Australian singer Paulini has opened up about her TV scandal at the beginning of her career, saying there's no way it could happen today.

At 33, Paulini's certainly fitter than she's ever been - a world away from the curvy teen who unwittingly provided one of the most controversial moments in Australian Idol history when she found herself on the receiving end of harsh feedback from judge Ian 'Dicko' Dickson.

As Paulini stood on stage alone after her performance, dressed in a tight gold frock and ready to hear the judges' critique, Dicko uttered the words that would spark a national debate: "You should choose more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds."

It was a shocking comment - made even harder to watch by the fact that Paulini, ever gracious, smiled and thanked the judge for his feedback.


Looking back on the infamous moment some 14 years later, Paulini acknowledges that it's hard to imagine those comments flying today.

"I think it has changed a lot - there's no way anyone could do that today. People would just be outraged. There's no way," she says.

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"And anyway, they shouldn't be able to; these are often young kids standing up there being judged. We have so many problems with young girls who don't think they're skinny enough. There's so much pressure about this mould that you have to fit into - it's all crap."

Despite that tough moment in the spotlight, Paulini says she has no regrets about the show that kickstarted her career - but she'd have one simple piece of advice for anyone considering trying out for a TV singing contest today.

"Now that I watch these shows like X Factor and The Voice, I think people take themselves too seriously. The contestants go on there expecting so much and are so serious about the whole process.

"You're just setting yourself up for failure - if you don't get it, you think your whole world's over. It's really not!"

Paulini is set to make her musical theatre debut next month, following in the footsteps of Whitney Houston to star in The Bodyguard: The Musical.


Perhaps anticipating the inevitable comparisons to Whitney, The Bodyguard team have already released the musical's showstopper on social media: Paulini delivering a gorgeous, faithful take on Houston's biggest hit, I Will Always Love You.