Tina Arena sings ABBA, Whitney Houston: Young Talent Time

Tina Arena sings ABBA, Whitney Houston: Young Talent Time
Johnny Young, Clearvoice Pty Ltd
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Tina Arena’s first appearance as a contestant on Young Talent Time in 1974 is part of the show’s folklore.

This is one of the many instances the footage of her as a nine-year-old singing ABBA’s ‘Ring Ring’ was broadcast, this time for a 15th birthday concert special in 1986. Her raw talent and confidence stands out today as it did then. 

Host Johnny Young’s introduction exemplifies the idea that any child with enough talent and hard work could be a member of the coveted Young Talent Team, which was an important part of the show’s appeal for its young audience. 

Showing footage of successful graduates like Tina during their subsequent appearances is a trope the show utilises throughout its impressive 18-year run to build a sense of family and tradition. 

Tina embarked on her solo career after graduating from the show in 1983, releasing her debut album Strong as Steel in 1988. Here, she sings the ballad ‘Saving All My Love for You’ which was written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin in 1978 and made famous by Whitney Houston in 1985.  

In this 1986 clip, Tina is still undergoing her metamorphosis from child performer into the global solo artist she is today, and her diva-like song choice and the overtly mature costuming and jewellery speak to this. 

The multicamera coverage and edit fades mimic any other live concert from the 1980s, giving the young audience a concert vibe. 

This excerpt comes from one of the show’s best-of compilations, episode 86/41, which was recorded on 13 October 1986.

The Young Talent Time team made an impressive 44 live programs each year. The other 10 weeks of the year they created a best-of summer series, like this episode, for the non-ratings period.  

Today Tina is one of Australia’s highest-selling artists, having sold over 10 million records worldwide. She was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2015.

In 2011 she became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit for her contribution to French culture. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2016.

Notes by Beth Taylor