The second year it was on, Chris decided to audition in as many cities as he needed to get on to Australian Idol. He started in Sydney, for the first audition, staying with his Dad. He wore jeans, a white t-shirt, a suit jacket and a Fedora with a red ribbon around the edge. His song of choice was “Faith” by George Michael. He didn’t get to the chorus before some celebrity cow he’d never seen before stopped him, asking him if he’d had lessons. He’d said no, she told him to go and have some and come back next year. Bitch.

Chris then flew to Adelaide. His cousin lived there, so he had somewhere to crash for the night. He decided to make it a bit crazier, and wore purple, sparkly slacks, a matching purple waistcoat, red platform shoes and sprayed her hair silver. He sang “When my baby smiles at me, I go to Rio” and shook those maracas. This time, the celebrity judge was some soap star bloke who told him that he was no Hugh Jackson. Chris had corrected him – Hugh Jackman. This ocker idiot had just laughed and said, “You’re not him either!”

In Melbourne, Chris stayed in a youth hostel. He spent half a day trawling through the op shops of the Northern suburbs for a new outfit, and emerged in a stunning white suit with flared trousers and a ruffled pale blue shirt. He topped it off with the shiniest black platforms he had ever seen (and Chris was a man who knew platforms) and sang “It’s Amore”. He’d even taken in a fake martini glass and pretended to be pissed. The guest judge was usually on a cooking show, and said, “It’s not amore, it’s not even a-lust-ay, and so, Ciao.” Hilarious. He should be a comedian. Not.

The final audition that he could afford was Brisbane, where he lived. It was good to be home, but he had to work as much as he could to pay off all of the flights. He came straight from an overnight shift and performed in his Maccas uniform with a black t-shirt over the top. The regular judges finally recognised him, and praised his commitment to getting onto the show. He grinned, thinking this would surely be it. But no. His rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was apparently not what they were after.

He left, cursing the format of the show, the presenters, the channel and the sponsors, but most of all, the judges. He went home, plugged in his Singstar and sang “Wind Beneath Your Wings”, tears streaming down his face.

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