Australia’s Got Talent 2016

I blogged extensively about the 2011 and 2012 manifestations of AGT. There was a hiatus then until this year when Nine took up the franchise. The Grand Finals were Sunday and Monday nights. See the program site.

The winner was fourteen-year-old Fletcher Pilon.

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Quite a back-story there to an original song that was indeed very moving.

Fletcher has been performing since he was 11 and gigs on weekends at pubs and markets, Christmas Carol concerts and birthday parties.

His younger brother Banjo passed away after being hit by a car while skateboarding. Fletch and Banj were extremely close. Banj would often sleep on the floor in Fletch’s room and Fletch was helping Banj practice a song to play with him at end of term. Fletch sang his song “Hoochie Coohie Man” at Banj’s funeral.

Two days before his audition Fletch wrote a song about his brother, to be able to perform it in his memory, it is called ‘Infinite Child’.

One of the stranger finalists, though not in the final five, was Erik the Dog.There was indeed a human involved.

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A standout for me among the final five was Chris Tamwoy.

Chris Tamwoy’s path to the Australia’s Got Talent stage has been far from traditional.

The 20-year-old grew up on Badu Island in the Torres Strait before moving to Logan for high school.

His unique guitar playing style, where he lays the guitar on his lap and uses his fingers to tap, strum and pluck the strings, has already earned him a legion of fans.

He studied at JMC Academy and performed at TEDx in Brisbane in 2013 before making his Bluesfest debut in 2014.

While he could have trundled along slowly developing his career, and his following, it was the gentle encouragement of an Australia’s Got Talent producer that made him decide to make the leap onto the television talent show stage.

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See also NAIDOC Youth of the Year – the story of Chris Tamwoy (NITV 2015).

One of his aims is to eliminate racism through: “Educating people that regardless of the colour of your skin, your accent, your identity or culture, the blood you shed is red and you’re human just as much as the other person”.

In January 2013, Chris was about to commence his final year of school at Woodridge SHS in Logan, a city in southeast Queensland when his neighbourhood became the subject of national media attention. The ‘race riots’ in Douglas Street showed a community as broken and violent.

Determined to be a part of the solution, Chris joined with other Indigenous youth determined to challenge the media onslaught and the negative way that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths were being presented.

They formed the Logan First Nations Youth Assembly and throughout 2013 used social media to provide a voice for Indigenous youth.

He has volunteered as part of Logan Youth Arm in the effort to create lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Logan City. His presentations to schools and volunteering in this space saw him nominated for the Logan City Council Australia Day Awards (Young Citizen of the Year).

He has been a supporter of the Recognise campaign and the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy.

In 2015 was elected as the Indigenous co-chair of the Logan Youth arm, Australia’s first youth reconciliation group connected with Reconciliation Queensland and Reconciliation Australia.

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