Hi-5 (Australian band)

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For the television series of the same name, see Hi-5 (Australian TV series) and Hi-5 House.
Hi-5 performing Jan 06 in Wellington NZ.jpg
Background information
Origin Australia
Genres Children's music, edutainment
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels Sony BMG
Associated acts Hi-5 USA
Hi-5 UK
Website http://www.hi-5world.com
Members Stevie Nicholson
Dayen Zheng
Ainsley Melham
Mary Lascaris
Tanika Anderson
Past members Kathleen de Leon Jones
Tim Harding
Charli Robinson
Kellie Crawford
Nathan Foley
Sun Pezzimenti
Fely Irvine
Casey Burgess
Tim Maddren
Lauren Brant

Hi-5 is an Australian children's musical group formed in Sydney, Australia, which is associated with the children's television series of the same name. The current members of the group are Stevie Nicholson, Dayen Zheng, Mary Lascaris, Ainsley Melham and Tanika Anderson.[1] The group is aimed at preschoolers, featuring five young performers who entertain and educate children through music, movement and play.[2]

The original members were Nathan Foley, Kellie Crawford, Charli Robinson, Tim Harding and Kathleen de Leon Jones. These members began to depart following Kathleen, who left on maternity leave in 2006. The original cast had been completely phased out by the end of 2008. The cast has since had regularly rotating lineup.[3]

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 immediately began touring around Sydney, and later the whole of Australia, becoming a successful musical group for children. Since then, the brand has spawned numerous television series, music albums, worldwide tours and merchandise. The international appeal of the group has led to successful international versions of the brand.[4] The television series features puppet characters Chatterbox and Jup Jup, who have sometimes been played by cast members over time. These characters became popular associations of the group and are included the live stage shows.

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.[5] They have earned Double Platinum, Platinum and Gold albums, and multiple Logie Television Awards and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards.[6] Hi-5 currently reaches an estimated global audience of more than 10,000,000 children Europe, North America, Australasia and Latin America with its tours, music and TV shows. The television series has consistently been one of the top three most successful pre-school shows in Australia and is broadcast in over 85 countries.[7] Hi-5 broke into the South East Asian market after being sold by the Nine Network in 2012.[8]

Original member Nathan Foley cited peer entertainers The Wiggles as an influential children's group in 2008, saying that they made it possible for Hi-5 to succeed. However, The Wiggles were themselves creators and owners of their brand, while the Hi-5 cast were merely employeees and did not hold equity. Foley also stated that Hi-5 set a benchmark for a new style of non-traditional children's entertainment, and that the program had a large teenage and adult following.[9]

TV Series[edit]

The cast of Hi-5 are well known for the television series which they star in. The original series Hi-5 ran from 1999 to 2011 and was followed by the reinvented series Hi-5 House in 2013, which is currently running.



In 1998, television producer Helena Harris, producer of Bananas in Pyjamas, created Hi-5 when her two children outgrew Bananas. She and co-producer Posie Graeme-Evans developed the show as a contemporary form of preschool entertainment, encorporating educational trends with an appeal for all ages.[10] Hi-5 would include music and movement to capture the attention of children. Featuring five young performers, the cast were intended to act as older siblings of viewers, rather than adults teaching children. Helena Harris said the name Hi-5 originated as her and Graeme-Evans intended for five cast members and segments and therefore wanted to feature "five" in the title. Hi-5 was derived from ideas of Hello and Hi, and led to the group's signature hand pose and logo. The series was pitched to and produced for the Nine Network through Harris and Graeme-Evan's joint production company, Kids Like Us.

Helena 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 decided the show would appeal universally, with accessible themes such as family and animals.[11] Hi-5 is kept contemporary so that these themes relate to the current world of children, with the producers keeping in touch with the audience.[12] Other inspiration of Harris was watching pop group The Spice Girls, who she believed were dancing moves of a standard which preschoolers could replicate.

