reality tv

In 2005, Lee Harding's Wasabi topped the charts. Now he's giving it another go on The Voice.


Remember 2005? The world almost imploded over that whole Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston/Angelina Jolie thing, we were all worried about bird flu and a song called ‘Wasabi’ topped the charts.

Said song was a hit for Australian Idol season 3’s third runner up Lee Harding and honestly, before today we’d filed it away deep, deep in our brains.

But suddenly… it’s back. We’re walking around the office singing “Wasaaaaabi, so damn hot, my head’s gonna blow,” and we can’t stop.

It’s uh… definitely the only Harding song we can remember, but he is hoping to change that. The former Idol star is giving another singing competition a go, appearing on The Voice Australia 2019.

lee harding
No photo has summed up 2006 quite like this one. Image: Getty.

Since 'Wasabi', Harding has been a support act for INXS and fellow Australian Idol alumni Shannon Noll.

A few years after 'Wasabi's' success, Harding and his record label split but he's still active in the music scene as the singer in Bedrock, a cover band he'd been going to see perform since he was 16.

Harding told Buzzfeed in 2017 that his Idol experience made breaking into the industry tough (even after a #1 single).

"A lot of labels won't touch you because you've been there, had the chance, and it didn't work out," he said.

Outside of music, Harding, now 35, has become a family man. He married his high school sweetheart and is a father of two - daughter Blaize, 6 and son Ryker, who was born in April.

Harding is also looking a bit... different, basically due to the fact he stopped getting those rainbow highlights we all remember him for and grew his hair out.

He announced his return to reality TV on social media last month and on Wednesday confirmed his The Voice audition would air on Sunday night's show.

"Regardless of what happens I had an amazing experience with the Blinds, and hope everyone likes what I did," he captioned an Instagram post.


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Auditioned for The Voice this year.. eek.. haha

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Speaking with The Sydney Morning Herald, Harding said singing reality TV shows have changed since his time on Idol. Back then, the show gave performers an instant career. Now, it's more about giving artists a platform to start.

The Voice Australia 2019 is a chance to distance himself from his Idol experience (which seems... fair enough, considering he confirmed people have screamed "WASABI" at him every damn day since 2005).

"[Idol is] part of who I was as a young person but it's not me anymore. It's part of my life and I will never shy away from that," he told the SMH. "But coming back this time, I've been writing my own things and I'm in a better place for it."

"I'm really, really happy, I'm in a positive place in myself and it's time to get out there and give it another go. I want this to be a forever thing," he added.

If he finds success on the show, Harding said he'd like to follow his dream and "give it a crack" overseas with his band.