C’mon, Aussies

Cyrus Vil­lanueva joins a host of top Aussie tal­ent to cel­e­brate Aus­tralia Day live, writes Tiffany Dunk

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

This time last year, Cyrus Vil­lanueva was cel­e­brat­ing Aus­tralia Day with his best mates at the beach and then tuck­ing into a tra­di­tional Aussie bar­bie with his fam­ily.

This year, things couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent.

Come Jan­uary 26, Vil­lanueva will be one of the head­line acts for Chan­nel 10’s Aus­tralia Day con­cert, air­ing live from Syd­ney’s Opera House.

More than 5000 peo­ple will at­tend, along with mil­lions of po­ten­tial view­ers.

It’s an op­por­tu­nity the 19year-old mu­si­cian, who won The X Fac­tor in Novem­ber last year, still can’t quite be­lieve is hap­pen­ing to him.

“Just hear­ing peo­ple say that gives me goose­bumps,” he says. “I’ve never played an out­door stage like this. It’s go­ing to be un­real — I can’t wait.”

Vil­lanueva will be joined by a host of acts in­clud­ing Jes­sica Mauboy, Kate Ce­ber­ano, Thirsty Merc, Jus­tice Crew and Glenn Shor­rock.

In ad­di­tion, ’90s pop duo Bach­e­lor Girl — who gave us Aussie hits Buses and Trains and Treat Me Good — will re­unite for a one-off per­for­mance

Cre­ative di­rec­tor John Fore­man says tele­vis­ing the con­cert has been some­thing he’s been work­ing to­wards for years. And last year, the team put on a non-tele­vised “dry run” to test what would and wouldn’t work from the iconic lo­ca­tion.

“I love live tele­vi­sion — the stakes are raised a lit­tle bit higher when it’s live to air,” he says.

“It’s been a long-time dream of mine to have a show on Aus­tralia Day that cel­e­brates who we are as peo­ple through mu­sic and con­ver­sa­tion. We’re try­ing to cap­ture the Aus­tralian spirit through­out the broad­cast.”

In ad­di­tion to mu­si­cal per­for­mances, the broad­cast will show­case the events of the day through pre­sen­ters in­clud­ing Kerri-Anne Ken­ner­ley and co­me­di­ans Roy & HG.

They’ll also show footage from in­dige­nous cer­e­monies hap­pen­ing through­out the coun­try.

Fore­man and his team have been lock­ing in the cream of Aus­tralian tal­ent for the past 12 months.

Mak­ing sure the acts ap­pealed to all ages and de­mo­graph­ics cswas was cru­cial to the cre­ative team.

“We want t to of­fer broad en­ter­tain­ment ain­ment for the whole fam­ily, mily, some­thing you ou can all sit down to­geth­erether and re­lax and d watch on Aus­tralia Day evening,” he says.

Also cru­cial ial was mak­ing sure the sound­track of the evening en­com­passe­dom­passed clas­sic Aussie e songs.

While Thirstyirsty Merc has In the Sum­mer­time, mmer­time, Ce­ber­ano has hits like Bed­room Eyes, and Shor­rock has a wealth of Lit­tle River Band songs to bring to the ta­ble, newc new­comer Vil­la­neuva says he’ll be putting a unique tw twist on a fa­mous tune from Oz. “I’ll b be singing a mash mashup of two songs,” he sa says.

““One is an iconic Au Aus­tralian song wh which I’ll rein­vent an and bring a lit­tle bit of Cyrus flavour to, th then I’ll be singing m my sin­gle, Stone.”

In ad­di­tion, h he’ll bring along a sur­prise guest to p per­form a duet wi with.

“I can’t tell you who it is right now, but it will be some­one spe­cial,” he teases.

Our money’s on Guy Se­bas­tian. The X Fac­tor men­tor and ARIA win­ner is a huge fan of Vil­lanueva, hav­ing pre­vi­ously told Switched On that he would love to work with the tal­ented mu­si­cian.

“Cyrus has all the in­gre­di­ents,” Se­bas­tian gushed. “He’s smart, he can talk, he’s a re­ally nice dude ... I re­ally want to do some­thing with him.”

For his part, Vil­lanueva says he’s flat­tered to hear Se­bas­tian thinks so highly of him — and he’s more than ready to take up the of­fer.

“Hope­fully we’ll be able to catch up and, who knows, work on some­thing to­gether,” he says.

Un­til that time Vil­lanueva is fo­cus­ing on per­form­ing his own ma­te­rial and hopes to be able to re­turn to The X Fac­tor stage — this time as a guest — when the show re­turns.

“My fin­gers are crossed,” he says.

AUS­TRALIA DAY CON­CERT — LIVE FROM THE OPERA HOUSE, TEN, TUES­DAY, 7.30PM

Starts Fe­bru­ary 2, Eleven Glee favourite Jane Lynch is back as Amy, the guardian an­gel of young der­ma­tol­o­gist Al­li­son Fuller (Mag­gie Law­son), in this sit­com.

“I’ve never played an out­door stage like this. It’s go­ing

to be un­real”

Starts March/April, Chan­nel 7 Claire War­ren’s (Joan Allen) political am­bi­tions are thrown into dis­ar­ray when her son Adam (Liam James) reap­pears af­ter 10 years. From Scan­dal writer Jenna Bans.

CYRUS VIL­LANUEVA

ON HIS BIG GIG

Starts March/April, Chan­nel 7 US thriller from ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Shonda Rhimes ( Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Mur­der). Fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tor Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is be­ing duped by her fi­ancee.

/ BOB BARKER

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