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Hi-5 (Australian band)

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Hi-5
A distant stage shot of five performers, all are in bright clothes and have their right hand raised in the air. All have headset microphones, most are facing to their right and dancing. Behind them are movable sections, each is brightly coloured.
Background information
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Children's, edutainment, pop
Years active 1998 (1998)–present
Labels Sony
Website www.hi-5world.com
Members
  • Lachie Dearing
  • Courtney Clarke
  • Shay Clifford
  • Joe Kalou
  • Bailey Spalding
Past members see Members below

Hi-5 are an Australian children's musical group formed in 1998, who are associated with the children's television series of the same name. As of December 2016, the members are Lachie Dearing, Courtney Clarke, Shay Clifford, Joe Kalou and Bailey Spalding. The group is aimed at preschoolers, composed of five performers who entertain and educate children through music, movement and play. Hi-5 was created by Helena Harris and Posie Graeme-Evans, initially a television series for the Nine Network, which premiered in 1999. The cast of the show became a recognised musical group for children.

The original members were Kellie Crawford, Kathleen de Leon Jones, Nathan Foley, Tim Harding and Charli Robinson. Four of their albums reached the top 10 on the ARIA Albums Chart, It's a Party (No. 4, July 2000), Boom Boom Beat (No. 3, August 2001), It's a Hi-5 Christmas (No. 4, December 2001) and Hi-5 Hits (No. 10, July 2003). This line-up had been completely phased out by the end of 2008, following de Leon Jones, who left on maternity leave in 2006. The membership has since changed several times. The brand has produced numerous television series, music albums, worldwide tours and merchandise. The appeal of the group overseas has led to international versions. The television series features puppet characters Chatterbox and Jup Jup, who are popular associates of the group and are included in the live stage shows.

Hi-5 were one of Australia's highest paid entertainment entities, placing in the Business Review Weekly's annual list several times, earning an estimated A$18million in 2009. The members of Hi-5 are employees of the brand and do not hold equity. Their albums have been certified by ARIA as double platinum (It's a Party), platinum (Jump and Jive with Hi-5, Boom Boom Beat, It's a Hi-5 Christmas) and gold (Celebrate). By 2004 the original line-up had received five consecutive Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards in the same category, Best Children's Album, a then-record. By that time they had also received three Logie Television Awards for Most Outstanding Children's Program. Foley stated that Hi-5 set a benchmark for a new style of non-traditional children's entertainment. Hi-5 broke into the South East Asian market after the brand was sold by the Nine Network in 2012. Nine renewed its partnership with the franchise in 2016.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Hi-5 were formed in 1998 in Sydney, Australia as a children's musical group. Television producer Helena Harris, who had worked on Bananas in Pyjamas, co-created Hi-5 as a concept for a new television show. She and co-producer Posie Graeme-Evans (The Miraculous Mellops, Mirror, Mirror)[1][2] developed the series as preschool entertainment, incorporating educational trends with a pop music appeal, using music and movement to capture the attention of children.[3][4] Featuring five performers, the cast are intended to act as older siblings of viewers, rather than adults teaching children. The name of the group was derived from the high five gesture.[5]

Harris stated that her inspiration for Hi-5 came partly from living in England, where she realised that children are the same around the world, and expected the show would appeal universally, with accessible themes such as family and animals.[3] Harris strove to incorporate items of current interest to engage with the children and keep them interested in the show.[6] Harris also recalled watching pop group, the Spice Girls, who she believed were dancing moves of a standard which preschoolers could replicate.[7] The creators saw the need for "life-affirming" television for rapidly maturing preschoolers, and found that most children learned from shows which incorporated movement and song.[8]

After auditions for the group in June 1998[9] (narrowing down "about 300" people to only five),[10] the television pilot for Hi-5 was produced in mid 1998, with the original cast consisting of Kellie Crawford (née Hoggart), Kathleen de Leon Jones, Nathan Foley, Tim Harding and Charli Robinson, who were aged between 18 and 24 at the time of filming.[11] After being commissioned and filmed, the series first aired in April 1999.[12] The corresponding debut album, Jump and Jive with Hi-5, was released in September by Sony Music and reached No. 33 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[13] The group toured around Sydney in their first year.[11]

