Cynthia’s singing to stardom

Cynthia Negash auditioning for Australian Idol. (provided)

Liam McNally

If you watched the first week of Australian Idol season 9 you may have noticed a homegrown talent woo judges with a touching soul performance.

She didn’t look it, but when the 19-year-old Cynthia Negash from Kurunjang stood before the judges – Amy Shark, Marcia Hines and Kyle Sandilands – she said she was “terrified”.

“I was actually sick and had tonsillitis for my audition and because of my song choice, I knew I had to hit that big note right off the bat which was incredibly nerve wracking,” she said.

“Just standing there in front of the judges on the Australian Idol logo will forever feel surreal to me.”

Cynthia prevailed over her nerves when she performed Something’s Got a Hold on Me by Etta James, winning her a “yes” from all three judges, a Golden Ticket into the top 30 Australian Idol Contestants, and even a hug from Marcia.

Cynthia grew up in a very musical household. Which she said helped her develop a broad taste in music, but she has a particular connection to the Etta James track.

“My song choice had a bit of a double meaning,” she said.

“I have always been a lover of older music and particularly admire Etta James. She has such a unique powerful voice and was a Black woman making music at a time where racism and segregation were very much prevalent. She inspires me so much to continue

breaking barriers, especially with music.

“The second part of my reasoning behind my song choice being that when I was younger, my friend and I had watched the movie Burlesque and became instantly obsessed with the glitz and glamour of it all. The first song of the movie is a rendition of Something’s Got a Hold on Me sung by Christina Aguliera.”

Cynthia said getting the judges’ approval was an “insane” feeling.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it. My mum and I have watched these kinds of shows all throughout my childhood and adolescence and although I never said it out loud, I’d always hoped it would be me on one of those stages one day,” she said.

“As a whole, auditioning for Australian Idol was such an amazing experience. I was surprised at how lovely and genuine all the people were.”

You can follow Cynthia’s Idol journey on channel 7 and 7plus.