You won't believe this, and I can hardly believe it myself either. I'm hooked on that show on telly called _Australian Idol_. Yes, the Aussie version of _American Idol_ where a superstar is made, based on weekly performances and eliminations based on audience and home viewer votes.I scoff at so-called 'manufactured pop stars'. There even was a show called 'PopStars' where a person or group was picked out of the public and shoved into superstardom and one of them was a bunch of aussie girls called Bardot. Well, needless to say, we never heard from them again. So how is it that I'm so keen on _Idol_ now? Well initially I figured _Idol_ was just another PopStars-like show, until I watched it for the first time at a friend's place over dinner. These performers were more than I expected. They were really good, because they were picked out of tens of thousands of auditions held around australia, and whittled down to the 12 finalists. Every week they'd perform a song to a given theme for that week. While there's a panel of 3 judges who give their comments, good or bad, at the end of each contestant's performance, ultimately it's the public's vote (via phone or SMS) which decides who gets eliminated every week, until a single Australian Idol is left standing. I guess what makes this different is that you get to see the same contestants change and grow as the weeks go by, challenged by the different genres of music they have to perform (they are free to pick their own songs, though), and taking the advice of the judges (or not). Sundays is when they perform, but Mondays are the gut-wrenching Verdict night when the votes from the previous night's performance is tallied and the ones with the lowest votes are booted from the compo. It's painful to see the emotion from the performers, their fellow competitors (they've become close friends since) and even the judges. It's a bit like Survivor minus the bitchy back-stabbing. It's not hard to see that the judges have their favourites, but they have no say in the final outcome of the competition, but their comments can sometimes sway the public's opinion and thus, their votes. There's an _Idol_ extra on Thursdays called _Inside Idol_ which shows what goes on behind the scenes during rehearsals and what goes on at the studio and Idol HQ, a house in Sydney where all the finalists are living, 'Big Brother'-style. I reckon Guy Sebastian, one of the contestants, looks a bit like my uncle Andrew Shanta, what do you think, mom? This week 5 finalists remain, and each performed 2 songs, but by this time tomorrow there will be 4. Who will it be? My pick for the eventual winner? Either Shannon or Cosima.