Harris stated that the energy of the group was fast paced, replicating the style of a music video, which children seem to enjoy.[14] The educational theories incorporated were disguised with music and entertainment, with the band's work being designed to have multiple layers and cater for a wide range of ages in the audience, while being primarily aimed at those aged 2–8.[3][14] Harris explained that Hi-5 was primarily a television series, but the music itself had the ability to stand alone.[15] She expected that the series would initially become formatted into international versions, however was so confident with the original cast that the Australian series was sold overseas instead.[3]

Early success[edit]

Hi-5 had initial success throughout the early years, winning the 2000 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children's Program, and ARIA Award for Best Children's Album for Jump and Jive with Hi-5.[16][17] Hi-5 continued to film one television series and record one music album each year, with their releases consistently receiving album accreditations; Celebrate was certified as gold, while Jump and Jive with Hi-5, Boom Boom Beat and It's a Hi-5 Christmas went platinum, and It's a Party received double platinum status.[18][19][20] Four of their albums reached the top 10 on the ARIA Albums Chart, It's a Party (No. 4, July 2000), Boom Boom Beat (No. 3, August 2001), It's a Hi-5 Christmas (No. 4, December 2001) and Hi-5 Hits (No. 10, July 2003).[13] Hi-5 also toured nationally every year, with sell-out concerts in venues such as the Sydney Opera House.[8][21] The quintet's production of Hi-5 Alive won the 2002 Helpmann Award for "Best Children's Stage Show".[22] In 2001 and occasions earlier, the cast stated that they never did not expect that Hi-5 would become so successful. Robinson explained that it was not until they went on tour that the realised their popularity. Crawford described the band as "a pop group for kids".[23]

In 2002, it was revealed that Crawford and Foley were in a personal relationship.[24] The couple were engaged in 2005, however called off the wedding plans in late 2006.[25][26]

The TV series had a successful premiere in the UK in early 2003, which led the group to tour in 2004 with the award-winning Hi-5 Alive show, later returning in 2005 and 2006.[3][27] New Zealand and Singapore were also frequent touring destinations.[21][28] In 2005, Hi-5 performed in arena venues around Australia, in order to "maximise the crowds".[10] By the end of 2005, Hi-5 had performed to a total audience of over one and a half million people around the world.[29]

Group members expressed just how demanding their role in the group had been, describing the job as "hard work" and "a tough gig", with touring for nine months of every year and filming the television series for most of the remainder, creating little time in their lives for anything else.[30] Members also saw importance of being "career driven" and in portraying a positive image of themselves to the public in their personal lives, being "always on".[30] However, the cast insisted that the stressful work was well worth it to see a smile on a child's face, and described the bond between the members as "like family".[31][32] In 2005 Harding stated the lifestyle was "quite hard in the beginning."[33] In October 2015 Robinson stated she had tried to leave the group "after eight years" but was convinced by producers to stay. She expressed that the following years she spent with the group were her favourite, and that she was proud of her decision to continue.[30]

Replacement of original members[edit]

The original Hi-5 line-up were together for eight series of the TV show. In early 2006, de Leon Jones announced she was pregnant, and would take maternity leave from April onwards. Sun Park was introduced as her temporary replacement, while de Leon Jones gave birth to her first child in July.[34][35][36] Park was part of the television series filming in 2006, and toured with the group across Australia and New Zealand over 2006 and 2007.[37][38] In July 2006 de Leon Jones stated that she was intent on returning to Hi-5, however in July 2007, made the decision to permanently leave the group to focus on being a mother.[39][40] Park took her place as a permanent member with the group.[40] Harris stated that by 2007, "Hi-5 [was] still evolving and maintaining its relevance and freshness".[41]

An upper body shot of a 27-year-old man. He is standing with his hands tucked into his pants' pockets and smiling. Behind him are hoarding signs with names of commercial sponsors.
Stevie Nicholson, Surry Hills, November 2011.

