From her first appearance on Australian Idol, Paulini was my favourite. She might have come across as a boring-as-bat-shit bible basher with the fashion sense of a Fijian drag queen, but the girl could sing. Unfortunately, the pimply school girls and bored housewives (who constitute a large portion of the voters) were apparently more interested in Guy Sebastian's man boobs or too busy fantasising about Shannon Noll's goatee rubbing against their clits to worry about anything as trivial as stage craft and vocal talent. The final straw came when Paulini was told she was too fat to be a celebrity and was kicked off the following week. The rudeness!
Thankfully, the news wasn't all bad. Paulini used her Idol notoriety to score a record deal and hastily released her rather boring debut album, "One Determined Heart". The album and her debut single, a cover of "Angel Eyes", both made #1 on the ARIA chart. Watch the video for Angel Eyes here. The album was an all filler, no killer collection of ballads and mid-tempo rubbish. A further single was released, but the album quickly disappeared. Paulini's career appeared to be going nowhere very fast when she made a special guest appearance on "Home & Away" and released a Christmas album. Her career nadir followed shortly after, when she turned up as a contestant on Celebrity Overhaul and got into trouble for sneaking chocolate into the house and was berated for her poor attitude towards exercise. It was around this time that I really started to enjoy Paulini as a celebrity. She did have some kind of trashtastic edge, after all!
Paulini made her musical comeback this year with the song "Rough Day", which surprised everyone by being very good. Paulini had finally been given material worthy of her vocal ability. The song was popular on radio and Paulini promoted the song relentlessly, with promo performances in gay clubs and on breakfast television. Watch the video clip for "Rough Day" here. The follow up to "Rough Day" was better yet, "So Over You" shows Paulini in full urban diva mode and the hilariously cheap video shamelessly rips off Beyonce's "Crazy In Love". Sadly, the song just scraped into the top 50 despite being a favourite on music video channels. The failure of "So Over You" on the charts turned out to be a bad omen for Paulini's third album, "Superwoman", which was released in August and made #72.
I find it so incredibly depressing that talent free zones like Ciara and Cassie sell well in Australia, while someone local releases an album as hot as "Superwoman" and people run away in droves. "Superwoman" is a great R'n'B album from beginning to end. There is the sufficient quota of pop, a couple of hot ballads and some funky R'n'B beats thrown into the mix. You can buy this gem online from Sanity or Chaos.
Around the same time that Paulini released "Superwoman", she announced that she would be part of an ex-Idol girl group, to be called Young Divas. Despite the crap name, Young Divas' debut single (a cover of Donna Summer's 80s classic "This Time I Know It's For Real") turned out to be excellent and surprisingly successful, making #2 on the Singles Chart and staying in the top 10 for months. Watch the video here. Given the success of the single, it was no surprise when the record announced that the Young Divas would be staying together and releasing an album.
I imagine that Paulini is a bit torn over the band's success. It must be nice having hit singles again but it spells the end of her solo career for the time being. In fact, Sony has pulled the plug on the third single from "Superwoman". "I Believe" was scheduled to be released in September and despite Paulini filming a video clip and remixes being commissioned, the single remains unreleased. Watch a live performance of "I Believe" here.
Young Divas' second single was released last Monday and is another cover of a Stock Aiken Waterman classic, Lonnie Gordon's "Happenin' All Over Again". The track remains faithful to the original and is another slice of pop heaven in the gloomy world of Australian music. The single debuted on this week's Singles Chart at #12. You can buy the single from Chaos and watch the video here.
The girls are releasing their self-titled debut album next week, and the tracklist is so gay it hurts. The album appears to be made up exclusively of cover versions, ranging from The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men" to Laura Brannigan's "Gloria". It looks like a lot of fun and I have already pre-ordered it but I wonder if singing gay classics with a bunch of ugly no-hopers is the best case scenario for Paulini's long term career. Whatever the answer to that may be, the album itself looks delicious. Order it online from Sanity or Chaos.
I should finish up by saying how pleasantly surprised I am by Paulini's dramatic personal life. Ok, she's no Lindsay Lohan, but she has made her fair share of gossip columns recently due to her relationship with her footballer boyfriend. Firstly, there were rumours that Paulini was being bashed (not funny at all), then rumours that Paulini got it on with one of his team-mates as payback (more amusing!) and now it seems they are back together. Only, her boyfriend looks like he's going to prison after driving without a license. How ghetto, I love it!
I've included some tracks for your listening pleasure. If you like what you hear, please buy the respective album!
You might also enjoy watching Paulini's national embarrassment when her microphone malfunctioned while singing "So Over You" live on breakfast television and a beautiful live rendition of Superwoman's title track. Watch a clip of Young Divas covering ABBA's Supertrooper and Paulini singing ABBA's Knowing Me, Knowing You with fellow Young Diva, Ricki-Lee, both from the recently televised "Abbamania".