Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: Former Australian Idol star Paulini reflects on her Dancing with the Stars journey

''I am so tired of talking about the gold dress.''
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Dancing With The Stars’ Paulini Curuenavuli is tired – and not just from the intense training she’s been putting in for the show! “I am so tired of talking about the gold dress,” she laughs. “I’m sick of it.”

And the 40-year-old singer says it wasn’t her idea to give the look she made famous on Australian Idol in 2003 a spin on DWTS – but it has followed her around ever since judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson urged her to “shed some pounds”.

“Hell no,” she tells Woman’s Day. “If it was up to me, I would never, ever wear a gold dress again.”

Paulini’s gold dress made its debut on Australian Idol.

(Image: Supplied)

DWTS is an experience she’d do over and over, though. “I’m obsessed with this show,” says Paulini.

“My goal in this was to have fun because I’ve been wanting to be on it for ages.”

In fact, she laughs, “One year I approached them and I said, ‘Look, you know, I’m available.’ And they were like, ‘Nah, we’re good.'”

But now she’s finally scored the gig, the former Young Diva has been impressing both viewers and judges with her moves.

“I think you learn so much when you’re under pressure,” adds the star, who admits she’s surprised herself.

“I thought I’d be out the first week,” she says.

Paulini is dancing up a storm on the 2023 season of Dancing with the Stars.

(Image: Getty)


Paulini’s boyfriend, who she won’t name, is her biggest fan.

“He’s the handsome big guy cheering me on in the audience,” she shares.

“He’s basically my bodyguard,” she laughs.

The fact that she’s no longer single means Paulini has been able to rule out another of her reality show ambitions, appearing on The Bachelorette.

“I’m very happy,” she says of her romance.

Of course, the other main man in her life in recent months has been her dance partner, Igor Ifliand.

“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d have gotten as far as I did,” she says of the professional dancer.

The singer is happily in love.

(Image: Getty)


Paulini admits the experience on the show has been “harder than I expected”.

“I didn’t think I’d have to spend that many hours going over routines and learning techniques,” she tells Woman’s Day.

“It was a massive shock to my system.”

Paulini’s a woman who loves a challenge though, and she already has her eye on the next one!

The star says she’d “absolutely” love to be a judge on the rebooted Australian Idol if it returns next year.

“I’ve got a lot of constructive criticism that I’d like to share with the people,” jokes Paulini, who says she hasn’t been approached – yet.

“They haven’t [reached out], unfortunately,” she says. “They should, though!”

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