Harding was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in June 2007, which left him unable to keep up with the high energy of Hi-5.[42][43] Just a few days prior to this, Stevie Nicholson was hired as an understudy, and put straight into work as a temporary replacement for Harding.[44] The group begun rehearsals for the Hi-5 Circus Stageshow tour in August, the first time the group would take on such a physically demanding show, with the theme of circus incorporating tricks such as trapeze, tightrope walking and gymnastics. Nicholson debuted on tour with the Circus show in August.[45] Harding announced his permanent departure in November after recovering from injuries.[43] Of his time with the group, he said, "I've had an incredible journey with Hi-5, one I will always cherish".[46] Nicholson took his place as a permanent member. Harris stated "it's like [he] was born to this job."[44]

In February 2008, Robinson (by then Delaney) announced that she would be leaving the group.[47] Robinson revealed she wanted to prove herself as a figure for an adult audience, stating, "I kind of need to de-Hi-5 myself ... I have been this character for the past ten years." She was proud of her "ten truly wonderful years", and stated she would help find a replacement member.[48] After leaving she went on to find success presenting in the Australian media industry.[49] In April, Casey Burgess was announced as Robinson's replacement, and began touring with the group.[50]

The Hi-5 brand was purchased by the Nine Network, along with production company Southern Star, in March 2008.[51] The change of ownership saw Harris and Graeme-Evans end their involvement with the franchise, which was placed under the direction of Martin Hersov and Cathy Payne, also Nine and Southern Star executives.[51]

It was announced in October that Crawford would be leaving the group at the end of the year to explore other options. On her ten years with the group, she said, "I would've always taken this opportunity if I was given it again. It's taken me all over the world".[52] A month later, last remaining original member Foley also announced his departure. He expressed interest in focusing on his adult music career.[53] He stated, "I'll always love Hi-5 and I'm very proud to be one of the original cast members, but after 10 years in the group its time for me to move on and explore other opportunities".[54]

In December News.com.au's Confidential reporter alleged that Hi-5's production company had asked Crawford and Foley to leave, and that the company were "opting to recruit younger, cheaper performers."[55] The pair remained silent in response to these reports.[55] Later in December, Park also announced she would be leaving the group, expressing she expected to only be a temporary replacement. Park denied the industry rumours, saying that there had been no pressure for any of them to resign.[56] The departing members finished the Australian Playtime tour together and had their final performance at Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve in Melbourne. Of the large cast change, in later years Burgess revealed it had been a difficult transition. "We didn't know what was coming up for a moment there," she said, "It was just [Nicholson] and I going, 'OK, what's happening now?'"[57]

Second generation[edit]

After auditions for three new members in late 2008, the new cast began work in January 2009. Lauren Brant, Fely Irvine and Tim Maddren were announced to be joining Nicholson and Burgess, forming the line-up known as the "new generation".[58] Burgess said, "It's a new generation for a new generation. To be honest, it doesn't really matter who's up there in pigtails singing and dancing, kids just love Hi-5."[59] Hi-5 toured Australia in early 2010, establishing a connection with more regional locations throughout the country.[60] The group also celebrated the 500th episode of the television series in 2010,[61] and in 2011 recognised the group's rich musical history by reintroducing classic songs to a new generation of fans.[62]

Full body shot of two smiling women. Woman at left is taller and has her right hand at her hip, the other woman has her arm around the back of the first. They stand in front of hoarding signs.
Lauren Brant and Dayen Zheng, The Ivy Ballroom, Sydney, November 2012

Irvine's final performance as part of Hi-5 was at Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve 2011. She stated, "My time with Hi-5 has been a magical chapter of my life", while a network representative said she was leaving to explore "other career options".[63] Her replacement Dayen Zheng joined the group in January 2012.[63] Maddren described Zheng as having a great energy and being a "perfect fit".[64]

In June 2012 the Nine Network announced that the Hi-5 brand has been sold in its entirety to Malaysian-based equity group, Asiasons, following Nine's ongoing financial difficulties.[65][66][67] Datuk Jared Lim, Asiason's managing director, revealed plans to expand Hi-5 throughout South East Asia, while keeping the group's presence in Australia intact.[65] Lim became the brand's chairman while Julie Greene, former producer of the television series, took on the role as executive creative director.[65][66]

On Christmas Eve 2012, Burgess and Maddren announced that they would be leaving the group.[68] Maddren had secured a role the Australian musical production of The Addams Family, while Burgess had decided to explore other options and expand her solo music career.[69][70] She stated, "It has been an amazing five years and I am so thankful to all of [the fans] for being amazing supporters".[70][71] The pair departed in January 2013.

