Courtney Act celebrates 20th anniversary of Australian Idol


Drag queen Courtney Act on the grand finale of Australian Idol in 2003
Image: Ten

Courtney Act has reflected on the 20th anniversary of the show that made her an Aussie household name: Australian Idol.

Years before RuPaul’s Drag Race, Shane Jenek auditioned for the first season of the Channel 10 singing competition in 2003. He didn’t get through.

The next day, he returned in drag, auditioned for judges Dicko, Mark and Marcia as Courtney Act and made it on.

During the audition, Dicko told Courtney her drag persona “added another dimension” Shane hadn’t had the day before.

Now in an Instagram post this week exactly 20 years after the finale, Courtney reflected on her time on the show.

“I felt an overwhelming sense of love and acceptance from the Australian public, the judges, and Dicko – I still do,” the drag queen wrote.

“Idol really was the dawn of my journey. Auditioning as Shane and being sent home could have been the end, but it was just the beginning.

“I bent the rules and my gender and returned the next day in drag and made it through.

“Such a sliding doors moment when I decided to audition again as Courtney. I was so scared of what being publicly queer would mean for the rest of my life and career.

“Worried I would ruin my chances as a ‘straight male performer’ lol. How foolish I was!”

 

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A post shared by Courtney Act (@courtneyact)

Courtney Act returned for Idol finale

Courtney Act was knocked out of the competition – twice – but Australian Idol producers brought her back multiple times. Courtney performed at the first season’s grand finale.

On Instagram, Courtney shared the video of her finale performance of I’m A Woman.

“[The finale was] an unforgettable night at the Sydney Opera House forecourt,” Courtney said.

“Look at that Courtney Quiff™️. Her natural hairline pulled back into what is, believe it or not, a wig!”

Courtney added, “I was the first out queer person on any Idol franchise anywhere in the world. A world before social media, before the comments section, before the mainstream visibility (and recent politicisation) of our queer love and identity.

“I can’t imagine my life as anything other than the unbridled, celebratory and authentic expression of masculinity and femininity it is today.

“What a joy the last twenty years have been, I hope for twenty more.”

Read more:

Rob Mills had a threesome with Courtney Act back in the Idol days

Courtney Act got an offer from RuPaul years before Drag Race

Courtney Act shares ‘embarrassing’ Brisbane high school yearbook

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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