Where Are They Now: The ‘Australian Idol’ Contestants You Actually Haven’t Thought Of In Yonks
There’s no debating Australian Idol was beyond iconic in the ’00s. Every Sunday night was the time to sit down, tune in with your fam, and listen to your faves belt out some classic tunes.
Now we all know original winner Guy Sebastian is still releasing music and spinning his big chair on The Voice. We’re aware Shannon Noll resurfaced a few years ago as a meme and is still touring relentlessly.
Lee Harding will forever be known for ‘Wasabi‘ but is having his second shot at fame on The Voice. And Jess Mauboy continues to turn everything she touches to gold, while Casey Donovan has won I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and will return to our screens to host Catfish Australia.
But what about the ones we haven’t heard from for a while, perhaps because they’ve stopped making music or perhaps because they’ve simply slipped under the radar?
We did a deep-dive on some of our favourite, and never really forgotten, Australian Idol contestants to see what they’re up to now.
Remember that beatboxing kid from the very first season of Aus Idol? Joel Turner impressed the judges but didn’t actually make it past auditions. He later signed to Mark Holden’s label with his band Joel Turner & The Modern Day Poets and their song ‘These Kids’ was pretty damn successful.
In 2007 Joel suffered a broken jaw after an altercation at a house party and later took the matter to court, where he stated that the impact of the injury left him unable to tour his second album as extensively as he wanted.
In his most recent news, Joel’s Facebook page shows he is currently crowdfunding in order to make a new album.
Cosima De Vito
Who could forget Cosima and her nodules’ dramatic exit all those years ago? Cosima voluntarily left the competition in third place during the first season of Australian Idol due to a condition with her nodules that required her to rest her voice.
Boy, it was dramatic.
After that mishap, Cosima went on to release music and her debut album Cosima debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts. She also released a second album in 2007.
In more recent times she’s got married, had a baby and pops up on the Morning show from time to time to sing some tunes.
Last year she gave an interview where she spilt some Idol tea saying she was told not to perform ‘When The War Is Over’ during the show because it was a Cold Chisel song and there was doubt a ‘girl’ could sing it. Ironically, her cover of the song went on to debut at No.1 on the ARIA charts.
He stole the hearts of many around the nation during his Idol time and, of course, there was that highly publicised ~moment~ with Paris Hilton back in the day. But since Idol, Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills has kept fairly busy around the Australian entertainment circuit, doing everything from TV hosting, appearing on Dancing With The Stars and The Celebrity Apprentice and busting his chops on stage in the Australian productions of Grease, Wicked, Legally Blonde and Ghost The Musical among others.
If that wasn’t enough, he also currently plays Finn Kelly on Neighbours.
Is Millsy our least-appreciated but busiest Idol alum to date? Very possibly.
Amali was only 16 when she appeared on Season 2 of Australian Idol. She made the top 10 before being eliminated and later went on to release a self-produced EP, touring Australia and playing festivals such as East Coast Blues & Roots and The Southern Roots.
Since then Amali has appeared in TV commercials for US department stores, toured as a support act for Seal, appeared on a guest role on Neighbours and she also auditioned for The X-Factor in 2014.
She now goes by her married name, Amali Golden, and has taken to acting, most recently appearing in The Other Guy, Thor: Ragnarok and in 2019’s Bloom.
Dan appeared on Season 2 of Idol but his time was short-lived, leaving the competition in 11th place. After the show Dan launched an acting career, playing Ned Baker on Neighbours from 2005-2008 and joined the cast of British soap Hollyoaks from 2011-2012.
After some stints on other TV shows, it appears O’Connor is now living his best life in LA, working as a trainer for Training Mate, a high-intensity workout program with an Aussie twist.
James was eliminated in seventh place in the third series of the show, which was later won by Kate DeAraugo. His debut single ‘Love 2 Love’ landed at No. 22 on the ARIA charts in 2006 and, boy oh boy, is the video worth a rewatch.
Wow, the ’00s, amirite?
His last musical update was over two years ago, with his music page on Facebook linking back to this Instagram post:
Dan England made the top four before he was kicked out in favour of that scoundrel Lee Harding. People even went as far as to say that Dan’s home state QLD was at a disadvantage for voting for him due to daylight savings and QLD having one less hour to vote.
Random trivia aside, since Idol Dan has undertaken numerous musical ventures, touring with Shannon Noll and playing a record number of live shows on his own national tour in 2008-2009 which lasted 15 months.