Third generation: Hi-5 House[edit]

New members Mary Lascaris and Ainsley Melham were announced in January 2013, joining Nicholson, Brant and Zheng.[72] The auditions held in late 2012 were filmed and turned into a documentary style cinematic release, Some Kind of Wonderful, which premiered exclusively through Hoyts Cinemas in Australia from March.[73] This line-up were branded as a "new generation" of the group by press.[72][73] Of the film, Nicholson said, "I'm proud of how diligent we were about finding wholesome new talent, people with a great energy and who are genuinely lovely people."[72] A new television series entitled Hi-5 House was filmed in Singapore and premiered on pay-TV channel Nick Jr. in Australia in November 2013.[74][75]

Brant's final performances were in July 2014 for the Australian House Hits tour, in which the cast wore costumes she designed under her new fashion label, Loliboli.[76] Brant stated she had "the most amazing journey".[76] She was replaced by Tanika Anderson, who had already worked with the group as an understudy and puppeteer from October 2013, describing the role as her "dream job".[77][78] Anderson debuted in the second series of Hi-5 House, which aired in 2014 and celebrated fifteen years of Hi-5 on Australian television.[79] The House Hits tour was taken internationally throughout 2014 and early 2015, with an increase in touring locations. The group premiered in the Middle East with a Dubai tour, and returned to Bangkok for the first time in ten years. A sold out run in the Philippines saw the group return for an encore season in 2015.[80]

By 2015, Hi-5's ongoing success led to the group being described as an "institution".[81] The cast noted that some of their audience now included parents who had watched Hi-5 as children, and also stated that the group members themselves grew up with the original Hi-5.[81] In 2015 former member Robinson, then radio presenter, described the extended Hi-5 cast as "alumni" which she enjoyed being a part of, using her job to stay in contact with the current cast. She described it as "always being part of the same Hi-5 family".[30] Hi-5 House won an Asian Television Award for Best Preschool Program in 2015,[82] and premiered worldwide on online television streaming service Netflix on 25 March 2016.[83][84]

In August 2015 Nicholson announced he would depart at the end of the year, to further his performing career and authoring a series of children's books, Superdudes.[85] Of his time, he stated, "it has been an absolute whirlwind journey", and expressed that he had learned more from children than he had been able to teach.[85][86] Nicholson had his final performance with the group on the House of Dreams farewell tour in December. The tour received positive reviews, described as a "children's masterpiece in entertainment – slick, funny, and amazingly well-choreographed and performed".[87] New member Lachie Dearing was introduced in January 2016 with the Songfest tour throughout regional New South Wales.[84][88]

Melham was cast in an Australian musical production of Xanadu in January 2016, and announced he would be leaving Hi-5, after already performing his final shows with the group. He stated that he felt it was time to transition back into his theatre roots after "an incredible experience" with Hi-5.[89] Melham was replaced by Gabe Brown, who was introduced on tour in February.[90] After three months with the group, Brown was replaced by Chris White in May, who served as an acting member of the group.[91][92] Hi-5 returned to New Zealand in October for the first time since 2008, performing the House Hits show.[93]

Fourth generation: Hi-5 revival[edit]

The Nine Network announced it was renewing its partnership with the Hi-5 franchise in October 2016 and revealed plans to revive the original television series with a new cast in 2017.[94] Greene stated "we’re really excited to be working with Nine to develop a reinvigorated Hi-5 show".[95] As a result, Zheng, Lascaris, Anderson and White had their final performances in December 2016.[96][97][92] After auditions were held in November 2016, new members Courtney Clarke, Shay Clifford, Joe Kalou and Bailey Spalding were revealed in December, joining Dearing to form the next generation of the group.[98][99] The quintet debuted at Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, being Hi-5's first appearance at the Nine event since 2012.[100][101] The new television series premiered in May 2017 on Go! Kids.[102]

