New Zealand Idol

New Zealand Idol
Created by Simon Fuller
Presented by Dominic Bowden
Judges Frankie Stevens (2004)
Fiona McDonald (2004)
Paul Ellis (2004–05)
Jackie Clarke (2005)
Iain Stables (2006)
Megan Alatini (2006)
Country of origin New Zealand
No. of seasons 3
Executive producer(s) Andrew Shaw (2004)
Adrian Brant (2005)
Gavin Wood (2006)
Jane Millichip (2006)
Location(s) South Pacific Pictures, Auckland
Running time Auditions/Performance show
60–90 minutes
Elimination show
60 minutes
(Both shows include commercials)
Original network TV2
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release January 2004 – 29 October 2006
External links
New Zealand Idol Finalists
(with dates of elimination)
Idol 2004 Finalists
Ben Lummis Winner
Michael Murphy 10 May
Camillia Temple 3 May
Luke Whaanga 26 April
Dave Houma 19 April
Eddie Gaiger 12 April
Robin Johnson 5 April
Jessie Cassin 29 March
Sela Mahe 22 March
Filipo Saipani 15 March
Idol 2005 Finalists
Rosita Vai Winner
Nik Carlson 17 October
Steven Broad 10 October
Jesse O'Brien 3 October
Teresa Bergman 26 September
Rongo Brightwell 19 September
Frank Andrews 12 September
Ashley Cooper 5 September
Keshia Paulse 29 August
Shelley Paikea 22 August
Idol 2006 Finalists
Matthew Saunoa Winner
Indira Moala 29 October
Aroha Robinson 16 October
Ben Hazlewood 9 October
Kali Kopae 2 October
Toni Baird 25 September
Rebecca Wright 18 September
Clinton Randell 11 September
Ashlee Fisher 4 September
Victor Sulfa 28 August

NZ Idol, more commonly known as New Zealand Idol,[1] was the New Zealand version of the Idol series originated as the hit British TV series Pop Idol. New Zealand first saw the Idol format when TV2 aired American Idol 2, which garnered impressive ratings. After Australian Idol also received good ratings in New Zealand, TVNZ decided to order the first season of NZ Idol, which was broadcast on TV2. After the third season in 2006, TVNZ made a decision not to fund or broadcast a fourth season, thus placing New Zealand Idol on indefinite hiatus, with no plans to run a fourth season.

NZ Idol was produced by South Pacific Pictures in association with Grundy Television and developed by Fremantle Media.

Season one

The show was hosted by TV presenter Dominic Bowden and the panel of judges consisted of Frankie Stevens, Fiona McDonald and Paul Ellis.

The competition was tough in the final few rounds of NZ Idol but it was finally whittled down to the top ten. Nine of these were voted in by the public through three heats (Camillia Temple, Ben Lummis and Filipo Saipani; Michael Murphy, Luke Whaanga and 'Big' Dave Houma; Robin Johnson, Sela Mahe and Eddie Gaiger). Jessie Cassin was added by the judges as a wildcard. Ben Lummis eventually won the competition despite being in the bottom 3 in the first, third and fourth round of the competition, while Michael Murphy who eventually came second in the season had not been in the bottom 3 at all. Camillia Temple, the oldest contestant at 28, who had been a favourite to win, ended up in third place.

Ben Lummis released his idol-winning single "They Can't Take That Away" which spent 7 weeks at #1, selling over 40,000 units. His Album 'One Road' debuted at #1 on the album charts, selling over 30,000 copies. His second single, "I Love You Love Me" failed to make radio playlists and the single was shelved. His video for the single, however, did play on video music channels.

Semi Final Qualifyings

Top 24

Format: 3 out of 8 making the final each week plus one Wildcard

Date First Second Third
22 February Camillia Temple Ben Lummis Filipo Saipani
29 February Michael Murphy Luke Whaanga Dave Houma
7 March Sela Mahe Robin Johnson Eddie Gaiger
13 March
Jessie Cassin
(Judges Choice)
Amanda Boyce
(missed out)
Nigel Withington
(missed out)