In his most recent social media activity (Jan 2018) Dan celebrated getting his brown belt.
While Emily placed runner-up in her season of Australian Idol, she saw great success with the Young Divas for a couple of years there (who could forget such an iconic band?!).
When the Young Divas were no more, Emily focused on her solo career, releasing her debut solo album in 2012. She later made her musical theatre debut in 2017 for The Bodyguard where she was an understudy for former Young Diva/Aus Idol alum Paulini.
Williams continues to perform to this very day, as shown on her Instagram.
Bobby was one of the more eccentric performers Australian Idol saw in its time but was a huge favourite amongst fans and critics alike. Bobby appeared on Season 4 of the show alongside Dean Geyer, Jessica Mauboy and (eventual winner) Damien Leith.
Since his time on Idol he released his own music and toured around Australia, but these days it looks like Bobby is pretty content with being a family man.
I’m not kidding when I say over the years I randomly think of Ben McKenzie’s performance of ‘Hide and Seek’ and wonder WTF happened to him.
The answer? While it doesn’t seem like he’s up to a whole lot musically, he’s creating some pretty epic art and transformations, which you can witness here as well as on his Instagram.
Natalie Gauci took out the title of THE Australian Idol in 2007, beating Matt Corby. But while Corby is still a household name, what happened to Gauci?
It felt like Gauci disappeared after the release of her winner’s single ‘Here I Am’ and she later said she felt like she ‘lost’ who she was and wanted her soul back.
Since then she became a fitness instructor (and even trained Dicko!) and she now uploads her own meditation videos, self-help books and tutorials online, via her website and YouTube.
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2020 has started with the best days of my life. Today was beach day and we had a blast! I haven't talked about my son much on social media. I'm a private person when it comes to my enjoyments in life. I like to live them without bragging about it or sharing everything, there are some things I just like to keep close to my heart. These things are usually the people I care about the most. Experiences that I live, do and be, that make me who I am that I either keep to myself or share in our extended family what's app group. And that's as far as it goes. I'm not sure if it has something to do with me becoming famous and learning how important privacy is… because it gets taken away.. or whether it is just in my nature as I've matured.. either way, it's become a part of me. On that note, please meet my son Jedidiah Leonardo Gauci sitting in his baby tent with me (I just fit in it.. barely lol) on Elwood beach. He is a champion. Strong inside and out and I love him to bits. My aunty bought him these UV sun glasses and he looks super cute my cousins said this pic is a mandatory post, and I must say, I agree! We both send our love and say Happy New Year to you all! Love is really all we need. The meaning of love has gotten so much stronger and deeper for me this year. My spirituality is connecting with the physical form and I'm learning how to connect them to really feel a sense of joy and bliss. It comes from the excitment of having a new purpose and a new deep found love. Peace and love to you all on this first week of what I believe to be one of the best years to come, for ALL of us. Love Nat x #abundance #love #beach #preciousmoments #treasure #summertime #bliss happiness
Marty was the contestant on Season 5 that was described by the judges as being ‘lazy’, something that he himself agreed to. Yet, he made it to 4th place before being booted off.
These days Marty can be seen gigging around the South Coast and keeping it relatively chill.
Carl was the smooth-crooning jazz guy from Season 5 who made it to the top three. He released two albums post-Idol and later on formed the band West Juliet.
His LinkedIn now states he works as a Pilot for Qantas.
2008 for Idol was a year that, well, no one really remembers to be honest. Wes Carr won, but can you name any other contestants in the top 12? Exactly.
Luke Dickens was actually runner-up for this season and was our Shannon Noll 2.0 — a country boy who taught himself how to sing and play guitar.
These days Luke is still playing music and touring his new album After The Rain.
Roshani was another phenomenal voice lost to the season that was 2008 but also went on to star in The X-Factor.
She’s still gigging and singing to this very day and also had her beautiful story of reuniting with her mother shared on an episode of 60 Minutes.
Hayley Warner placed second when Stan Walker took out the last ever Australian Idol in 2009. While Stan’s stayed in the public eye, Hayley seemed to fly under the radar for a while after the release of her debut single ‘Good Day’. But she’s kept busy behind the scenes writing songs for JoJo, Tori Kelly, Tina Arena and even Nickelback.
Her 2015 track ‘Closure’ saw Hayley return to the mic as well.
Most recently it was revealed Hayley co-wrote Katy Perry’s latest single ‘Never Really Over’.