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EXCLUSIVE: Australian Idol’s Harry Hayden shares how they deal with online hate

"I've been forced to show myself love and be really compassionate towards myself because of a lot of the harsh comments from people online."
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At just 18 years old, Harry Hayden has a strong sense of who they are. Making it to Australian Idol’s Top 10 (which is no easy feat), the young artist has taken every Idol task in their stride.

First impressing judge Amy Shark by possessing “Troye Sivan vibes”, the performer has continued to capture viewers with their vocal talent and impeccable style.

WATCH: Harry Hayden on Australian Idol. Article continues after video.

Crediting singing as their outlet for processing emotions, Hayden has enjoyed every step of their Idol journey.

Upon entering the Live Shows however, the singer has admitted nerves started to get the better of them. Subject to some blunt feedback from Kyle regarding singing “skill”, the performer has continued to remain grounded and diplomatic throughout the show. Meghan Trainor, on the other hand, has been a consistent fan of Hayden’s work.

With a varied judging panel and audience demographic, the singer has shared how they stayed level-headed amongst the Idol chaos. We sat down with Harry following their exit to discuss their personal development on the show, newfound independence, and best judging advice they received.

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Harry says they’ve learnt a lot while participating in Idol. (Credit: Channel Seven/Instagram)

How are you feeling, Harry? Are you satisfied with your Australian Idol journey?

So satisfied. It’s definitely not a lose, it’s a win for me and I’m grateful to have made it very far. I wouldn’t wish for it any other way – no regrets.

I’m so, so grateful. I wasn’t lying on the show, I genuinely think it’s been the best experience of my life. It was definitely getting hard towards the end, though. Like, a lot of work, a lot of long, long days so I’m excited to just put my feet up and do nothing for once.

Congratulations on making it so far! In terms of your Idol journey, as we’ve seen, you definitely didn’t have it easy when it comes to feedback. What was your mindset when receiving these critiques?

In the Top 50 there was actually a lot of slandering that was happening to the contestants that wasn’t shown. It was [essentially] telling contestants straight up that they weren’t good enough and just really honest critiques. [When seeing this] I thought to myself, ‘Okay, you’ve got to expect this and not take it too personally because they don’t know the full extent of who you are. They don’t know you to your core so don’t take what they say and make that your whole identity.’

There was that mindset from the start. I needed to make sure that I protected my heart a little bit in this process. Because I was so open on the show about who I was, about my sexuality and about, like, everything. It was important for me to protect myself a bit, because there’s obviously going to be a lot of hate that comes with that.

That’s a great attitude to have! Regarding your singing career post-Idol, is there anything you’re planning on?

There’s probably still a bit that I’d like to figure out but I’ve been writing music since I was really young. I love writing and that’s how I process things.

I’m more of a songwriter than a cover singer so I’m excited to see what that produces. I taught myself how to produce at the start of COVID and I’ve been making quite simple songs and releasing a few for the past few years. I’m really excited to start professionally making my own music and working with people because I have so much material that I’m ready to work on. This experience has motivated me to work 10 times harder on my music and keep going.

WATCH: Harry Hayden performs ‘Black and Gold’. Article continues after video.

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How about your relationships with the other contestants? Is there anyone you’re particularly cheering on?

Genuinely, all of them are such good people, which is so rare. I’m saying that with all honesty and from the bottom of my heart. It’s crazy because you wouldn’t expect people who are so talented to be so humble and so lovely and accepting and kind to one another but they are so supportive to everyone who has been on the Idol journey so far. I’m just rooting for all of them. You know, I think Noora is incredible. I think Royston’s incredible. I think Anya is so unique and incredible. I got really close with Josh, I think he’s amazing. It’s so impossible to choose one, I love them all.

And your connections with the judges? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from them?

I really commend Harry Connick Jr. He really scared me at first because he is so smart, so knowledgeable, and so famous… But, he gave me a chat at the end of my time on the show and it was really, really heartfelt and really lovely. He basically just said, ‘Keep going, don’t take the negative critiques to heart, this is a subjective competition so don’t think you’re bad or anything like that. Keep going, keep working.’ And he told me that he loved me and to stay humble. That was just the best.

Amy was also really lovely and had faith in my future and really saw the vision. I think the best feedback she gave me was to keep working on my vocals and keep working on my songs which I’m definitely going to do.

That’s really lovely advice! Speaking of things you’ve learnt from your experience, what’s your biggest takeaway from the show?

I’ve grown a lot more in the way I view myself. I’ve been forced to show myself love and be really compassionate towards myself because of a lot of the harsh comments from people online. And I found it difficult at first but, since then, it’s been great learning ways to deal with it and ways to overcome it and not take things to heart.

I’ve really been showing myself love since starting the show; meditating and writing about it. 

I’ve gained a lot of maturity because I’ve relied on my parents a lot before the show but I, kind of went into the show, without any parental supervision or any parental help. This was my first time catching a flight by myself and doing the whole nine yards by myself. I’ve just learnt a lot about myself in every single way.

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“I’ve grown a lot more in the way I view myself.” (Credit: Channel Seven/Instagram)

Evidently, you’ve had a very gracious attitude towards some of the feedback you’ve received online. What other support have you had when it comes to dealing with hateful comments?

All the contestants have received our fair share of hate. There’s always going to be backlash and there’s always going to be negativity and we’ve all supported each other through that. Especially Noora, she’s had a very similar experience to me in terms of just people just slandering her, so we were really there for each other and looked after each other.

My Mum’s also joined me in the last week of Idol and she really helped me and looked after me. I’m a Mumma’s boy, definitely rely on her.

Getting the contestant’s support has been so helpful because they’re so loving and and we’re genuinely family. I don’t think this show showed enough how much we really love each other. 

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