Crack a tinny, sew some corks onto your hat, grab a pie, mash it into a pavlova, smother the whole thing with tomato sauce and chuck it on the barbie while singing Khe Sanh because tonight on Idol is AUSSIE HITS NIGHT!
You know what that means? A two hour extravaganza of Barnesy, Farnesy and ... er... and... DAREN HAYES!
Yes, apparently the former singer of Savage Garden is "A true Australian legend" (that's if you ask Ken Doll and Monkey Boy and whoever writes their scripts, anyway) which is why he's joining us as tonight's superfluous fourth judge! The ghost of Holden is NOT amused.
"This is NOT shizzling my shemizzle, man."
Has Darren Hayes morphed into a muppet? Or maybe an accountant - that Lego man hairdo seems to suggest so. Maybe he's now a muppet accountant? He could do a fab rendition of One is the Loneliest Number with a few singing chickens on backing vocals, I bet.
If Savage Garden had looked like this, I would have bought their albums.
But enough of this celebrity primping, let's get on with the Oz-fest, and first up it's Fake Thanh Bui with... oh my god... yes... YESSSSSSSSSSS!
SLAM DUNK, THANH BUI! He might not have pulled out the Johnny Farnbuster for 80s night (despite my ranting) but Australia's very own Asian John Farnham has brought the GOODS to Aussie hits night.
Of course he sounds great, because he is John Farnham and all. Well, John Farnham with a headcold maybe. He's certainly got the I'm-singing-emotionally-about-staring-down-the-barrel-of-a-gun pained expression going OK. The crowd goes wild. Especially this guy:
Dicko criticses Thanh's performance of a John Farnham song for not being very "cool", which is sort of like criticising an ice cream for not being very hot. Marcia says she likes what Thanh's wearing - she obviously digs the amateur theatre stagehand look. As the guest judge Darren Hayes fulfils the superfluous "I'm proud of you" role, which everyone pretends to be interested in while instead thinking about when they might get off the couch and make a cup of tea, and Kyle tells Thanh to cut cheese off himself with a splayd, proving once and for all that the judges definitely do keep hallucinogens under the desk.
Over to Ricki Lee, who rather unfairly introduces Chrislyn as having chosen a "massive" song. Word choice, Ricki, it's all about word choice.
She's chosen Tina Arena's Chains. Darren doubts Chrislyn has it in her.
"She's probably got Tina Arena in her," scoffs Raoul Duke, who pipes up for the first time this evening.
"Chrislyn's actually quite hot," he continues. I concur.
It's such a pity then that she always looks like she's been dressed by the "After 5" section at Maggie T. Tonight's ensemble is a black sequinned sack and tight black leggings. FOR GOD'S SAKE, SHERIDAN, PUT HER IN A BLOODY V-NECK! Haven't Trinny and Susannah taught us anything? She does look better than Marcia though, who appears to be wearing the result of a Project Runway challenge in which the contestants were asked to manufacture "cabana wear" out of a circus tent.
Roll up, roll up...
"I'm in chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!" she screams in anguish. Upon reflection, that would have been a better outfit choice. Performance wise, she's sounding pretty dire, I have to say. Are the sequins sticking into her armpits? She's baying and moaning like a cow stuck in a barbed wire fence. Oh CHRISLYN how I used to love you so...
Marcia takes a few incomprehensible pills and says "Your music teacher said you are a very, very older than you are performer", although looking at Chrislyn's "ageing receptionist at the staff Christmas party" ensemble I can sort of see her point. Kyle says she tore it up, which just makes me wish she'd tear those clothes up instead, and then continues with a legendary backhander by saying Chrislyn probably "has a few people living inside her". LEAVE THE INSULTS TO ME, RADIO BOY. Dicko takes a few of Marcia's pills and says something about romantic novels, prompting Marcia to call Britney Spears "a ho" for no apparent reason. Realising he's finally been out-crazied, the ghost of Holden drifts off into the ether to ride out the rest of the show in the rafters.
Moving on to Tom "I don't know any Australian hits so I'll just choose Evermore" Williams, with Evermore's Light Surrounding You. Even though they're from New Zealand. On Aussie Hits Night.
We are not amused.
"This'll be no good," says Raoul, before Tom's even set foot on stage.
As Adelaide's finest launches into one of the most boring songs to ever come out of New Zealand, it strikes me how much he too looks like a muppet.
Tell me you see it too.
This performance is awful. I mean it's just awful. I have no patience for those who pronounce Ds as Ts. Especially ones who sing Evermore. Can someone lend him some bus money and send the poor thing home to do his algebra?
