghan Trainor first made waves in 2014 wither diamond-certified smash single All About That Bass.

Since then, Trainor has proven herself as a formidable singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, having garnered a Grammy for Best New Artist, and achieved eight multi-platinum singles and two platinum albums, as well as received countless industry awards and nominations.

Trainor has also served as a judge on The Four: Battle for Stardom and The Voice UK.

Among her many hits is Dear Future Husband, NO, Me Too, and Like I’m Gonna Lose You. Her latest hit, Made You Look, is a smash on TikTok and which has garnered over 132 million streams worldwide.

As a judge, she said: “I always want to ensure I give constructive feedback smothered in kindness.”

Amy Shark

Amy Shark

Amy Shark became a household name across Australia in 2016 with the release of her breakout hit, six-time platinum single, Adore.

Shark followed this with her chart-topper, I Said Hi, which got her APRA Song of the Year-winning, six-time platinum and #1 Australian Airplay Chart hit.

Her debut 2018 album, Love Monster, was the #1 ARIA album and platinum-certified. It was also the highest-selling album by an Australian artist in 2018.

In 2020 Amy released her ARIA Award-winning, platinum-accredited single, Everybody Rise, from her 2021 sophomore album, Cry Forever, which became her second #1 ARIA debut.

Shark shared that she is looking for more than just a good voice. “We’re looking for the package. Unfortunately, gone are the days of just being able to sing. You have to be a likeable, talented and hardworking character to really make it in this business.”

Kyle Sandilands

Australian Idol

Kyle Sandilands

Radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands makes his return to the Australian Idol judging panel, having been a judge in the reality show’s first iteration from 2004 to 2009.

Since 2000, Sandilands has hosted the nationally syndicated Kyle & Jackie O Show, winning a record-breaking 48 Australian Commercial Radio Awards. With all that time on air, he knows what it takes for a hit to get lucrative radio airtime.

Sandilands also runs his own production and investment company, King Kyle, which has interests across music, television, radio, retail and tech. As one of Australia’s most high-profile and recognisable broadcasters brings his extensive and unique trademark of irreverence to the judging panel.

In his search for the next Australian Idol, Sandilands said he is focused on the bigger picture: “Can this performer become a superstar who’ll have commercial success? Are they good enough to sell out shows and have radio and streaming platforms begging them for new music?

“I know there’s a beauty to examining the artistry of music, but you can’t buy a house and a Lambo with artistry,” he said.

Marcia Hines

Australian Idol

Marcia Hines

Australian musical treasure and former Australian Idol judge Marcia Hines will also join the series as a special guest judge.’

She has released 22 albums, selling 2.6 million copies, and garnered countless chart-topping singles and multi-platinum records globally. Hines brings her experience to help nurture and develop the new generation of talent coming through Australian Idol.  

Hines said: “I’ve always thought constructive criticism is the way to go because that’s how I was taught coming up. The contestants are very brave because they are basically plucked from obscurity and placed in everybody’s living room. I know it’s not easy.”


Australian Idol

Ricki-Lee and Scott Tweedie

Meanwhile, Ricki-Lee Coulter – who was discovered on Australian Idol back in 2004 – will host the show alongside entertainment presenter and former E! host, Scott Tweedie.

Coulter said of her new hosting gig: “It was surreal but a full-circle moment. Australian Idol changed my life. For the last 18 years, I have travelled the world doing what I love and had dreamt of since I was a kid.

“I know what it’s like to go through this whole crazy process and I’m there to support the contestants through it. I want everyone to walk away from this experience having enjoyed it and learned something. If I can help them achieve that in any way, I feel like I’ve done my job,” she added.

Tweedie said of joining the franchise: “It was an iconic moment for so many reasons. On a personal level, I’d dreamt of hosting Australian Idol right back when I began my TV career.

“Then to my right on the stage was Ricki-Lee, Idol royalty. She is living proof of the type of career Australian Idol can produce.”

Top image left to right: Kyle Sandilands, Meghan Trainor, Amy Shark and Harry Connick Jr.

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