Mar 15 2010
A half-hearted icebreaker aimed at Delta Goodrem may have been the reason local songster Chad Croker qualified for the 2009 Australian Idol top 100.
The versatile musician last week overcame the daunting task of impressing Idol judges Goodrem, Kyle Sandilands, Marcia Hinds and hard marker Ian Dickson in a last-gasp audition to make the cut. His vocal cover of Powerfinger’s ‘My Happiness’ won the support of Hinds, before an adaptation of Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ pleased Sandilands and Goodrem. Dickson was less convinced, but it didn’t matter. Three out of the four on the panel had thrown their support behind the Yass musician.
After a four week audition process that began with a music video posted on the internet and finished with a performance in front of a TV crew and a panel of music icons, Chad was into the top 100.
“I don’t quite know what I did afterwards,” he said. “Kyle shook my hand and I guess I was just so excited that I went down the line and thanked them all… I went downstairs and did an interview with Andrew G. He asked how it all went. I couldn’t really believe it was happening,” the 26-year-old said. Chad narrowly missed out on making the final 100 in 2008. He left a lasting impression however, and it was this impression that worked favourably with the judges. “They said they remembered me from last year and liked my work,” he said.
Filled with nervous energy, the apparently laid back musician thought he’d send a nice little joke Delta Goodrem’s way. While lining up to audition, Chad spotted a slim man with fair skin and blonde hair; a contestant who looked very much like former Westlife singer and Goodrem’s fiancé Brian McFadden. Hustled out into the spotlight in front a panel of renowned judges, Chad blurted out a little small talk: “Delta, I think Brian must be auditioning. He was just behind me in the queue. I didn’t get his number though.” Unbeknown to anyone else in the room, the tall musician from Yass was actually referring to a number each contestant displays on their chest. His comment was met with silence and a few puzzled faces. They hadn’t caught on. “It was just a joke,” he said with a nervous laugh. Wouldn’t you know it? Delta had the casting vote. She was impressed by Chad’s performance and professed the good news; he was through to top 100 week. “It must have been my little joke,” Chad said with a laugh when speaking to the Tribune last Thursday.
Croker followed up his successful audition with a performance alongside sister Lahne and friend Ashley Payne before a Mental As Anything performance in Yass on Friday night. His love of music first began when his grandmother introduced him to the piano. Chad was a regular in the Yass High School band and was often seen playing music with and for the Eagles Nest Church.
The 100 musicians nationwide who survived the Australian Idol culling process will get together in Sydney from June 13-22. That group of 100 will be cut to 40, 24 and eventually 12.
“It’ll be good just to meet all the others and network,” an excited Chad said. “I’m stoked I’ve made it through to the top 100, particularly after just missing out last year.”
“For now, I guess I’ll just need to build a repertoire of songs and look after my voice.”
Lloyd Scroope – Yass Tribune
27 May, 2009