Aus­tralia’s hot tal­ent

Can Jack Vid­gen pass the grand fi­nal test?

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page - – Deb­bie Schipp

Ever since 14-year-old Jack Vid­gen brought the Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent au­di­ence to its feet – and a judge to tears – with his in­cred­i­ble voice, the pre­dic­tions have been he’s a kid with the world at his feet.

Vid­gen be­came a YouTube sen­sa­tion with his ren­di­tion of Whit­ney Hous­ton’s I Have Noth­ing – ironic, re­ally, since the teenager from Syd­ney’s north­ern beaches clearly has some­thing. It’s called tal­ent. In bucket loads. And on Tues­day night, when the win­ner of this sea­son of AGT is an­nounced, Vid­gen may just be $ 250,000 richer. But that’s some­thing he hasn’t dared dream about.

“I’d love to win, but there is an in­sane amount of tal­ent around this show so we’ll have to see,” Vid­gen tells TV Guide a week out from D-Day.

His AGT ex­pe­ri­ence has only re­in­forced his con­vic­tion that he wants to make singing a ca­reer.

“This is what I love do­ing more than any­thing else, so I am go­ing to stick to my goal,” Vid­gen says. “Just the feel­ing of be­ing on that stage. It feels like a sec­ond home to me now be­cause I’ve been there so much.”

Vid­gen is one of 10 fi­nal­ists who have a shot at the $ 250,000, which will go to

There’s an en­ergy in the au­di­ence when they see some­thing quite new and dif­fer­ent

the AGT win­ner by pop­u­lar vote, and judge Dan­nii Minogue says she and fel­low judges Kyle Sandi­lands and Brian McFad­den wouldn’t have it any other way. “We’ve cri­tiqued the per­for­mances all sea­son and, in the end, it’s kind of a re­lief that we won’t have to vote any­one else off,” says Minogue.

Minogue says al­though Vid­gen is out­ra­geously tal­ented, he’s no lay­down-mis­ere to take the big prize, the competitio­n is that tight.

“Jack has a great chance, but the beauty of this sea­son, and the rea­son peo­ple have tuned in and voted, is that there have been so many mind­blow­ingly tal­ented peo­ple,” she says.

“Cosentino (the il­lu­sion­ist) is world class and I think Ben Price (the co­me­dian) is a good chance.”

Minogue says judges have been spoiled for choice this sea­son with the ar­ray of tal­ent on dis­play.

“When you’re at this end of the sea­son and peo­ple are say­ing, ‘I can’t be­lieve that per­son didn’t make it’, that’s where you want to be,” she says. “There’s an en­ergy in the au­di­ence when they see some­thing quite new and dif­fer­ent. That’s where peo­ple like Chooka ( Parker, self-taught piano wizard) had ev­ery­one gripped from the out­set. We still can’t work out how he does what he does.”

Win or lose on Tues­day night, Minogue pre­dicts big things for Vid­gen who, since his first ap­pear­ance on the show, has met gos­sip guru Perez Hil­ton, sung at a func­tion for Mick Gatto, and is ru­moured to have in­ter­na­tional record­ing stu­dios al­ready knock­ing on his door.

“The chal­lenge once peo­ple like him have the pro­file is that they are able to har­ness that and turn it into a ca­reer,” Minogue says. “Be­cause you can have that mas­sive burst of pub­lic­ity and then noth­ing.” She says Vid­gen has han­dled the at­ten­tion well.

“It must be tough in a way when no­body knows you and sud­denly you’re in the pa­pers and on the ra­dio, and that’s a huge turn­around, es­pe­cially for some­one his age,” Minogue says. “But he’s re­ally chilled and quite nor­mal. He’s a re­ally nice kid.”

Vid­gen him­self knows the show has changed him mas­sively. “I have gained so much in such a lit­tle amount of time,” he says. “This whole ex­pe­ri­ence has been a lot to get my head around. My life has changed dra­mat­i­cally in a re­ally short space of time.”

He hopes to re­lease an al­bum and go back to school, where he says his mates have been hugely sup­port­ive of his new­found fame. “They love it when a cam­era crew comes to school be­cause they get out of work and can be on TV,” he says. “But I would like to fin­ish my school­ing. I think it will help a lot in the in­dus­try.”

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