Musical style[edit]

Hi-5 has a distinguishable pop music sound, being described as "a pop group for kids" by Crawford in 2001 and Foley in 2004.[23][103] Chris Harriott is the primary composer of the group's music, having written thousands of Hi-5 songs (including feature songs of the week and shorter songlets) thus creating a sense of musical consistency for the group. Graeme-Evans and Harriott had worked together when he scored the theme for the teen drama series, Mirror, Mirror (1995).[2] He had previously worked with Harris as a composer on Bananas in Pyjamas; and had individually worked in Australian theatre.[15][104][105] He was originally approached by the creators with the task of writing top ten songs for an age range of 2–6.[15] Harriott, a father himself, has been described as "in tune" with the children of today[15] and praised by Harris as "prolific" in his writing.[3] She cited his music as one of the reasons for Hi-5's success, writing music which was "easy to dance to and easy to sing along to".[15] Harris also stated that of the group, the music itself has the ability to stand alone, describing them as "a part of Australia's music history."[15] Harriott has worked with a group of regular lyricists, including Chris Phillips, Leone Carey and Lisa Hoppe, who contributed to successful material.[106][107]

"Music is an international language. It speaks to everyone, across the globe because it's something that can be felt, it communicates with the heart."

—Ainsley Melham, 2015[108]

Foley has praised the group's musical style on several occasions.[103] He described the concept as innovative, as the music "is not nursery rhyme, it actually has a top 40 essence to it but the lyrics are for kids."[103] He suggested this musical appeal for all ages as a reason for the group having a large teenage and adult fanbase.[109] He cited the Wiggles as an influence of Hi-5, however he said that the respective groups have different "styles of music".[110] Hi-5 has been successful internationally. Foley explained how kids are universal and "love to hear music", suggesting that the music is part of how international audiences connect to the group.[110] Robinson stated the cast were encouraged to write their own music for the group, which all of the original members did, and by 2015 said she still receives occasional royalty cheques for her work.[30] Original member of the Wiggles, and classical musician, Phillip Wilcher declared that Hi-5 "successfully explore the essential components that come together to make music"; he detailed how the educational appeal "seems to happen gently and [the group] seem so at one with their audience of young folk... They also seem to know the subtle difference between childlike and childish".[111]

Educational theory[edit]

"We are a pop group but with educational values and we push this as much as possible. We take on a big brother or sister role as opposed to a parental role and just try to have fun."

—Nathan Foley, 2004[103]

Hi-5, and the related television series, were designed by educational experts to appeal to contemporary, "media-literate" children by relating to their world.[3] With the group being described as "for the kids of today", Hi-5 has been seen to evolve with the times, updating music and designing new looks and costumes to stay "abreast of the times".[10] One of the unique features of Hi-5 is that the cast are presented as older siblings to the children, educating the audience in a fun and entertaining way, through "play based learning", rather than appearing as adults who are teaching them.[85] The educational aspects of the group's content are disguised with music and entertainment, with the multiple layers of the show catering to a wide range of ages in the audience, while being primarily aimed at those aged 2–8.[3] Harris stated the group was careful about body-image issues, also believing Hi-5 helped to influence fashion in young people, and acknowledging it is acceptable to "enjoy the fact there are differences between boys and girls and men and women".[112]

"[Children] can relate to us. We are just big kids and we love to play. They see us as friends."

—Tanika Anderson, 2015[108]

The television series was created by Helena Harris and Posie Graeme-Evans, who based it around an underlying educational structure, primarily based on Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences. It is recognised that each child learns in a different way, and each cast member targets a different aspect of learning. Harris observed that most children had a favourite cast member, believing that they generally "respond more favourably to the presenter who models the learning style they prefer"[14] Harris stated that children "enjoy interacting with the presenters".[3] According to the group’s website, Hi-5 also uses Piaget's theory of cognitive development, providing a learning experience that promotes individual growth.[113] Lascaris stated, "Hi-5 teaches every child the crucial fundamentals of child development in a big, colourful, fun way."[108]