Darren asks him how he feels, as if anyone cares ("Oh I've got a bit of a gyppy knee today thanks Darren, but I reckon I'll be OK...") and Kyle reminds him (rather creepily) that he gave Tom a "slap around" last week because he was "overcooked". I put down my knife and fork and push my dinner plate away. Dicko says he knows Evermore are from New Zealand, but the judges have chosen to turn a blind eye to the fact. He then wishes good luck to Luke and Roshani who'll be doing songs from those great Aussie music legend U2 and Michael Jackson later in the evening. Marcia says "Don't believe the hype", which makes me wonder why Tom Thumb didn't have a go at Public Enemy instead. Why not, it's Aussie Hits Night!
In an attempt to wake everyone up from their Tom Williams induced coma, Monkey Boy asks the audience to give it up for Darren Hayes "who has given up his time to be here tonight."
"Yeah, like what else would he be doing?" scoffs Raoul.
"Arranging his sock drawer?" I suggest. Those things don't just arrange themselves.
Moving on to Teale "Accidental Port Power Supporter" Jakubenko, with Eskimo Joe's Black Fingernails, Red Wine.
"It's gotta have balls," Darren instructs. Hmm. Teale plus Darren Hayes plus Eskimo Joe plus balls... that's an equation not even Einstein could solve.
Teale starts the song and JESUS CHRIST...
I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU...
What the bloody christing fuck is that?! I assume that's Teale attempting his best Dean Geyer stare, but it's probably sent children all over the country running screaming from their living rooms. I can imagine this scene being enacted all over the country tonight:
MUM: Just go to sleep now honey.
KID: Can't sleep. Teale will eat me.
Performance wise - meh, it's OK. I'm mildly disappointed that he doesn't sing the line about not understanding the point of fingers, but more so that the whole thing is a bit talent quest dull.
As a side note - what's with all the Idols always wearing black and white every week? SHERIDAN TYLER I DEMAND YOU GET SOME CRAZY BACK UP IN HERE IMMEDIATELY. There's altogether too much restraint being shown this year.
"Straight dowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwn," sings Teale.
"That's where his career's going," guffaws Raoul.
Kyle says Teale's Dean Geyer stare reminded him of being tied up in the boot of his car, which makes me wonder what he gets up to with the Idols after each show. Dicko calls him a try hard, and Marcia tries to pretend that all the women of Australia think Teale is sexy by going "It didn't work for him because he's a MAN - mmmm HMM!". A tumbleweed rolls through the studio. Darren Hayes says he's "world class", and Teale is momentarily excited, and then remembers it's coming from Darren Hayes.
Moving right along to Roshani Priddis, who is showing off just how awesome she is by choosing a song no one under the age of 40 will know (except for me and Raoul, obviously) - Renee Geyer's Heading in the Right Direction.
It's a testament to Roshani's fabulousness that she can stand next to a piano draped in a crocheted tablecloth singing a song from 1975, and she still looks hot.
"I'd dine at her table," says Raoul, making unattractive smacking noises with his lips.
She sounds great, as usual. Actually, if I was being really critical (what, me?) I'd channel that black dude from American Idol and say say she's “a bit pitchy”. But damn, those legs!
Clearly distracted by the amazing expanse of leg Roshani is showing off, Dicko says something about paying dividends that may or may not be another link in the unfunny “banker from Sri Lanka” chain of gags he’s been fashioning since week one. Marcia says she can hear Roshani thinking – and she can see colours man, HEAPS OF COLOURS! Woah. Then she says “You don't need to think. Just go... fly... flyyyy darling”, a strange haiku to which the audience responds with an awkward silence. Kyle gives Roshani a really helpful piece of advice in “don’t get boring”. Roshani looks at her To Do list for next week and hastily crosses out “1. Get boring”.
Next up is Wes “Baby you can drive my” Carr, who once again is proving how authentic rock he is by eschewing the Powderfingers and Eskimo Joes of this world for The Easybeats and Friday on My Mind. Which of course will allow the judges to make all kinds of crazy gags about having Monday on his mind, and so on and so forth. Hooray.
The “training session” in the studio with Darren is completely unremarkable, but for the moment when one of the song’s writers turns up and Wes gets a glimpse into his future:
”I’m starting with the man in the mirror…”
Wes hits the stage in fancy dress as a scout attempting to earn his karaoke badge. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LOSE THE HAT, WES! Free those Pantene tresses and let them swing free in the breeze! But then the scout impression gives way to his usual ice addict impression as he does his jittery jumpy leg shaking all over the place.
I have a confession to make. I know Wes is the favourite and all, but I'm not sure if I'm still into the whole thing. I mean, sure, if I saw him playing at a pub I'd probably buy him a beer and say something like "You can have this if you stop playing All Along the Watchtower," but on the Idol stage I'm not so sure it's working anymore. Maybe he needs to swap that hat for some sequins and glitter, and the rock and roll for Robbie Williams. Yeah! That's the Idol I know and love!
