Where are the Australian Idol winners now?

Some may surprise you!
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Despite a ten-year hiatus, Australian Idol is just as relevant today as it was 20 years ago when season one premiered. 

As one of the first reality singing shows to arrive on our shores, the show has been, and continues to be a pillar of Australian pop culture, kickstarting the careers of many notable singers such as Anthony Callea, Paulini, Rob Mills, Matt Corby, Courtney Act, Jessica Mauboy and Ricki-Lee Coulter to name a few.

And who could forget that iconic final two showdown between Shannon Noll and Guy Sebastian in the first season?

From 2003 until 2009, seven talented performers took home the crown, a new singer rising from anonymity to win the title of Australian Idol in the rebooted 2023 reason. 

WATCH NOW: Marcia Hines performs live on Australian Idol in 2004.

Where are the winners of Australian Idol now?

Season 1: Guy Sebastian

Guy Sebastian was the first winner of Australian Idol in 2003 and is the first Australian male artist to have achieved six number-one singles and two number-one albums. 

Songs that he is mostly known for are Battle Scars, Who’s That Girl, and Before I Go.

Thanks to his successful career as a singer, he is now a household celebrity name around Australia.

He’s also a loving husband to his wife Jules, and a doting dad to sons Hudson and Archie.

In 2010 he made his return to television as a judge on The X Factor Australia which he starred on until 2012. He then returned to the role from 2015 to 2016 before becoming a coach on The Voice Australia in 2019, a position he has held ever since.

In 2015, Guy also made history as the first artist from Australia to perform at Eurovision where he performed his original song Tonight Again, finishing 5th out of 40 countries. 

Guy Sebastian
Guy Sebastian was the first winner of Australian Idol in 2003 (Credit: Channel Nine.)

Season 2: Casey Donovan

Casey Donovan finished first in the second season of Australian Idol in 2003, a seriously impressive feat for a 16-year-old. 

In the years since she has released several chart-topping hits, but the life of a popstar wasn’t for her, the powerhouse vocalist finding her true calling in musical theatre. 

The now 35-year-old has been cast in major roles in touring stage productions including Chicago, 9 to 5, and most recently & Juliet

She also won season three of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Australia in 2017.

From 2004, she began a long-distance, over-the-phone relationship with a man named Campbell. However, six years later she found out that she had been catfished by her friend Olga, who posed as a man for the entire relationship – and even coerced her into having sex with her.

Now, Casey has learned to forgive her betrayer, telling media that she’s “ready to let it go to move forwards”.

Thankfully, in 2023 the singer revealed that she had found love again with a mystery woman she met on a dating app during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Casey is a familiar face on Aussie screens and stages. (Credit: Facebook)

Season 3: Kate DeAraugo

Kate DeAraugo is an Australian singer who was the third winner of Australian Idol in 2005. 

After successfully winning the show, she signed with Sony BMG and released her debut single Maybe Tonight which reached number one on the charts! 

Kate later became a member of the girl group Young Divas which was later disbanded in 2008. 

The now 38-year-old is married to her husband Shannon Riseley, a handsome Melbourne building foreman. The couple met in 2019 after deciding to look for love on the dating app, Bumble, and found each other on their first-ever foray into online dating. 

In December 2022, the lovebirds welcomed their first child together, a baby boy they named Hudson – aww!

A year later Kate made the shock admission on her podcast Why Do I Feel This Way? that from 2009 until 2018 she was addicted to the drug ice but had thankfully been able to go sober.

Shortly before Kate gave birth to her first child. (Credit: Phillip Castleton)

WATCH NOW: Australian Idol winner Natalie Gauci auditions for The Voice

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Season 4: Damien Leith

Damien Leith took home the season 4 title of winner of Australian Idol 2006, beating Jessica Mauboy for the top spot. 

Despite taking in more than $5 million worth of records after winning the show in 2006, Damien still had to sell his car in order to pay his rent.

The Irishman had fallen victim to the notoriously sketchy major label contracts, which upon signing, had handed over all his rights to his performances on his show.

He has had a pretty successful career since, releasing 10 studio albums and writing two novels. 

Irish-born singer Damien commenced a new project in 2018 called Damien Leith Storytime which featured bedtime stories for children. 

As of 2023, he resides in Wollongong where he works as a radio announcer with his wife Eileen, and three kids Jarvis, Jagger, and Kiki.

Damien Leith took home the season 4 title of winner of Australian Idol 2006. (Credit: Facebook)

Season 5: Natalie Gauci

Natalie Gauci successfully auditioned for, and won, the fifth series of Australian Idol

After winning the show in 2007, Natalie struggled to grapple with the nationwide fame the contest brought her. The singer later revealed she turned to drugs and alcohol in order to deal with her sudden rise to success.

“I took a lot of drugs and became paranoid,” she said in 2017.

In 2020 Natalie was a contestant on The Voice and chose to be on Guy Sebastian’s team, however, was eliminated in the battle rounds.   

As of 2024, the US based jazz singer runs her own vocal coaching ministry as well as a charity called A Call To Wisdom where she advocates for individuals who have experienced broken relationships, abuse and trauma. 

Her new debut album is also due to be released in April. 

Natalie Gauci successfully auditioned for, and won, the fifth series of American Idol. (Credit: Getty)

Season 6: Wes Carr

Wes Carr won Australian Idol in 2008 and later released his first studio album “Simple Sun”. 

He then signed a record deal with Sony Music Australia and after releasing his second album “The Way The World Looks” he split with the label in 2011.

Wes then went independent and released an EP called “Blood & Bone” under the pseudonym Buffalo Tales

In 2018 Wes released the studio album “Australiana” which covers songs performed by Australian artists. 

Nowadays, Wes has shed his ‘Idol persona’ and rebranded as a country singer under the pseudonym Wesley Dean. His most recently released single is titled Don’t Look Back which we feel is very fitting.

As for his personal life, Wes married Home and Away actress Charlotte Gregg in April 2012. The couple welcomed their first child together Willow in November of that same year, and their second child Jackson in 2018.

Wes Carr won Australian Idol in 2008 and later released his first studio album “Simple Sun”. (Credit: Getty)

WATCH NOW: Courtney Act auditions for Australian Idol.

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Season 7: Stan Walker

Stan Walker was the last singer to call themselves an Australian Idol winner from the original series run. The Australian-born New Zealander is now a singer, actor, and television personality. 

His debut single Black Box peaked at number two on the ARIA Singles Chart and since then, he has released many hits across his seven albums, become a father of two lovely children, and even survived stomach cancer. 

After being told he had 13 cancerous tumours in his stomach, a then 27-year-old was told if he was not operated on he would be dead within six months. Thankfully, Stan made a full recovery after his entire stomach, and later appendix was removed.

This journey was documented in his memoir Impossible: My Story which was released in October 2020.

In October 2023, Stan shared the happy news that he and his wife Lou were expecting their third child – how exciting!

Stan Walker had faced a huge health battle after he won Australian Idol. (Credit: Getty)

Season 8: Royston Saigigi-Baira

Australia was thrilled to find out Australian Idol would be making a comeback in 2023, after an almost 15-year hiatus. 

Claiming the crown this time around was 25-year-old Royston Saigigi-Baira from the remote First Nations community of Mapoon in Far North Queensland.

While he still lives in his hometown, Royston has gone on to release two new singles to critical acclaim: Invincible and Dreaming

He is also in his third year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music) degree at the Queensland University of Technology and made his return to the Australian Idol stage for a special performance in 2024.

The single Dreaming is about Royston’s journey of leaving his remote indigenous community to pursue his dreams. (Credit: Channel Seven)

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