Stale Take: I’m Still Not Over Damien Leith Robbing Jessica Mauboy To Win ‘Australian Idol’

Sorry, but we need to talk about a robbery that took place on live TV. How such a heinous crime could be committed with little-to-no backlash, I do not know. All I do know is that Jessica Mauboy was robbed at the grand finale of Australian Idol 2006, and I am here to vindicate her.

I know what you’re thinking. No, this isn’t a rip off of that meme about Shannon Noll being robbed which popped up a couple of years ago. Both Shannon and Guy Sebastian were good singers who each had a decent career afterwards, so saying he was robbed is provocative and debatable.

On the other hand, Jess – our Jess – lost to a literal nobody whose post-Idol single is not remembered by anyone. Who the fuck even is Damien Leith?

You’ve got to feel sorry for the poor bloke. He just entered a fun-looking singing competition and somehow ended up onstage at the Sydney Opera House.

It wasn’t his fault the Australian public all had brain worms and voted for him. You get the feeling he never intended to deny Jess her rightful title. Rather, he was simply in too deep and had no choice but to go with the flow. It didn’t help that the winner’s single was suspiciously tailored to his voice and not hers.

Obviously, their careers prove my point. But I’m here to say that Jess deserved the to win Australian Idol, too, in addition to being a chart-toppng, ARIA-winning, Beyoncé-tour-supporting pop sensation.

Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Exhibit A – Young Divas

Singing reality TV shows always use their runners-up as fodder for generic girl groups and boybands. It’s a way of squeezing every penny out of the contestants they kind of invested in during filming.

Not our Jess.

After being thrust into Young Divas a year after Australian Idol, she absolutely carried the group and turned it into something worth listening to.

Take “Turn Me Loose” Ft. Savage. The rest of the Young Divas, each talented and deserving of the title of diva in their own right, sound decent. However, it’s Jess who absolutely kills it, both in her verse and in the chorus.

The top comment on the official music video says it all, really: “Jess is the Beyoncé of the Young Divas.”

This also refers to how Jess was able to have a successful career after leaving the group. Who even remembers what happened to, say, Paulini (aside from committing bribery) or Kate DeAraugo?

Damien couldn’t even cut it as boyband fodder, and if he had, I doubt he would’ve managed to have a solo career afterwards. The same can’t be said for our Jess.

You’d think being part of a girl group which may have been named after the cheapest, tackiest fake vodka would be a death sentence. Yet here we are, with Jess being a contender for Australia’s queen of pop.

Exhibit B – Her solo career

Aside from Kylie Minogue or maybe SIA, no other Aussie pop artist of this century has had as enduring a career as Jessica Mauboy has.

After taking the late 2000s by storm in Young Divas, Jess then went on to dominate the 2010s as a respected solo artist in her own right. Her power: unbelievable.

Despite constantly getting fucked over by low production value in her video clips, Jess has released banger after banger, and that’s not even up for debate.

Her second single was “Burn” is what really put her on the map, and my god was it iconic.

Year-after-year, Mauboy followed up with more and more hits which only demonstrate how much she deserved to win Idol. It’d be great to dissect each and every one of these songs, but there is simply not enough room in one article.

We have 2010’s “Saturday Night” Ft. Ludacris, 2014’s “Never Be The Same”, 2017’s “Fallin” as just a few examples of her prolific output and sheer range. Meanwhile, 2011’s “Galaxy” Ft. Stan Walker was the trans-Tasman collab we never knew we needed.

A quick glance over Damien’s Wikipedia page (because my own memory fails me for obvious reasons) shows he has in fact put out a fair bit of music since committing robbery in 2006. But none of it counts during this trial because I literally do not recognise a album title or song.

Never heard of any of this, tbh.

Exhibit C – Eurovision

When stan Twitter says “the international implications”, they’re taking the piss. Not for our Jess, though.

Who other than Jess Mauboy could’ve pulled off a half-time variety act at Eurovision 2014 which was so stunning that it inspired the organisers to officially invite Australia as a fully-fledged competitor the next year? Nobody, that’s who!

Four years later, Jess herself graced the stage once more as an actual contestant. This time around, she again smashed it on the world stage (literally) with “We Got Love”. Unfortunately, like the whole of Australia back in 2006, it seems the Eurovision voters also has brain worms because she ended up placing 20th. Their loss.

Damien Leith is literally from Europe, but he has yet compete in Eurovision. His silence on the matter speaks volumes.


Damien Leith is probably a great guy. He even has a beautiful voice. However none of this takes away from the fact he robbed Australia’s pop-queen-to-be on national television as fucken Mark and Dicko cheered on.

No offence, Damien, but I can’t even name your debut single. Meanwhile, I can name more of Jess Mauboy’s certified bangers than I can physically squeeze into this article.

What’s that? You tell me Damien was in Dancing With The Stars and therefore he’s not as irrelevant as I made out? So was Pauline Hanson. Case closed.

Just after announcing the winner, host James Matheson turned to Jess and said: “It has been pretty incredible Jess, we have not heard the last of you either.”

James Matheson was right.