Bottom three statistics

Date Theme Contestants
Bottom three
15 March Contestant's Choice Filipo Saipani Eddie Gaiger Ben Lummis
22 March Homegrown Hits Sela Mahe Robin Johnson Jessie Cassin
29 March Disco Hits Jessie Cassin (2) Eddie Gaiger (2) Ben Lummis (2)
5 April Ballads Robin Johnson (2) Eddie Gaiger (3) Ben Lummis (3)
12 April British Invasion Eddie Gaiger (4) Luke Whaanga Dave Houma
Bottom two
19 April Soul Hits Dave Houma (2) Camillia Temple
26 April Rock Hits Luke Whaanga (3) Camillia Temple (2)
Bottom three
3 May 80s Hits Camillia Temple (3)
10 May Grand Finale Michael Murphy Ben Lummis (3)

Season two

Auditions for the second series of NZ Idol began in June 2005. The show was once again hosted by Dominic Bowden, with Jackie Clarke replacing Fiona McDonald, who was pregnant with her first child, as one of the three judges. The nine that got in by public vote were: Nik Carlson, Frank Andrews, Jesse O'Brien, Rosita Vai, Rongo Brightwell, Keshia Paulse and Shelley Paikea. Teresa Bergman, failed to make the top nine, eventually being asked back by the judges in the wildcard, and winning the wildcard vote. Keshia Paulse, who was one of the favourites to win the competition, was voted out unexpectedly in the second round. Rosita Vai was the eventual winner of NZ Idol 2 and the first female contestant to win the competition. Rosita had not been in the bottom 3 in the whole season. Nik Carlson from Masterton came second, while Steven Broad finished in third place.

Rosita released her single "All I Ask" which spent two weeks at #1 and went platinum. However her debut album Golden only reached #15 without being certified and spent only three weeks in the top 40 album chart.

In 2006 Ashley Cooper has enjoyed success with her single "I Want You" debuting at #19, eventually peaking at #11 on physical sales and very little airplay. Also in 2006, Robert Arnold, who had auditioned unsuccessfully for all three seasons made it to #1 in the New Zealand charts as part of Boyband – a radio station stunt – three weeks before Matt Saunoa hit the top.

While these singers got to high places, there were many wannabe applicants that did poorly. One of note was a certain Liz Shaw, who came not just to audition but to also try to take over host Dominic Bowden's presenting job, only to spectacularly fail.

The series once again proved a ratings hit in New Zealand, but Sony BMG were reportedly unhappy with the format and reviewed their role in the program.

Semifinal qualifyings

Top 24
Format: 3 out of 8 making the final each week and one wildcard

Date First Second Third
25 July Keshia Paulse Steve Broad Frank Andrews
1 August Rosita Vai Shelley Paikea Ashley Cooper
8 August Nik Carlson Jesse O'Brien Rongo Brightwell
15 August


Teresa Bergman
(Viewers Choice)
Lissel Stewart
(missed out)
Kevin Malagamaali'i
(missed out)

Bottom three statistics

Date Bottom Three
22 August Shelley Paikea Ashley Cooper Nik Carlson
29 August Keshia Paulse Nik Carlson (2) Teresa Bergman
5 September Ashley Cooper (2) Frank Andrews Steven Broad
12 September Frank Andrews (2) Rongo Brightwell Steven Broad (2)
19 September Rongo Brightwell (2) Jesse O'Brien Steven Broad (3)
Bottom Two
26 September Teresa Bergman (2) Jesse O'Brien (2)
3 October Jesse O'Brien (3) Nik Carlson (3)
Final Three
10 October Steven Broad (4)
17 October Nik Carlson (4) Rosita Vai

Season three

The third (and to date, last) season of NZ Idol began screening in July 2006. Dominic Bowden returned as host, and judges Paul Ellis and Jackie Clarke were replaced by Iain Stables, a popular radio DJ from the ZM radio station, and Megan Alatini, a former member of girlgroup TrueBliss, the first band created from the popular TV show Popstars. This left Frankie Stevens as the only original judge. In addition to a recording contract, in series 3 contestestants are also in the running for a cash prize of $50,000 and a Daihatsu SUV. The maximum age limit to enter was increased from 28 to 30. Another key difference in the third season is the inclusion of a live band in the top ten shows. On 31 May 2006, South Pacific Pictures announced that SonyBMG was to discontinue its association with NZ Idol.[2]

On 21 August the top 9 was officially announced. Aroha Robinson, Ashlee Fisher, Clinton Randell, Indira Moala, Kali Kopae, Matthew Saunoa, Rebecca Wright, Victor Sulfa and Toni Baird. On the same night the 3 wildcards were announced. The host, Dominic Bowden stated that the viewers had 12 hours to choice their 10th person to make up the final 10. The 3 wildcards were: Ben Hazlewood, Lenken Isaac and Wiremu Hohaia. On 22 August Ben Hazlewood won the wildcard vote. It had been announced that the top 10 was not going to release a single, like previous seasons.