Music and movement play a large part integrating the elements of Hi-5 together, with music reinforcing the central ideas which the group presents, while also being entertaining. Harris intended for the themes promoted to be accessible so that the group would appeal universally, as she believed children were essentially the same around the world.[3] Physical interaction is encouraged, and heavily featured to make the show relatively fast paced, originally to replicate the energy of contemporary music videos.[14] Dancing is featured, with a focus on movements that increase the integration between the left and right sides of the brain.[5][113]

"No matter how rich or poor a child is they all just want to have fun... Aussie kids are open and expressive by nature and don't have a problem being a little loud and cheeky which I absolutely love. "

—Stevie Nicholson, 2015[114]

The live Hi-5 stage shows are designed to be presented as stage spectaculars, as the audiences of children attending the shows are usually experiencing their first theatre event.[115] The group encourage participation with several interactive elements throughout the shows, which the children "genuinely engage" with.[21] Group members have expressed that even in countries in which English is not the main spoken language, the children will still enjoy themselves.[114] However, the shows for these audiences are adapted to include "more songs, comedy and physical activity".[116] Greene stated the television show is designed to be a joined experience that parents should be able to enjoy along with their children, with the stage shows made to appeal to a whole family audience.[117] Nicholson described the experience of a parent being able to dance with their child at a concert as "special".[81]

Brand and finances[edit]

The Hi-5 brand was originally owned by its creators, Harris, and Graeme-Evans, under their joint privately owned production company Kids Like Us.[118] Unlike peer entertainers the Wiggles, the cast of Hi-5 did not hold equity, but were rather employees of the brand. Because of this, the original cast in early years stated that they had financial difficulties, even though the Hi-5 brand was earning millions. Crawford stated, "the money system has to go a long way around before it gets to us."[24] In March 2008, the Nine Network, along with production company Southern Star, purchased the Hi-5 brand.[51] The franchise was placed under the direction of Martin Hersov and Cathy Payne, also Nine and Southern Star executives, while Harris and Graeme-Evans ended their involvement with the company along with the sale.[51]

The brand dropped from a net worth of A$18million in 2009 to A$9.7million in 2010.[119] In June 2012 it was announced that the Nine Network, after their financial difficulties, had sold the Hi-5 brand to Asian equity group, Asiasons.[65][66][67] The Malaysian-based company’s managing director Datuk Jared Lim revealed that they planned to expand the brand throughout South East Asia, but expressed that Hi-5's presence in Australia would remain intact.[65] Former series producer Julie Greene took on the role as executive creative director and Lim became the brand's chairman.[65][66] The Hi-5 brand was consolidated under new platform Tremendous Entertainment Group (TEG) in 2014, following Asiasons privatising and rebranding as Tremendous Asia Partners (TAP).[120]

The Nine Network announced it was renewing its partnership with the Hi-5 franchise in October 2016 and revealed plans to revive the television series with a new cast in 2017.[94]

Philanthropy[edit]

Hi-5 joined World Vision Australia as ambassadors in 2009, beginning their work in the Philippines while on a promotional tour.[121] The group have since gone on volunteer trips to Cambodia in 2012, and Myanmar in 2015.[122] Hi-5 also became representatives of the Starlight Children's Foundation in 2009, having previously held a history with the foundation.[123] Their work includes regular hospital visits and attending and performing at fundraising events. The group has since maintained their relationship with both organisations, still active ambassadors in 2015.[124][125]

International versions[edit]

The international appeal of Hi-5 has led to successful local versions, with all of the groups touring and producing local versions of the television series. In 2002, an American version of Hi-5 was created, with the group touring the US and Canada until their final performance in 2007.[126][127] A UK group was similarly introduced in 2008, touring the UK and Ireland over 2009 and 2010 before disbanding.[128][129] After Hi-5's sale in 2012, there was a return to licensing international versions of the group. In 2014, a Latin American group was created, followed by a local version for the Philippines being introduced in 2015, due to Hi-5's success there.[130][131]

Reception[edit]

