Scott, To Be Certain


Thursday, September 13, 2007

S2BC's Top 20 All-Time Australian Idol Performances: No. 4

4. Anthony Callea, "The Prayer" (Season 2, Top 7)

The appearance of this song in the countdown might be coming a little early for some die-hard Anthony supporters, but let's be clear (or callea, if you will): despite its much-lauded initial reception and the record-smashing success of the subsequent single, this performance is not the best in the show's history. It's precisely 3 places behind that honour, as we will see.

That being said, however, it is still a phenomenal and memorable piece of television, and thoroughly deserving of a Top 5 finish here.

Whether you adore this tiny, stumpy-fingered, over-polished little outer suburban gay or prefer to will all evidence of his existence from your lives, there are some irrefutably amazing qualities on display in this performance: a mind-blowing vocal, with everything from strong, beautiful tenor tones through to a rare (for him) falsetto; ingenious song selection, showing careful insight into his own strengths and a skilful understanding of his target market; a brilliant arrangement, marrying what was previously a bilingual duet into a seamless unit; the sheer emotion Anthony manages to wring from the song, building it unforgettably to two killer pay-off notes in particular, without resorting to the wet, soapy, mannered histrionics which marred every one of his performances before and after; and the way he keeps most of his off-putting performance idiosyncracies at bay, investing instead in the song's sentiment and channelling the operatic elements which made the Bocelli & Dion original such a success.

Anthony didn't win, and for good, just reason. But boy, this performance is still a cracker, and I'd be lying if I said it still doesn't give me goosebumps.

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  • At 12:34 PM, September 13, 2007, Anonymous Ben said…

    SCOTT - I'm so proud of you - I was seriously sensing a #1 finish for this in my waters. You're right - it's great, but not the best - this spot seems like a good spot (though I'd probably put it at 6 behind Chanel and Casey). Nice work. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this countdown... bring on the rest!

  • At 1:03 PM, September 13, 2007, Blogger Woodsman said…

    yes PROUD is definitely the word here. I am surprised he slipt behind an anticipated OMG Cosima in the top 5, but thoroughly pumped he didnt make your top 3.

  • At 1:57 PM, September 13, 2007, Blogger Scott said…

    Ben & Woodsman - happy to see that the first couple of responses are favourable! Waiting for the backlash...

    Woodsman, I also love your newly invented past participle for "slip" - very economical.

  • At 7:31 PM, September 13, 2007, Blogger Kamikaze Camel said…

    This is a good think, Scott.

  • At 8:12 PM, September 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Scott - as ever, you have gotten it bang on target with this. The Prayer is a brilliant performance, but it lacks the sincerity of the performances I would rate above it.

    I hereby predict as the top 3 (in no particular order):

    Casey - Beautiful
    Cosima - When the War is Over
    Guy - Climb Every Mountain

    I'm not saying those are the best 3 necessarily, but they are all close to it, and all would be shameful exclusions from your top 20.

    Viva S2BC!


    ps. my word verification is 'dureex' - is that like a condom that smells? (sorry)

  • At 6:09 PM, October 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    is there really any need to refer to him as "little outer suburban gay"??? Why not just refer to him as an outer suburban gUy?

    I love your blog, have enjoyed reading it, it's bringing back some fabulous memories, but that one line irked me.

    Looking forward to reading the rest though

  • At 7:19 PM, October 10, 2007, Blogger aslongastheycansing said…

    Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear your bias is so obvious it is almost palpable. No prizes for guessing who your favourites are as it is just so obvious and having to result to insults is always a dead giveaway. I would not even atempt to do a poll like this because Anthony's performances would fill just about every position simply because he has the best voice and because of that I am biased and I admit it. I am not biased about the voice but about the artist because of it. In any honest poll though this performance is the No.1 fight it all you like. Apart from it's award winning accolades when released, apart from Pavarotti's personal standing ovation for it when Anthony sang it for him all of which was after the idol season. So apart from that - at the time radio Australia's report about it catapulting around the world read that it had become the most watched 4 minutes of musical television since Michael Jackson sang 'Billie Jean' at the Motown 25th Anniversay. That's the most watched piece of television around the world and not just little old Australia so there is no contest really is there.

  • At 11:27 AM, October 11, 2007, Anonymous Georgia said…

    Can I first just say Scott your rankings are completely your choice and I don’t have a problem with that in the least, everyone has different taste in Music and what touches them personally. If you feel you have upset Anthony fans because of the placing you are wrong. It is the way you describe him in your opening your bias shines through. Why wouldn't you have just said why you enjoyed the performance and hence your placement,without personal attacks, I don't see you describing others by bringing their Looks, Body Image, Race or mannerism's so why describe Anthony the way you have. So I think you and Casey’s fans have lost the point on why they were "initially upset", which then went onto the discussion about where we would place it and why and that we and thousands of others believe it was the greatest performance of all time, again that’s our choice. The discussion is so old and don't really know why your blog was posted on Anthony's forum in the first place???, the person who posted it could only have only done so expecting to receive the reaction they did, as we would never had seen it in the 1st place had it not been deliberately posted to invoke upset and more hits on your blog.

    There is no animosity 3 years on, only what people perceive, I for one don't care that Anthony didn't win as his burgeoning career is just getting bigger & better and Casey is getting on with her career as well. You will find a lot of people did/do like both, but its blogs like these that keep some sort of rivalry going for whatever reason.
    You obviously haven't followed Anthony's career or been to any of his concerts which have had rave reviews, but going by your blogs, unlikely that you will, but just be respectful that Casey & Anthony were mates.
    See your blog would have been fine without the personal attacks and Casey fans as you are enjoying this I happen to think she is a talented young lady and wish her well in her future career. She appears to be on the comeback which is good.
    I actually also think that Casey fans need to get past it, not the other way around, as "Anthony should have won" doesn't get mentioned on his forum, unless some people just come along and stir up old old old ground.

  • At 1:29 PM, October 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You make some valid points about the mannerisms used by Anthony during that time. But aside from that minor point, there's no doubt in my mind that Anthony's voice, pitch, mastery of timing / phrasing and telling the story through song is outstanding in this performance, as in many of his others on idol.
    I challenge your statement that all the other performances were soapy - only a couple of the earlier ones may have been. But surely we can't get much soapier than Guy's "Angels brought me here" or some of Damien's falsetto wobbly-voiced offerings....

    Along with others, I don't appreciate the outer suburbs gay comment (I suggest you get a life and grow up. Such prejudice spoils your otherwise reasonable assessment.

  • At 8:59 PM, November 05, 2007, Anonymous Unbiased said…

    Of course this in YOUR opinion as a world what was it you do again to make you such an expert??? Your bias and dislike is palpable, so therefore can't see how you could make an open-minded unprejudiced judgement.
    But hey I guess its just your opinion and if it makes you feel better, then go for it.


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