Anyway, onto the predictably enthusiastic judges. Marcia screams "Yay" about five times and the people in the control booth get so excited the screen turns psychedelic for a few seconds. (Or maybe Wes' performance was so mind bendingly good, we've all been transported to a new dimension?) Marcia asks Wes to take his hat off, which is a skill he'll need to learn come Monday when he's voted off and he has to go busk for a living. Darren says "You remind me of Bono!" in an attempt to convince everyone that he moves in celebrity music circles. then he tells Wes he's "all behind him" - *insert obvious gay joke here*. Kyle tells him he dances like Forrest Gump (Was Forrest Gump an ice addict? I don't remember that) and Dicko calls him a walking iPod. So, all very helpful comments as usual.
"He's a rock star from the tip of his hat to the tip of his winkle," says Dicko, before adding "pickers".
In a completely surprising and out of the blue decision, Shearer Luke has chosen to do Cold Chisel's Flame Trees tonight.
"I was on tour and I lost my voice, and it FREAKED me out..." gushes Darren in their pre-preformance training session. Does anyone else think Mr Hayes is secretly Mr G?
Luke hits the stage and does his best Jimmy Barnes impression - and actually it's not bad. Pity this isn't Stars In Their Eyes or he'd probably win outright (not to mention the fact that we'd get to see him with a curly mullet wig on and clutching a bottle of vodka).
Darren says he has a soft spot for Luke, but neglects to mention if he would get behind him. Kyle says something boring about Luke's beard. Dicko quizzes him about drinking too much grog, which is kind of like Pete Doherty lecturing you about using too many Panadol. Marcia says something about Luke's instrument, and we're off and running into the next performance, by Sophie "I'm not a bad singer I'm just drawn that way" Paterson.
She's doing Don't Hold Back by The Potbelleez, because when you're looking at the history of Australian music and all its amazing hits, a shitty dance track from 2007 is the obvious choice. Why not Shuddupayaface, Sophie?
Darren Hayes decides a shitty dance track sounds better as a shitty ballad, so ironically Sophie's version of Don't Hold Back turns out to be holding back quite a lot.
"IS there anybody out theeeerrrrrre?" she wails. Yes Sophie - a whole lot of viewers putting down their mobile phones and picking up their remotes.
I'd like to say more about Sophie's performance, but I fell asleep about three bars in and only woke up when she started screeching "DOOOOON'T!" Don't vote? No problem.
Kyle says there's one bit in Sophie's voice that he finds irritating. I'm proud of him for narrowing it down to just one. Dicko tells Sophie she's not showing enough of herself - perhaps she could borrow Roshani's tablecloth dress next week? Marcia pops some more pills and declares "I like the other Sophie", before pouring her teddy bear a cup of tea and just for a change Darren says something completely inconsequential.
Next up is Mark "Too much Farnham is never enough" Spano with Age of Reason.
Mark's training session with Darren Hayes consists of them singing "fail" at each other over and over, which doesn't seem to be the most auspicious start, but he trundles on stage anyway with the enthusiasm of at least three chronic fatigue sufferers.
He's dressed in his best Ed Harry stonewash T shirt, which features a big empty frame on the front. What's that supposed to be? An abs frame? Or is it some weird existentialist fashion statement on the emptiness of trends? By the time I've worked out that actually it's just a cheap Ed Harry stone wash T shirt that means nothing, Mark has finished singing. Oh well.
Dicko says he's cruising and treading water, which is quite a feat when you think about it, Marcia asks if he's scared, Darren says something or other and Kyle says it was a piece of cake, all comments to which Mark responds with his usual Spano Stare. Can we have a price check on a personality, please? Price check...
Finally we roll into the home stretch with Madam "Personalit" Parker, so named because she doesn't actually have one, with The Veronicas' Hook Me Up.
For some reason Madam finds it difficult to pretend to be a slut for the purposes of the song, so Darren gives her some pointers. Onya Daz.
Out on stage, and - hang on, is she drunk? No really, is she? She can't still be on the Sudafed, that was a week ago! Seriously what is wrong with her? Every week she strolls out on stage and does some half arsed dance moves with her eyes half shut and the judges call her Christmas. This week it looks like she's reading the lyrics off the ceiling at the same time as trying to remember her dance moves.
Marcia asks Madam how it felt, to which Madam responds "Dangerous, he he he." Yes it was dangerous, Madam. DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO BEING UNWATCHABLE. Darren says it was hard for Madam to find her inner ho (with a name like Madam, are you serious?), Kyle says the word "ho" a few more times, and children all around the country start yelling "Ho! Ho! Inner ho!", a chant which will no doubt fill the nation's playgrounds on Monday. Dicko wraps up the dullfest by describing Madam's performance as being like Mother Theresa holding a lingerie party, which everyone pretends to understand.
And so concludes AUSSIE HITS NIGHT, with nary a swing version of Waltzing Matilda to be seen. Who will be chucked into the billabong tomorrow? Sophie Paterson, your schnitty's ready.