Hi-5 have enjoyed success throughout their history with international tours, charting music albums and awards. The television series has historically aired in over 80 countries, and was consistently the highest rating program on Disney Junior Asia from its premiere in 2012 to 2016.[84][132] Hi-5 has a large teenage and adult following, with the pop appeal of the music being one of the reasons leading to a group of dedicated older fans.[110] Hi-5 became known as one of Australia's highest paid entertainment entities, listed in the Business Review Weekly's annual list several times, earning an estimated A$18million in 2009.[133] The group's performance was described by Sally Murphy of Aussiereviews.com as "bright, full of music and catchy tunes,"[134] with the original line-up praised by the website's Magdalena Ball for their "consistent camaraderie, [and] varied and well coordinated talent as singers, performers, and dancers."[135] Ball credited their appeal to the members being positive role models.[136] In 2013, Child Magazine's Brooke Tasovac commended "the energy and enthusiasm of new and old cast members", adding that "they all seem to genuinely love what they do".[137] In 2014, Jo Abi of blog Mamamia praised the group's diversity.[138]

By the end of 2005, Hi-5 had performed to a total audience of over one and a half million people around the world.[29][139] In 2005, Hi-5 performed in arena venues around Australia, in order to "maximise the crowds".[10] Foley and Robinson stated they "never expected" the group to experience so much success.[23] The group won five ADVIA (Australian DVD and Video Industry Association Awards) for their releases and consistently received album accreditations from ARIA. Celebrate was accredited as gold, while Jump and Jive with Hi-5, Boom Boom Beat and It's a Hi-5 Christmas went platinum, and It's a Party received double platinum status.[18][19][20][139] Four of the original line-up's albums reached the top 10 on the ARIA Albums Chart, It's a Party (No. 4, July 2000), Boom Boom Beat (No. 3, August 2001), It's a Hi-5 Christmas (No. 4, December 2001) and Hi-5 Hits (No. 10, July 2003).[13]

Hi-5 finds success as a leading children's theatre entity. The stage show Hi-5 Alive won a Helpmann award for Best Presentation for Children 2002.[22] A successful sold out tour of the House Hits show in the Philippines in 2014 led to the group returning for an encore run of the tour in 2015.[80] Reviewing the Circus Stageshow in 2008 and speaking of the group's circus skills, Nicole Bittar of The Age reported, "the ever-ebullient television quintet have a promising alternative career if they ever tire of preschool-idol status".[140] The House of Dreams stage show in 2015 received praise from The Daily Telegraph, describing it as a "children's masterpiece in entertainment – slick, funny, and amazingly well-choreographed and performed".[87]

In her blog for The Daily Telegraph in 2011, Sarrah Le Marquand criticised Brant's performance, claiming "for all her sweet enthusiasm, Brant cannot sing a note". She suggested the line-up at the time were "melodically challenged".[141] Reviewing the group's performance at Carols by Candlelight in December 2016, which served as the debut performance of most group members, David Knox of TV Tonight stated "while it wasn’t a memorable first outing, perhaps they will find their place in a setting that showcases their talent".[142] In 2017, Australian Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield jokingly expressed concern about the nature of the group which allows the membership to change over time, suggesting "I think the thing that should most worry parents is the ever-changing ensemble that makes up Hi-5".[143]

Members[edit]

Timeline

Discography[edit]

  • Jump and Jive with Hi-5 (1999)
  • It's a Party (2000)
  • Boom Boom Beat (2001)
  • It's a Hi-5 Christmas (2001)
  • Celebrate (2002)
  • Hi-5 Holiday (2003)
  • Jingle Jangle Jingle with Hi-5 (2004)
  • Making Music (2005)
  • Wish Upon a Star (2006)
  • Wow! (2007)
  • Planet Earth (2008)
  • Spin Me Round (2009)
  • Turn the Music Up! (2010)
  • Sing it Loud (2011)
  • Hi-5 Hot Hits! (2014)

Tours[edit]

The band tours annually with stage shows based on the television series. The shows are concert style and feature songs and segments, usually strung together with a narrative. Puppet characters Chatterbox and Jup Jup feature also. Hi-5 have visited several countries in which they are popular, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.

