“Doing a song he has actually written himself called ‘Yes I Am’, and proving why he deserves to be here tonight, is Jack Vidgen,” Grant Denyer told Australia’s Got Talent viewers when he introduced the 14 year old singer last night.
Today a Seven spokesperson confirmed to TV Tonight that Vidgen in fact co-wrote the song with Erana Clarke, former vocal coach on Australian Idol and The X Factor, and A2, as part of a Sony Music composition. It was arranged by the show’s musical director Dorian West.
“Yes I Am” was a big crowd-pleaser last night, drawing a standing ovation from the audience and judges and amply demonstrating his vocal skills.
Judge Kyle Sandilands said, “The kid can sing better than nearly anyone I know, he’s a charming, good, well-natured likeable kid, he’s now a songwriter.”
Brian McFadden added, “I heard you were singing your own song tonight and I was ‘Maybe…. I was getting really annoyed as to how perfect you’d been up ’til now. This kid’s a freak, and it was getting on my nerves because he was too good. Oh he’s writing his own song? There’s no way he can write a song as good as the other songs he’s covered.’ And he did.
“It’s just blatantly obvious you are a superstar.”
Today it isn’t clear how much of the song the young singer wrote himself, whether it was music, lyric or both.
The spokesperson said the song was constructed to reflect the journey Vidgen has had with the show, thrust in the spotlight with over a million hits on YouTube. They denied the song already existed and merely tweaked with a lyric in order to give Vidgen a composer credit.
Indeed, in the music industry many pop stars have been known for adding a handful of lyrics in order to land a credit and the subsequent royalties.
But it isn’t the first time a TV talent show has neglected to outline a song’s origins.
In 2004 Australian Idol told its viewers Dianne Warren had written “Listen To Your Heart” especially for series winner Casey Donovan -but the song had actually been recorded in 1998 by gospel singer CeCe Winans.
Others who performed their own songs on AGT didn’t fare as well as Vidgen. Singer-musicians Dan Conway and Adam Hynes failed to make the Grand Final, with judges commenting that performing their own material was a risk with the voting audience.
It remains to be seen if showcasing the song as a composition by the young singer will increase his voting chances at the expense of the 9 other acts.
His popularity has emerged from his performance ability rather than his songwriting, with many viewers commenting on the strength of his vocals at such a young age.
The majority of voting for talent shows also takes place straight after the show has aired.
This year’s series has been a runaway hit for Seven, despite -or possibly, due in part to- negative stories, including a plagiarism claim levelled at comedian Jordan Paris, and a ‘backstage tantrum’ detailed by host Grant Denyer but subsequently denied by pianist ‘Chooka’ Parker.
The announcement of the winner will air next Tuesday night, and is expected to top the 2 million viewer mark once again.
Seven says Sony is expected to release “Yes I Am” next Wednesday regardless of who wins the show.
UPDATE: Seven has since advised Jack wrote the lyrics and collaborated on music.