Guy Sebastian is not just 'making up the numbers' this year. Photo: Jonathan Carroll
Before this year, Guy Sebastian had been nominated 17 times for Australian Recording Industry Association awards and won only two. Jessica Mauboy's record is one victory from 12 nods. Matt Corby won his first and as yet only ARIA award last year.
All these artists got their break on Australian Idol and all have, so far, fallen foul of the ARIAs' so-called curse for reality-television stars: none have won a peer-voted ARIA.
Tonight, thanks to success at home and abroad with critics and consumers, that could change. Sebastian is not just making up the numbers in the best album, male and pop categories, Mauboy is a real chance for best female, and Corby, who admittedly didn't capitalise on his Idol experience anyway, will give Sebastian and the rest a run for their money as best male.
''It definitely is a part of the market and it's definitely a way for people to get into the industry,'' says ARIA chief executive Dan Rosen of the influence of television talent shows, ''but all it does is open the door for you. Then it's about how good you are once you step through the door.
''You know, Guy Sebastian's had a 10-year career and six albums going platinum. Jess Mauboy's continuing to put the runs on the board. It really becomes about what you've done and what you're continuing to do. If you write great songs and if you're a great live performer, then you should be recognised for that.''
Mauboy couldn't agree more. ''I think for anything you've got to prove yourself,'' she says. ''You've got to prove people wrong and show them what you have and how much you can take … I think I've done that enough for myself on a personal level.''
Rosen is looking forward to seeing Mauboy and the other talented home-grown artists - including electronica wunderkind Flume, psych-rockers Tame Impala and hip-hop crew Bliss n Eso - performing.
''We've had 13 Australian No. 1s this year, the most ever,'' he says. ''There's an incredible crop of next-generation-of-Australian-artists coming through and to see them all perform on the one stage, together with some incredible international guests in Alicia Keys and Lorde, it's a very exciting moment for Australian music.
''Gotye proved last year that Australian music is as good as anywhere in the world … We have the talent and if the ARIAs can help give our artists another boost, then that's what we're all about.''
Nominees Birds of Tokyo, March Fires (EMI); Flume, Flume (Future Classic); Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd/Kobalt); Guy Sebastian, Armageddon (Sony); Tame Impala, Lonerism (Modular).
Winner? Five strong contenders here across an impressive variety of genres, if not genders. Despite Sebastian’s often world-class Armageddon it looks like being a shoot-out between Flume and Tame Impala.
Nominees Birds of Tokyo; Boy & Bear; Empire of the Sun; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds; Tame Impala.
Winner? You can narrow this down to the mainstream (Birds of Tokyo), the venerable (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and the hip (Tame Impala). We have our money on ‘the hip’.
Nominees Matt Corby; Flume; Paul Kelly; Guy Sebastian; Keith Urban.
Winner? Sebastian is in with a very competitive shout here – as is Corby – but it looks like being Flume’s year. Surprises can happen, though ...
Nominees Sarah Blasko; Missy Higgins; Emma Louise; Jessica Mauboy; Abbe May.
Winner? Blasko appeals to more demographics but Mauboy might actually win this – and make a little bit of Idol/ARIA history.
The ARIAs live blog starts at 5pm, theage.com.au