After auditions for the group, the television pilot for Hi-5 was produced in mid 1998, and was shown to a test audience.[13] No changes to the format were made after this test.[14] The original cast consisted of Nathan Foley, Kellie Crawford, Charli Robinson, Tim Harding and Kathleen de Leon Jones. After a relatively fast commissioning, filming of the first series began in October of that year. The first series began airing in April 1999.[15] The corresponding debut album, Jump and Jive with Hi-5, was released in September, and the group toured around Sydney in the intitial first year.

Harris stated that Hi-5 was fast paced for a children's show, and that physical interaction was encouraged. This was done to replicate the style and energy of a music video, which children seemed to enjoy.[14] The educational aspects of the show were cleverly disguised with music and entertainment, and that multiple layers to the show catered for a wide range of ages in the audience, while being primarily aimed at those aged 2–8.[11] She explained that Hi-5 was primarily a television series, but the music itself had the ability to stand alone. Harris expected that the series would initially become formatted into international versions, however the original cast was so strong that the Australian series was sold internationally instead.

Early Success

Hi-5 had initial success within their first year, winning the 2000 Logie Award for "Most Outstanding Children's Program", and ARIA Award for "Best Children's Album" for the debut album Jump and Jive with Hi-5. By 2004, the group had made history by winning their fifth consecutive ARIA for the album Holiday (after winning in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004) with the most consecutive wins in one award category. This record was later overtaken by The Wiggles.[6] The group would go on to win a total of three Logie Awards (winning in 2000, 2001 and 2004).[6]

Hi-5 continued to film one television series and record one music album each year. Throughout the early years, the album releases also drew much success. Jump and Jive with Hi-5 (1999), Boom Boom Beat (2001) and It's a Hi-5 Christmas (2001) received platinum status, while It's a Party (2000) received double platinum, and Celebrate (2002) was accredited as gold. Double platinum status represents in excess of 140,000 units sold.[16][17] Hi-5 also toured nationally every year, with sell-out national tours of their early stage shows.[18] Hi-5 won the 2002 Helpmann Award for "Best Children’s Stage Show" for their production Hi-5 Alive.[18][19] In 2001 and several occasions earlier, the cast stated that they never expected Hi-5 to become such a huge success. Original member Charli Robinson explained it wasn't until they went on tour that they realised. Kellie Crawford (née Hoggart) described the group as "a pop group for kids".[20]

In 2002, it was revealed that cast members Kellie and Nathan were in a relationship, which was instructed to be kept "under wraps" for some time by producers.[21] The pair got engaged in 2005, however called off the wedding plans in late 2006.[22] The pair continued to maintain a professional working relationship.[23]

In 2002, an American version of Hi-5 was created, being filmed in the Australian studios. The American cast filmed two series, the first airing in February 2003 on Discovery Kids, and toured the US and Canada.The show was consecutively nominated for three Emmy Awards. The group's last performance together was in 2007.[24]

Hi-5 first aired in the UK in early 2003 and became an instant hit. The group toured the UK in 2004 with the award winning Hi-5 Alive show and was a sell-out success, generating mass publicity.[11][25] They returned in 2005 with Space Magic and most recently Action Heroes in 2006. New Zealand was also a popular touring destination in the early years, with Celebrate in 2002, Space Magic in 2006, Action Heroes in 2007 and most recently the Hi-5 Circus Stageshow in 2008.[26] Hi-5 also toured Singapore first in 2000 and later 2002 with Hi-5 Alive, returning for many years after this, the group still touring Singapore in 2015.[27] By the end of the 2005, Hi-5 had performed to a total audience of over one and a half million people around the world.[28]

Cast Replacement

In 2006, Kathleen de Leon Jones became pregnant and Sun Pezzimenti (née Park) was found to temporarily replace Kathleen while she went on maternity leave. The beginning of series 9 showed Kathleen introducing the audience to Sun and asking her to look after her space while she had the baby. Later in the series, Kathleen returned to introduce everyone to her baby, Mikayla. In July 2007, Kathleen made the decision to permanently leave the group to focus on being a mom.

Also in 2007, Tim Harding was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which left him with injuries that required intensive care and rehabilitation. Just prior to this, Stevie Nicholson was hired as an understudy for Tim, so he took Tim's place when he decided he could no longer continue with the group.

