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The Australian Idol Original Top 12: Where are they now?

It's hard to believe it’s been 17 years since the first season of Australian Idol aired back in 2003.

Those were the days, when we used to use all of our phone credit to vote for Millsy and get overexcited when Mark Holden screamed 'Touchdown'.

While it'll make you feel old, check out what the inaugural Top 12 has been up to since getting eliminated from Idol.

Mathew Chadwick

Before auditioning for Australian Idol, Mathew Chadwick was entertaining fans at Warner Brothers Movie World as Fred from Scooby Doo. Unfortunately, the blonde 20-year-old was the first contestant booted out of the top 12 after singing ‘If’ by ‘Bread'.

After Idol, Matt declined an offer from Sony/BMG to join popular boy band ‘Mercury 4’, instead opting to pursue a solo career. The Queenslander returned to university to hone his craft, studying a Bachelor of Music.

Since graduating university, Mathew has travelled the world, performing in Japan, Dubai, London and the US. He has appeared in productions and written and composed music for children’s theatre. He moved to New York in 2011 and in 2013 released his debut EP, Undefined.

In 2012, he also became a regular cast member on ‘TMZ on TV’, as well as becoming a TMZ Guide on the TMZ New York City Tour. Funnily enough, Matt was hired by Mattel to be the official ‘Ken’ of ‘Barbie and Ken’.

Peter Ryan Peter Ryan was quick to become known as Pete the pig farmer...He definitely had an interesting job at the piggery, in charge of the mating. The then 27-year-old’s voice was often compared to a young John Farnham; however, he was voted off after Mathew in the first round of eliminations.

Interestingly, he was set to perform ‘What About Me’ in the upcoming Australian episode of the show, but his elimination allowed Shannon Noll to sing the song and the rest they say, is history.

Since leaving Idol, Pete performed as Banjo Paterson in the North Coast National Arena Spectacular in his hometown of Bonalbo. Other than that appearance, he seems to have dropped off the entertainment radar.

Cle Wootton

Australian Idol wasn’t the first time Cle Wootton appeared on our TV screens. The Western Australian singer was also an actress, appearing in ‘Neighbours’ at just four-years-old and then as Spencer in ‘Ship to Shore’ in 1993.

At 17-years-old she gave birth to her daughter, Taeana, who was just four-years-old when her mum appeared on the first series of Australian Idol. Want to feel old? Taeana is now 21-years-old! At 22-years-old, Cle auditioned for Australia Idol and made it to tenth position, getting eliminated after singing, ‘That’s the way Love Goes’ by Janet Jackson.

After Idol, Cle has gone on to perform in a variety of musicals including ‘Gabba Gabba Hey’, ‘Hair’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Priscilla the Musical’, ‘Matilda the Musical’ and most recently in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’.

Now going by Cle Morgan, in 2012 she shared with the world she had found love with a woman for the first time. It was love at first sight for her and her partner, Nicole Karro, who with the help of Hairspray co-star, Sam Gaskin, had a baby.

Lauren Buckley

At just 17-years-old, Lauren Buckley was the baby of the Top 12. Lauren was kicked off the reality show after signing ‘Lady Marmalade’. Sadly, her elimination was memorable as she broke down crying during her farewell song. Fortunately, her fellow Idol contestants, led by Cle, helped her sing the rest of the song.

Since her time of the hit show, Lauren has fallen out of the spotlight. After stalking her name across Google and social media, it was impossible to find any news about the now 34-year-old. We’re guessing, she’s gotten married and changed her last name!

Kelly Cavuoto

Known as ‘The Rock Chick’, Kelly Cavuoto stood out from her fellow contestants, covering harder edge rock songs. Finishing in eighth place on the show, Kelly went on to co-host Channel Ten’s ‘Video Hits', alongside fellow Idol contestant, Axle Whitehead. However, she was forced to resign later that year, after allegedly getting intoxicated at the Nickeloden Kid’s Choice Awards and causing a scene. Kelly is believed to have hurled abuse at Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, whenever he appeared on a TV screen as the awards night.

According to Wikipedia, the now 39-year-old recently adopted a Vietnamese orphan after visiting the country on a charity mission for the WWF. A Facebook stalk revealed, she also has a six-year-old son.

Photo of Kelly and her son in 2015 from Kelly's Facebook

Rebekah LaVauney

What made Rebekah LaVauney stand out from the pack of contestants was the meaning she injected into her singing. Born in Papua New Guinea, Bek was adopted by missionaries and at 10-years-old moved to New Zealand. She left home to join New Zealand Gospel group ‘Iron and Clay’ and then toured Asia as a back-up singer for Swoop. The single-mum of two, then moved to Sydney and spent the year before Idol living in a women’s refuge.

Bek performed a standout cover of ‘Heading in the Right Direction’ by Renee Geyer before getting eliminated from the show. After Idol, Rebekah went on to release an EP featuring the song, as well as a collaboration with Joel Turner and the Modern-Day Poets called ‘Behind Bars’ and her only commercial release entitled 'Chapter 1'. She also dabbled in acting, starring as the lead in short film, ‘Aliya’.

Not a lot is known about what Rebekah has been up to recently, but judging by her Facebook she is loving life with her boys, Filip and Terrance.

