The Wiggles have taken the top spot in the Triple J Hottest 100 with their cover of Tame Impala’s 2012 song Elephant.
The children’s performers had a viral hit in March when they transformed the track for Triple J’s cover series Like a Version, infusing it with the chorus from their song, Fruit Salad.
The group posted their delight at the victory on Twitter.
While it may seem like an unlikely victory, it’s not the first time a Like a Version cover has done well in the Hottest 100. As Shaad D’Souza points out, covers with novelty value often resonate with listers – DMA’s cover of Cher’s Believe got to No 6 in 2016 and Alex Lahey’s cover of a My Chemical Romance track went to No 83 in 2020.
The Wiggles did, however, edge out the song that was widely tipped to win the annual poll. The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber were favourites to win with their collaboration Stay, which has now hit No 1 on song charts in more than 20 countries. Stay instead came in second place.
Had Stay topped the poll, it would have made 18-year-old Kamilaroi rapper Laroi, who grew up in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo, the first ever First Nations artist to reach No 1 in the Hottest 100.
The Perth four-piece Spacey Jane placed at No 3 with their track Lots of Nothing, one of three songs they had featured in the countdown.
The Disney actor turned popstar Olivia Rodrigo was another of the big winners in this year’s poll. Her song Good 4 You placed at No 4 in the countdown, with a further four tracks from her debut album, Sour, also making the Hottest 100. Commercial pop acts Bieber and Rodrigo both placing in the top five is reflective of a shift in the station’s attitude towards mainstream pop music – in 2015, Taylor Swift’s track Shake It Off was banned from entry into the Hottest 100.
Another pop favourite, Billie Eilish, who topped the poll two years ago and was the most-played artist on Triple J in 2021, placed at No 5 with Happier Than Ever.
Local acts such as Rüfüs Du Sol, Lime Cordiale and Ocean Alley also each had multiple tracks in this year’s poll. Further down the poll, Genesis Owusu, who collected four Aria awards at last year’s ceremony for his acclaimed debut album Smiling With No Teeth, placed at No 75 with Gold Chains. Amyl and the Sniffers landed at No 28 with their track Hertz.
The Hottest 100 wasn’t the only countdown under way on Saturday: on Twitter, the account @OzKitsch provided comic relief with its “Coldest 100”, which looked back on curious Australian music moments. In a nod to the Wiggles cracking this year’s Triple J poll, their countdown was topped by a 2014 video of the group performing a musical number about poppadoms.
The Hottest 100 comes after another difficult year for Australia’s music industry. The pandemic forced the widespread cancellation of music festivals and live tours in 2021, costing thousands of industry professionals their livelihood and prompting some artists to find work elsewhere. The I Lost My Gig collective has estimated that since March 2020, the Australian live music sector has lost an average of $64m in income each month.
More than 2.5m votes were submitted in this year’s Hottest 100. On Friday, Triple J aired the Hottest 200, revealing the songs that placed from 200-101 in this year’s poll, with the Sydney pop artist May-a placing at No 101 with her single Time I Love to Waste.