In February 2008, Charli Robinson announced that she would be leaving Hi-5, having just completed filming series 10, and would stay with the group until a suitable replacement was found. Soon after, Casey Burgess was hired as Charli's replacement and began touring with the group.

In October 2008, Kellie Crawford (née Hoggart) announced that she would be leaving the group at the end of the year. A month later, Nathan Foley announced that he would be leaving the group too. In December 2008, Sun stated that Nathan and Kellie had not been pressured to leave and announced that she too would be leaving at the end of the year. The trio's final performance was at the 2008 Carols by Candlelight.

Auditions were then held to find three new Hi-5 members. In February 2009, on Mornings with Kerri-Anne, the new line-up was revealed, with Lauren Brant, Tim Maddren and Fely Irvine joining the cast. The cast remained the same for three years until December 2011, when Fely left the group. Her final performance was at the 2011 Carols by Candlelight. Dayen Zheng replaced Fely and the group spent the year touring.

Then, in December 2012, Casey and Tim announced that the year's Carols by Candlelight would be their last with Hi-5 and they would be leaving the group early in the new year.

In January 2013, Ainsley Melham and Mary Lascaris were announced as Tim and Casey's replacements. Hi-5's first movie 'Some Kind of Wonderful' was released in March 2013 and showed the audition process for Dayen, Ainsley and Mary, as well as taking a look back at the history of Hi-5.

In April 2014, Hi-5 travelled to Malaysia to film the second series of Hi-5 House. However, Lauren did not join them, instead being replaced by the group's understudy Tanika Anderson.

In June and July 2015, Hi-5 will be touring around Australia with a new stageshow entitled "Hi-5 House of Dreams".


Current members[edit]

  • Stevie Nicholson (2007–present)
  • Dayen Zheng (2012–present)
  • Mary Lascaris (2013–present)
  • Ainsley Melham (2013–present)
  • Tanika Anderson (2014–present)

Former members[edit]

Original members[edit]

Replacement of cast[edit]


The band tours annually with programs based on their TV series. They have visited several countries in which they are popular, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.


  • 1999 Jump and Jive with Hi-5 (Series 1) [30]
  • 2000 It's A Party (Series 2)
  • 2001 Hi-5 Alive (Series 3)
  • 2002 Celebrate (Series 4)
  • 2002–2003 Hi-5 Alive (Series 3 and 4) - (International Tour)
  • 2003–2004 Come On and Party (Series 5)
  • 2005–2006 Space Magic (Series 6)
  • 2006–2007 Live Action Heroes (Series 7)
  • 2007–2008 Circus Stage Show (Series 8 and 9)
  • 2008 Party Street - (Regional Australia only, Series 8 and 9 reprised)
  • 2008 Playtime (Series 10)
  • 2009–2010 Hi-5 Surprise (Series 11)
  • 2011 Turn the Music Up (Series 12)
  • 2012–2013 Hi-5 Holiday (Series 13)

Hi-5 House[edit]

  • 2013–2014 Hi-5 House Party (Series 1)
  • 2014–2015 Hi-5 House Hits (Series 2)
  • 2015 Hi-5 House of Dreams (Series 3)

Christmas concerts[edit]

Hi-5 were performers at the Carols by Candlelight shows on Christmas Eve since 2000 until 2012. For a few years, the group held a short concert preceding the Carols main event, and then included their set as part of Carols.[citation needed] Several cast have noted the Christmas Eve concerts as one of their highlights and because of this, it is often the last performance of departing members.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

Each album is listed with the year it was first released. Source: National Library of Australia


