Last week, we looked at Australian Idol runner-ups, the ones that went on to be way, way more successful than the Idol winner themselves. Sometimes, though, you don’t need to reach the final two to achieve chart success. Let’s look at the finalists who never ever made it to that stage, but still crushed it (even for a short while), shall we?
Ricki-Lee Coulter (Season Two)
She was tipped to win, however, she came seventh. Despite the shock elimination, Ricki-Lee started her career on an indie label, paying ‘half the cost for videos like Can’t Touch It rather than go without something I wanted’. That song, by the way, was chosen to be used in the Sex and the City 2 movie trailer. After two years of not feeling ‘mentally there any more’, she revived her singing career and released another two albums and an EP, this time under a major label. On top of her singing career, Ricki-Lee replaced James Mathison’s spot on Idol, dabbled in breakfast radio and came third on last year’s Dancing with the Stars.
Lee Harding (Season Three)
Lee Harding was known for his food-related banger Wasabi, which, may I add, reached number-freaking-one on the Aussie music charts. SMFH. Plus, he told Adelaide Now he’s ‘still really proud of the song’. Double SMFH. Since coming third on Idol, he released an album, worked on his follow-up, but the major label dropped him Puberty Blues style. He hasn’t given up his singing career yet, fronting a band called The Patience Project. Their latest material on YouTube, however, was posted four years ago.
Dean Geyer (Season Four)
Dean Geyer scored the iconic touchdown from Mark Holden for his performance of I’ll Be. However, his performance wasn’t enough to reach the final two, losing to runner-up Jessica Mauboy and winner Damien Leith. He released an album, worked on his follow-up, but, like Lee Harding, was dropped from his label. Geyer packed his bags and headed down to Ramsay Street, where he starred in Aussie soapie Neighbours for a year. He packed his bags again, this time for America, where an acoustic rendition of JT’s Cry Me a River saw him score an acting gig in Glee. According to his Twitter, he’s in a ‘couple of episodes’ of a US TV show, also starring Jenny from the Block, AKA Jennifer Lopez, which is expected to air early next year.
Lisa Mitchell (Season Four)
The singer-songwriter from Albury, NSW, finished sixth on Idol. Add 10 and you’ll get her age when she experienced her taste of fame. Post-Idol saw the Coin Laundry singer release three EPs and two albums. Mitchell recently announced to her 16,000-something followers on her Instagram that she’s working on some sweet, sweet tunes in London. In the meantime, listen to her last single, Wah Ha, telling us it’s OK to not be OK. OK?
Although he never made it through the audition round, Joel Turner, who gave us #BeatboxingGoals, deserves a mention.
Cosima de Vito, who left Aussies shocked after withdrawing from the competition because of vocal nodules.
Paulini, who was advised by Dicko to ‘wear appropriate clothing or shed some pounds’ after wearing a gold dress. #Rude.
Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills, who has carved out a successful career in musical theatre.
By Ryan Bautista