'I was bawling my eyes out.' Inside the bizarre Australian Idol feud that just won't die down.

Ahh, 2003. A time when our lives were defined by Shannon Noll‘s flavour-saver, Mark Holden’s iconic “touchdown” move and Guy Sebastian’s afro. Those were the days.

It was a time when Australian Idol was our wholesome, musical answer to The Bachelor (even Osher was there before his name was Osher). We were such different people back then. We were pure.

…But it turns out, behind the scenes of our beloved Idol, it wasn’t all the happily sitting around practising the top-12 rendition of “Rise Up” and gossiping spiritedly about Dicko’s sassy criticism we’d imagined.

Like any reality TV show which crams a classroom-sized group of strangers in a house together while all competing for the same coveted title, there be ~drama~.

And does our appetite for drama fade over a decade on from when the show in question has left our screens? Heavens no.

So now that we’ve got all the juicy details of the bitter feud between season one second runner up Cosima De Vito and winner/owner of all our hearts Guy Sebastian, you better believe we’re here for it.

australian idol paulini cosima feud
They wore matching outfits, but they actually kinda hated each other.

Because as we'll all agree, focusing on 15-year-old beef between Aussie celebs (yes - 15 YEARS, where has the time gone?) is a very good way to occupy our time.

Buckle up, because this one is particularly convoluted - with many of our Idol faves of yesteryear offering their two cents worth. (It's the pile-on reunion we never saw coming).

It all began in June this year, when fellow contestant Paulini Curuenavuli and judge Mark Holden threw some subtle shade Cosima's way in an interview with E! Online.

You see - Paulini, who was by all definitions a fan favourite, was booted off the show the week before Cosima pulled out of the top three with throat issues. We were shook. (It was basically the 2003 version of the Honey Badger situation).

Here she is in 2006 with a horse, for some reason. Image: Getty.

Well, it turns out Paulini's still kinda salty that Cosima's actions potentially stood in the way of her taking the crown from Guy's fluffy angelic head. Or the runner-up spot that Shannon Noll secured.

We don't really understand why Mark Holden got involved too but hey, it's thickening the juices of the feud so we shall not question it.

“There are some people who, when you shine a light on them, they grow, and Guy was one of those. The further he went into the competition, the better he got,” Mark Holden told the publication. “The more light that was shone on him, he just grew like a flower. Other people, the more light you shine on them, they shrivel and crack.”



Paulini's words were a little more pointed.

“I didn’t expect her to pull out at all. Just because of her personality. She’s so strong. I was like, ‘Jeez, why didn’t she do it on my week!’ No, only joking,” she said.

Well, mother-of-one Cosima told the Daily Telegraph over the weekend the comments "had her in tears".

"To be honest with you, I was bawling my eyes out,” she said.

“Call it post baby blues, but it was really upsetting to me, because this is something that had happened years ago.

“I wanted everyone to be happy for each other, not throwing punches.

“Maybe they said what they said unintentionally, but that doesn’t excuse it.

“For them to respond in the manner they responded in, I just thought there was no need for it.”


She went on to spill the tea about "rifts" between the idol hopefuls within the house, the cast of which included Guy Sebastian, Shannon Noll, Paulini, Rob Mills, Courtney Act, and the late Levi Kereama, who passed away in 2009 after falling off a hotel balcony in Brisbane.

Cosima told the publication: “It’s not easy to forge friendship when you are under that much pressure and you are trying to win a TV show."

“For me there wasn’t enough time to bond with people that maybe I could have bonded with."

“Maybe because of our strong personalities, we also didn’t get that opportunity. Sometimes it was a misunderstanding because someone took someone else’s song, or some other little things that created rifts between people," she added.



Now Guy Sebastian, cool dad and 10/10 Australian, has offered his account of how things went down in the house.


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My new single #BeforeIGo is out now, who's listened? Let me know what you think! Link in bio.

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Speaking to 9Honey, he says he has "nothing but fond memories" of his time on idol, adding that Cosima was "highly competitive" and "negative".


Shots. Fired.

He also claimed her personality “drove a lot of people away” in the Idol house. Ooft.

“I just think Cosima can be a little bit negative at times,” Sebastian said. “People like to have a crack at Idol but it changed my life, so I’ll never, ever slam it. It was my life source.”

“She obviously put the competition side first, whereas there were genuine friendships,” Sebastian said.

“Like me and Shannon Noll are mates, and I had a very close mate on the show, Levi (Kereama), who unfortunately passed on — he was like my little brother. And there were so many others, like Paulini Curuenavuli, who I just got along with so well.”

"For me, there wasn't enough time to bond with people that maybe I could have bonded with."

But there's more (and this may explain Cosima's lingering resentment).

After the show, Guy, Shannon Noll, Rob Mills and Paulini all got record deals with BMG, before the company merged with Sony.

“I always wanted to be part of a major record company and I was devastated that I wasn’t picked up,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

“I understand why, because obviously with the whole nodule thing I disappeared for a few months, and I get that.

“I wanted to be at Sony because Celine (Dion) was at Sony, I wanted to be part of that machine that creates artists.


“So when it didn’t happen, I was like, what do I do now?”

We feel like this definitely needs some Shannon Noll fire thrown at it. Nollsy? Thoughts, feelings, concerns?

Pls weigh in.

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