Year Series no. Title Peak position (AUS) Notes[note 1] Refs
1999 1 Jump and Jive with Hi-5 33 Platinum
2000 ARIA for Best Children's Album
2000 2 It's a Party 4 2xPlatinum
2001 ARIA for Best Children's Album
2001 3 Boom Boom Beat 3 Platinum
2002 ARIA for Best Children's Album
2001 It's a Hi-5 Christmas 3 Platinum [31][34][35]
2002 4 Celebrate 27 Gold
2003 ARIA for Best Children's Album
2003 5 & 6 Holiday 26 2004 ARIA for Best Children's Album [31][33]
2004 6 Space Magic      
2004 Jingle Jangle Jingle With Hi-5 5   [35]
2005 7 Making Music   Nominated-2005 ARIA for Best Children's Album [33]
2006 8 Wish Upon A Star 29 Nominated-2006 ARIA for Best Children's Album [31][33]
2007 9 WOW! 30   [31]
2008 10 Planet Earth   Nominated-2008 ARIA for Best Children's Album [33]
2009 11 Spin Me Round      
2010 12 Turn the Music Up!   Nominated-2011 ARIA for Best Children's Album [33]
2011 13 Sing It Loud   Nominated-2012 ARIA for Best Children's Album [33]

Hi-5 House[edit]

Year Series no. Title Peak position (AUS) Notes[note 1] Refs
2014 1 & 2 Hi-5 Hot Hits!      

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Hi-5 Hits (2003) – #10 Australia[31]
  • All The Best (2008)



  1. ^ a b All Australian certifications by Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Awards are also by ARIA for Best Children's Album


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/tv--radio/last-of-the-originals-nathan-quits-hi5/2008/11/12/1226318713076.html
  4. ^ http://www.3news.co.nz/entertainment/hi5-set-to-tour-new-zealand-20080819
  5. ^ http://www.brw.com.au/p/lists/specials/top_entertainers_tuSRqxVn5chkJmeHAKAWxI
  6. ^ a b c http://www.girl.com.au/hi5_aria_winners_2004.htm
  7. ^ http://www.doubleedge.com.au/newsroom/category/28/Hi-5/637/Hi-5-Presents-House-of-Dreams-Australian-Tour
  8. ^ http://www.smartcompany.com.au/growth/economy/26460-hi-5-sold-off-to--250-million-asian-private-equity-group.html
  9. ^ http://www.3news.co.nz/entertainment/hi5-set-to-tour-new-zealand-2008081905
  10. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/12/17/1039656393713.html
  11. ^ a b c http://www.bbc.co.uk/norfolk/stage/HI5_helena_harris.shtml
  12. ^ http://anthillonline.com/tv-production/
  13. ^ http://posiegraemeevans.net/my-television-life/
  14. ^ a b http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/85/2/02Whole.pdf
  15. ^ http://televisionau.com/2013/04/special-australian-tv-history-timeline-pt-2.html
  16. ^ http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-accreditations-albums-2001.htm
  17. ^ http://15min.org/articles/2001/august/15/ootm_2.html
  18. ^ a b http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0209/S00100.htm
  19. ^ http://www.helenaharrisproductions.com.au/bio.php
  20. ^ http://www.girl.com.au/hi5interview.htm
  21. ^ http://www.oocities.org/hi_5_house/newspaperarticle.html
  22. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/sydney-confidential/hi-5-duo-call-off-wedding/story-e6frewz0-1111112643638
  23. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/nathan-foley-reveals-pain-of-working-with-ex-lover-kellie-hoggart/story-e6frexlr-1111118021069
  24. ^ http://www.jennkorbee.com/#!bio/c66t
  25. ^ http://www.theretailbulletin.com/news/hi5_is_a_unique_uk_success_story_20-10-04/
  26. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0209/S00100/australias-hi-5-touring-new-zealand.htm
  27. ^ http://www.sawadee.sg/festival/festival_nov_hi5.htm
  28. ^ http://15min.org/articles/2005/september/28/clublink_3.html
  29. ^ "Why I left Hi- 5: Casey Burgess speaks up". The Straits Times. 2013-09-11. 
  30. ^ http://15min.org/articles/1999/september/8/clublink_2.html
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Australian-charts.com - Search for: hi-5". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  32. ^ a b "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2000 Albums". ARIA Awards. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "ARIA Awards - Search results for 'Hi-5'". ARIA Awards. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  34. ^ a b c "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2001 Albums". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  35. ^ a b "Aria Catalogue Albums Chart - Commencing 1 December, 2014". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2014-12-04. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 
  36. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2002 Albums". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2014-12-04. 

External links[edit]