The judges for the upcoming season of “Australian Idol” have been announced by Kyle Sandilands on his radio show.
Sandilands said he will sit alongside local music star Amy Shark as well as international personalities Meghan Trainor and Harry Connick Junior.
Both Sandilands and Connick Jnr. have appeared in the franchise before, with Sandilands starring in the local iteration’s panel back in 2005. He was dropped in 2009 amidst intense public backlash over a radio stunt on his then station 2Day FM.
Connick Jnr., meanwhile, appeared as a mentor on various seasons of “American Idol”, before officially joining as a judge in 2014 for Season 13. He remained on the panel until Season 15.
Both Trainor and Connick Jnr. are Grammy Award winners, while Shark has clocked up eight ARIA Award wins.
On his radio show on Wednesday morning when making the announcement, Sandilands acted as if he initially had not been keen to return to the franchise.
“So they’ve asked me to come back and I was like ‘Oh, I don’t know’, and then the big CEO took me to lunch, wined and dined me and 69’d me, and I said ‘Righto, mate’,” he said on Kiis FM.
He was more enthused in his statement from Channel 7, however, which came out soon after his on-air announcement.
“I’ve done all the shows over the years, pretty much all of them, but “Australian Idol” is the big one,” he said.
“We all know the stars that came out of Idol. We actually found someone to idolise in the music industry in Australia every year with Idol.”
Shark said: “I’m excited about the auditions. It’s going to be pretty special to find that diamond in the rough and then see how they progress through the show. Idol has changed the lives of so many artists in the past, so I’m excited to be part of that.”
Connick Jnr. said: “I’m looking forward to hearing all the new talent. I love the camaraderie with the judges, the excitement of the crowd and the fun of it all. I love the idea of musical competition; it forces performers to focus on a bunch of things that contribute to their development as artists.”
Trainor said: “Idol is an iconic show. I grew up watching it and I am honoured to be involved. I can’t wait to sit front row and meet new talent. I haven’t been to Australia since 2015, so I’m really excited to get to see the whole country and basically get to live there.”
The show will screen in 2023 with hosts Ricki-Lee Coulter, herself an Idol alumnus and Scott Tweedie.
The show was originally slated to return this year, as part of the Seven Network’s revival of various proven hits and nostalgic shows including “Big Brother” and “Farmer Wants A Wife” and nabbing “The Voice” from rival Nine.
It appears COVID delayed the program, and it will now go to air in 2023.
The show has begun casting with a cut-off age for contestants of 28, which has been met with some discontent from sectors of the music industry.