Rebekah and her son in 2018 from Rebekah's Facebook

Levi Kereama

At 22, Levi Kereama made a name for himself on Australian Idol for his smooth RnB voice. He made it to sixth place on the hit show, eliminated after signing ‘Every Little Step’ by Bobby Brown.

After the show, he returned to the RnB group he formed with his brothers, Jules, Ezra and Lane, called Lethbridge. The group’s debut single, ‘In My Room’, debuted in the ARIA Australian Top 40 Singles in 2004 and they went on to support Boyz 11 Men on their Australian Tour.

Tragically, Levi passed away from suspected suicide in October 2008. The 27-year-old had just performed at Brisbane’s Parklife Festival and returned to his hotel room, before falling from the balcony. It is believed he was struggling with depression. Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, who was close with Levi on the show, performed at the singers’ funeral.

For anyone, who is struggling please called Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Rob Mills

Girls hearts broke all over the nation when the heartthrob was eliminated in fifth place. Those hearts, fractured for a second time, when news broke the 21-year-old had hooked up with socialite, Paris Hilton.

The Melbourne pub signer went on to sign a record deal with BMG and released an album, ‘Up All Night’, which debuted in the top 40.

Millsy hasn’t been far from our TV screens since his Idol exit, appearing on ‘The Mint’, ‘Celebrity Apprentice Australia’, ‘Winner’s and Losers’, ‘Underbelly: Razor’, ‘Young Talent Time’, ‘Neighbours’ and most recently as the Wolf on ‘The Masked Singer’.

He’s also been in his fair share of musicals including ‘Grease’, ‘Hair’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.

Rob is now dating ABC journalist, Georgie Tunny.

Paulini Curuenavuli

Who could forget the moment when ‘Paulini Curuenvuli was fat-shammed’ on national television by Dicko for that wearing that infamous gold dress? There’s no way those cruel comments would fly now, but it became an iconic part of reality TV history.

After finishing fourth on Australian Idol, Paulini signed a recording contract with Sony Music Australia. Her debut album, ‘One Determined Heart’, topped the ARIA Charts, resulting in two ARIA awards. Paulini went on to release a Christmas album and was the support act from Human Nature and Guy Sebastian.

In 2006, Paulini released her second album, ‘Superwomen’, before joining former Australian Idol contestants Ricki-Lee Coulter, Emily Williams and Kate DeAraugo in the ‘Young Divas’. She left the group and went on to release five independent singles, as well as a third solo album.

Surprisingly in 2017, Paulini was in the spotlight for a very different recent. The singer was found guilty of bribing a government employee to receive a driver’s licence. The then 37-year-old pleaded guilty and received a six-month suspended jail term. Paulini explained to the court, her failed album release had cost her her life savings and she had been involved in a domestic violence situation.

Fortunately, the talented singer has landed back on her feet, appearing as the lead in ‘The Bodyguard Musical’, as well as on ‘The Masked Singer’ as the Spider.

Cosima De Vito

Cosima De Vito shocked fans, when she dramatically announced she was leaving the competition because of nodules on her vocal cords. In 2018, Cosima revealed she actually wanted to release a press statement, but the producers wouldn’t allow it, and she was forced to quit on live TV.

In the same interview, Cosima also said she didn’t have time to form friendships with her fellow contestants. However, Guy Sebastian called BS on the claims saying Cosima’s competitive nature drove some people away and she was more focused on the competition, rather than forming friendships.

After Cosima’s vocal cords recovered, she signed with an independent record label. With the release of her cover single ‘When the War is Over’ she debuted at number one, becoming the first independent artist to do so. Cosima went on to release a gold selling self-titled album, as well as second album called, “This is Now’. Despite her musical success, Cosima’s career was marred with legal issues with her management team, which she lost in 2009.

At 41-year-old, Cosima and her husband Augusto welcomed daughter Amelia in 2018.

Shannon Noll

It didn’t take long for country boy, Shannon Noll and his ‘flavour saver’, to become household names. Since being announced runner up at the Opera House 17-years-ago, Nollsie has always been Australia’s favourite ‘robbed national treasure’. A long-running joke that Shannon deserved to win, has now become an internet sensation.

After leaving the show, Shannon married his wife Rochelle and the couple have three sons together.

Despite coming second, Shannon is one of the most successful singers to come out of the reality show. He’s released five albums, with his first single, ‘What About Me’, going platinum four times, as well as being 2004’s highest selling single in Australia.

However, Nollsie has had his fair share of controversy, including getting arrested for drink driving in 2004 and also getting arrested in 2017 for assaulting a bouncer at Adelaide’s Crazy Horse strip club.

In 2018, fans were left reeling again when he was runner up of ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’.

When Nollsie isn't singing, he's at the gym getting buff AF.

Guy Sebastian

He's come a long way since his 'Go the Fro' days. The inaugural Australian Idol winner is arguably one of the most successful singers from the reality show.

He’s had six number one singles and two number one albums, with more than 20 platinum single sales.

After Idol he is rumoured to have dated Delta Goodrem, before rekindling things with long-term girlfriend, Jules. The pair are now married and have two beautiful boys together.

Guy made Australia proud in 2015, when he became the first artist to represent the nation on Eurovision song contest.

In 2019, Guy returned to his reality TV roots but this time on the other side as a coach on ‘The Voice Australia’.


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