Count Jessica Mauboy among the myriad young singers launched to fame via the reality TV phenomenon of the early 21st century.
Born August 4, 1989 in Darwin, Australia, Mauboy earned her first taste of celebrity at 14, when she won a local talent search and scored a recording deal with Sony. Her country-inspired rendition of the Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" went nowhere, however, and she returned to relative obscurity until auditioning for the Network Ten amateur talent showcase Australian Idol 2006. Despite a few bumps in the road -- most notably a sore throat that resulted in a mediocre rendition of Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise" and near-elimination -- Mauboy succeeded to the finals, albeit not without controversy: Detractors cited her previous Sony tenure as grounds for dismissal, but since the contract had long ago expired, Australian Idol producers refused to boot her from the show. Considered the favorite by prognosticators, Mauboy nevertheless fell to Damien Leith on the series' November 13, 2006 finale. A month later, she signed to Sony BMG and in February 2007 released a live album, The Journey, which cracked the Aussie Top Five thanks in part to the album's lead single, a cover of the Christina Aguilera ballad "Beautiful." Soon afterward, Mauboy joined the all-girl group Young Divas, assisting in the release of their second album, New Attitude. However, by mid-2008 she had left the group to focus on her solo ambitions. Later the same year, she released her debut studio album, Been Waiting, which featured her first number one single "Burn." Her initial success earned Mauboy a support slot for Beyoncé on the Australian leg of her world tour. Her sophomore album, 2010's Get 'Em Girls, leaned even further toward R&B. Although the record received mixed reviews from critics, it sold far more than her debut, with four of the singles achieving platinum status. By 2013 -- the year she released her third studio album Beautiful -- Mauboy had cemented status as one of Australia's biggest stars, with an almost constant presence in the charts; she was even invited to perform at the 2013 Eurovision song contest, representing Australia's love for the contest two years ahead of their first year as competitors. 2016 saw the release of her first number one album in Australia, titled The Secret Daughter. The record was primarily a soundtrack to the TV series of the same name, featuring a number of covers alongside six original tracks. ~ Jason Ankeny & Liam Martin