Anthony Callea has recalled receiving a death threat before he competed in Australian Idol‘s grand finale in 2004.
The 37-year-old recalled the incident on new podcast The Idol Archives with former Idol judge Mark Holden.
“It was hand-delivered to the house. It was essentially, ‘If Anthony won the grand final he would be killed,'” the singer explained.
“I was like, ‘Great!’ They brought the police to the house and they flew my parents up from Melbourne with a security guard.
“They put them in a hotel just to be safe. Then leading up to the grand final, everywhere I went I had to have a bodyguard.
He continued, “I thought, I’m not going to let this get to me.
“But I was smoking like a chimney. Even going up to the convenience store, I had to go through security at the front of the house.
“They said, ‘Mr Callea, you can’t leave by yourself. You need to go with security.’ It was just a very weird situation.”
However, he said that he felt “very looked after” by the network and production crew after the incident.
Anthony Callea recalls on-stage incident during Australian Idol
Anthony Callea competed against Casey Donovan in the grand final of Australian Idol’s second season in 2004.
Callea told the podcast about another on-stage incident during the finale at the Sydney Opera House that viewers never saw.
“I was never shown on TV but when we walked out on stage, this guy jumped from the balcony to the stage and literally just missed us,” he recalled.
Callea said security guards detained the man very quickly, but the altercation didn’t make it to TV.
While he never found out if it was the same person who made the death threat, Callea says he can still see the funny side.
“It was so funny watching it back because the first thing you see is Casey mouth to me on live television with three million people watching, was ‘What the eff?’”
Callea his finale performance of The Prayer, Anthony ultimately lost to Casey Donovan.
“It was three and a half months of buildup of emotions, and I wasn’t upset that I didn’t win,” he said.
“At the same time, I knew I did everything I could’ve done at the time, with my age and experience.
“I was so happy for Casey, but I was overwhelmed I could not stop crying.”
After the show, Callea’s recording of The Prayer became Australia’s second-highest selling single of that decade.
The Idol Archives podcast is available to stream on Spotify.
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