  • Jump and Jive with Hi-5 (1999)[11]
  • It's a Party (2000)
  • Hi-5 Alive (2001, 2002, 2004)[5][103][144]
  • Celebrate (2002)[21]
  • Come On and Party (2003–04)[145]
  • Space Magic (2005–06)[29]
  • Live Action Heroes (2006–07)[37]
  • Hi-5 Circus Stage Show (2007–08)[45]
  • Party Street (2008) – Regional Australia[50]
  • Playtime (2008)[54]
  • Hi-5 Surprise (2009–10)[57]
  • Turn the Music Up! (2011)[146]
  • Hi-5 Holiday (2012–13)[63]
  • Hi-5 House Party (2013–14)[74]
  • Hi-5 House Hits (2014–15, 2016)[80][93]
  • Hi-5 House of Dreams (2015)[87]
  • Hi-5 Songfest (2016) – Regional Australia[90]
  • Hi-5 Fairytale (2016)[92]
  • Hi-5 Supers (2017)[147]

Carols by Candlelight[edit]

Beginning in 2000, Hi-5 have performed annually at Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight in Melbourne, which are broadcast live by the Nine Network on Christmas Eve. The group perform a short selection of Christmas songs to entertain the younger viewers of the event, and are joined by Santa Claus, who was played for many years by Terry Gill, and Humphrey B. Bear.[148] Several members have noted the shows as a highlight of their time in the group and over the years it became common for the performance to be the final concert of departing members.[63] Hi-5 did not perform at the Carols between 2013 and 2015, and during this time, appeared at local Christmas events.[149][150][151] Hi-5 returned to Carols by Candlelight in 2016 as part of their reestablished partnership with Nine.[101]

Awards and nominations[edit]

ARIA Awards[edit]

The Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards are the annual series of awards nights which celebrate the music industry of Australia and have been presented since 1987.[152] In 2004 Hi-5 made history, establishing a record for most consecutive awards in the same category, after winning their fifth ARIA for Hi-5 Holiday.[15][17][153]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2000 Jump and Jive with Hi-5 Best Children's Album Won
2001 It's a Party Best Children's Album Won
2002 Boom Boom Beat Best Children's Album Won
2003 Celebrate Best Children's Album Won
2004 Hi-5 Holiday Best Children's Album Won
2005 Making Music Best Children's Album Nominated
2006 Wish Upon a Star Best Children's Album Nominated
2007 Wow! Best Children's Album Nominated
2008 Planet Earth Best Children's Album Nominated
2011 Turn the Music Up! Best Children's Album Nominated
2012 Sing it Loud Best Children's Album Nominated

Logie Awards[edit]

The TV Week Logie Awards are the annual Australian television industry awards. Hi-5 won a total of three Logie Awards, two for Most Outstanding Children's Program, and one for Most Outstanding Children's Preschool Program (a rare category).[16]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2000 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Won
2001 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Won (Tied)
2002 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2003 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2004 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Preschool Program Won
2005 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2006 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2008 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2010 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
2011 Hi-5 Most Outstanding Children's Program Nominated

Others[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2002 Helpmann Awards Best Presentation for Children Hi-5 Alive Won [22]
2002 APRA Awards Best Music for Children's Television "Opposites Attract" (Chris Harriott, Lisa Hoppe, Chris Phillips) Nominated [106]
Songlets, Hi-5 Series 3 (Chris Harriott, Various) Nominated [106]
2003 "Celebrate" (Chris Harriott, Lisa Hoppe) Nominated [154]
2005 Best Original Song Composed for a Feature Film, Telemovie, TV Series or Mini-Series "Making Music" (Chris Harriott, Leone Carey) Nominated [107]
2006 ADVIA Awards Best DVD Marketing Campaign Action Heroes Won [139]
2007 Asian Television Awards Best Children's Programme Hi-5 Runner-up [155]
2010 Hi-5 Series 11 Nominated [156]
2015 Apollo Awards Best Music Composition (Full Length) Hi-5 House Series 2 (Chris Harriott, Various) Nominated [157]
Asian Television Awards Best Preschool Programme Hi-5 House Series 2 Won [82]
2016 Hi-5 House Series 3 Nominated [158]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson joined the group as an understudy in October 2013 before becoming a regular member in July 2014.[78]
  2. ^ White served as an acting member of the group.[91]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]