The Australian star, who is now a judge on U.S. reality show American Idol, was a contestant on TV competition Pot of Gold when he was nine and sang a country song.

He recalls, "This guy called Bernard King, who was one of the judges, was just brutal... It was a long time ago and my mum and dad didn't have a VCR or any of that sort of stuff but they had a little cassette recorder and they propped it up next to the TV, so they could record the sound off the TV, and they didn't only keep my performance, they kept this crucifying critique from the judge as well. I have it burned in my memory.

"He said, 'I desperately encourage you to escape the mediocrity, get out of country and western and get into some real music... otherwise you'll end up sounding like Dolly Parton and absolutely useless. Kindly learn to sing in tune because you're intrinsically a good musician...' and I remember saying to mum and dad, 'What does intrinsically mean?'."