The third and final part of my Young Divas special will focus on the magnificent Paulini. Paulini is one of the alumni of the very first season of Australian Idol. She came in fourth after being criticised on national television by one of the judges for being too fat, which is actually quite ironic given the multitude of plus-sized women to frequent later series of Idol - including fellow "divas" Ricki-Lee and Kate DeAraugo. In fact, it seems you have to morbidly obese to even make it to the final 12 of Australian Idol these days. The controversy helped raise Paulini's profile and, as clearly the most talented vocalist to appear on the show, she was quickly snapped up by Sony.
I have already dedicated a post to Paulini's magnificent second album (or third, if you count a shitty Christmas offering), "Superwoman". That album was also recorded before the Young Divas formed but this post will focus on Paulini's number 1 debut album, "One Determined Heart". Paulini's debut single, a cover of "Angel Eyes", sets the tone of the album. "Angel Eyes" is a lovely ballad, which showcases Paulini's impressive voice. It is also pretty fucking boring. I really like "Angel Eyes" but an album of full of ballads and dodgy cover versions was never the best career move. Thankfully, there are a handful of interesting remixes.
"Angel Eyes" hit #1 on the Australian singles chart and remains Paulini's only solo top 10 hit. The follow up, "We Can Try", was written by Audius - whose dubious claim to fame is working with Dullta Good-rim. The original version of "We Can Try" is bland crap but the remixed radio version is sensational. The song made the top 30 and, in its remixed form, remains one of my Paulini favourites. It seems far more suited to "Superwoman" than "One Determined Heart" - ie. it appeals to people under the age of 90.
I hope I'm not sounding too critical of "One Determined Heart" because in comparison to the other Young Divas solo albums it is a work of unbridled genius. There are several excellent tracks and Paulini's vocals are exquisite. Another highlight of the album is the selection of bizarre cover versions. The album contains one of the strangest cover versions I can remember hearing. Paulini's version of "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" is notable for being her first cover of a gay classic and surely the only R'n'B rendition of the song. Not only has the song been turned into a mid-tempo soul ballad, it is also sung as a duet with a man - which makes some of the lyrics rather interesting! It's so wrong, it's kind of right.. if you know what I mean!
Actually, I'm mistaken about "No More Tears" being Paulini's first cover of a gay classic. I had forgetten about this live medley from Idol which includes "Don't Leave Me This Way" and "Freeway Of Love". As usual, Paulini's voice is immaculate.
It seems appropriate to finish any discussion of "One Determined Heart" with yet another cover version. The song selection is truly baffling and one of the most random choices is Phil Collins' "One More Night". Paulini's version is rather nice, although it is begging for a remix.
If Paulini rings your bell, why not keep the woman in diet pills by buying "One Determined Heart" and/or "Superwoman" at Sanity, Chaos or Australian Ebay. Both albums are recommended but "Superwoman" is infinitely superior. This ends my rundown of the pre-diva careers of Paulini, Kate, Emily and Ricki-Lee. It will be interesting to see what 2007 holds for the divas. I have a bad feeling that "Right About Now" is being lined up as single number 3. I hope not because it is one of the worse tracks on their fabulous album. I hear rumours that Sony is intent on rushing out a new album with original material in 2007. That can only be good news!