On 29 October Matt Saunoa won the competition without falling into the bottom 2/ 3 throughout the whole season. Although betting agency Centrebet had Indira Moala favourite to win . His debut single "Hold Out" was written by James Reid from The Feelers. The single charted at #1 in the first week, but failed to reach gold status (at least 5,000 copies sold), and dropped the following week to #3.

Semi Final Qualifyings

Top 18
Format: 3 out of 6 making the final each week in another city + one Wildcard

Date Location First Second Third
7 August Christchurch Clinton Randell Kali Kopae Ashlee Fisher
14 August Auckland Indira Moala Toni Baird Victor Sulfa
21 August Wellington Rebecca Wright Matthew Saunoa Aroha Robinson
22 August Wildcard Ben Hazlewood Lenken Isaac Wiremu Hohaia

Bottom three statistics

Date Bottom Three
28 August Victor Sulfa Ashlee Fisher Toni Baird
Bottom Two
4 September Ashlee Fisher (2) Kali Kopae
11 September Clinton Randell Kali Kopae (2)
18 September Rebecca Wright Indira Moala
25 September Toni Baird (2) Ben Hazlewood
2 October Kali Kopae (3) Aroha Robinson
9 October Ben Hazlewood (2) Aroha Robinson (2)
Final Three
16 October Aroha Robinson (3)
29 October Indira Moala (2) Matthew Saunoa

Pop's Ultimate Star

Main article: Pop's Ultimate Star

Many previous contestants later appeared on Pop's Ultimate Star, along with other New Zealand celebrities.


Critics have suggested that contestants in all seasons have not been as musically strong as Idol performers from American Idol or Australian Idol, and have referred to the performances as 'karaoke'.

Complaints have been made in regards to a variety of production issues including the lack of a live band in seasons one and two, the lighting and the sound quality.

Concerns have also been expressed about the apparent lack of ongoing opportunities for Idols after the show. Most notably, three months after winning New Zealand Idol, Lummis' music label, Sony BMG dropped him.

Various New Zealand musicians have openly criticised the show, and refused invitations to appear on it.[3] Boh Runga stated that she "would rather lick the inside of a toilet bowl than appear on Idol." TV Guide stated that the show had lost around 100,000 viewers since the first series, and that "if NZ Idol was a horse, you would have to shoot it. It really is that lame."[4]

NZ Idol in the charts




Date Artist Title NZ Chart Accreditation
From Season one:
2004 NZ Idol: Final 10 "Yesterday Was Just The Beginning Of My Life" #4 Gold
2004 Ben Lummis "They Can't Take That Away" #1 (7 weeks) 4x Platinum
2004 Ben Lummis "I Love You Love Me" - -
2004 Jessie Cassin "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" - -
2004 Michael Murphy "So Damn Beautiful" #1 (1 week) Gold
2005 Michael Murphy "Music Without A Song" - -
2005 Michael Murphy "How Good Does It Feel?" - -
2006 Ben Lummis "Gotta Move" - -
From Season two:
2005 NZ Idol 2: Final 10 "Dedicated To The One I Love" #5 -
2005 Rosita Vai "All I Ask" #1 (2 weeks) 2x Platinum
2005 Rosita Vai "Golden" - -
2005 Nik Carlson "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" - -
2006 Ashley Cooper "I Want You" #11 -
From Season three:
2006 Matthew Saunoa "Hold Out" #1 (1 week)


  2. Trevett, Claire (1 June 2006). "Record giant scratches NZ Idol". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 June 2006.
  3. Cook, Stephen (2 September 2006). "Kiwi music stars snub NZ Idol". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2006.
  4. Smithies, Grant (17 October 2006). "Pass the hankies - Idol is nearly over". The New Zealand TV Guide / Retrieved 5 December 2006.
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