Marcia Hines reveals what it’s really like working with Kyle Sandilands on Australian Idol

"He gets away with murder!"
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Marcia Hines is happiest when she’s busy. When New Idea catches up with the disco icon, she’s pottering around her home and making appointments left, right and centre after giving herself a rare lie-in until 8:30am (she’s typically up between 4:30am and 5am).

“Right now, I’m talking to you and I’m folding clothes,” Marcia tells us over the phone. “No-one folds my clothes for me darling!”

WATCH: Marcia looks back on Australian Idol and discovering OG winner Guy Sebastian. Article continues after video.

Having just finished up a national tour with her band, Marcia, 70, is currently treading the boards in Melbourne as Teen Angel in a new revival of Grease. Her Russian Blue cat Sistah has accompanied her to Melbourne, as she does everywhere Marcia travels, and the singer freely admits the feline is “totally spoilt”.

“I always get an apartment and it’s great to open the door and there’s someone waiting for you,” she shares.

Along with appearing in Grease, Marcia is returning to our small screens from January 29 for Channel Seven’s new season of Australian Idol, which is the reason for our chat. As one of the franchise’s original judges, Marcia is “stoked” to be back on the panel, this time alongside Kyle Sandilands and Amy Shark.

Australian Idol 2024 judges Kyle Sandilands, Marica Hines and Amy Shark.
Marcia is excited to be on the judging panel with Kyle and Amy. (Credit: Channel Seven)

“Kyle keeps us laughing, he’s just so bloody irreverent,” Marcia says. “I’ll slap him once in a while and say ‘Kyle you can’t say that’ and he cracks up!

“Kyle gets away with murder, because he’s Kyle Sandilands. But as long as you’re not hurting anybody, I’m cool with it.”

Never one to mince his words, Kyle, 52, infamously told last year’s contestant 18-year-old Harry Hayden that they were “missing” skill. 

He also recently boasted on his radio show that he was making “over a million dollars for three months work” on Australian Idol. When we bring up the topic of equal pay for equal work with Marcia, she is firm that she “doesn’t talk about money”. She insists it has never been an issue during her career as she has “been my own boss” and runs “my own ship”.

Marica Hines
The judge says it’s important that the contestants remain “good people”. (Credit: Corrie Bond, Australian Women’s Weekly)

Australian Idol has always been close to Marcia’s heart, and she teases that she has been “incredibly impressed” with this year’s contestants.

“They’re just doing what I’ve been blessed to be able to do for a living, and it’s not an easy gig,” she admits. “Amy and I talk amongst ourselves and go, ‘Would you get up on stage and do this [audition]?’ I don’t know that I’d do it.”

Marcia explains that when Australian Idol began 20 years ago on Network 10, social media was “just coming up”. She describes it now as “a monster” that puts pressure on the contestants and other young musicians.

Original Australian Idol hosts Mark Holden, Marica Hines and Ian Dickinson
Marcia first hosted with Mark Holden and Dicko.

“In many ways, it’s important that you do your social media, but keep it real. Don’t bulls–t the public because they’ll totally work it out,” she advises. “Be sincere, be gracious, be grateful, and treat people the way that you want to be treated.’

“Those are all the things that I learned as kid, and  I take them with me every day. It’s important to be a good person.”

It’s something Marcia strives to be every day.

“People don’t come up to me to say nasty things. They come up to tell me how my music has touched them in some way and as a musician, you pray for that,” she shares. “You hope that the music you make becomes a tapestry of people’s lives. And there’s no better gift than that.”

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