Eurovision 2017: [Australia] ‘Don’t Come Easy’ / Isaiah

After their stunning debut in 2015, and rousing follow-up in 2016, Australia’s third stab at Eurovision greatness is its weakest.

‘Don’t Come Easy’ fails to make it to my top ten list of this year’s favourites either. It’s a slow-burn of teenage angst that fizzles out with a moody look to camera.

It doesn’t help that I can’t take seventeen year-old X Factor Australia winner Isaiah seriously.

There are no rules on who can sing what lyrics. Music is a universal language that knows no borders, age, or creed. Blah blah blah.

But hearing a seventeen year old sing ‘Can we be much more beyond these sheets?’ and ‘Been burned too many times to love easily’ makes me think that someone’s trying too hard to be a man.

By the same token, I’m not expecting all teenagers to sing about skipping through the fields making dandelion chains. Even so, Isaiah just isn’t plausible. And I really can’t stand that awful coat he’s sporting in rehearsals.

Eurovision 2016 – Australia: ‘Sound of Silence’ (Dami Im)

Australia compete in the Eurovision for the second year running this year.

As unusual as their participation might still seem, there’s secret and the promise to it which shouldn’t be overlooked. Their inclusion in proceedings may seem unusual and incredible, but because of that you can be guaranteed they’ll make every effort to validate their involvement.

Australia has a tough act to follow. Last year, Guy Sebastian’s stunning 5th place performance of ‘Tonight Again‘ was a breath of fresh air.

Musically, Dami Im’s anthemic ‘Sound of Silence‘ (above) is a superior track in this year’s line-up, although the song lacks the distinctiveness Sebastian’s did last year – ‘Sound of Silence’ is reminiscent of post-Eurovision Celine.

Casting that minor quibble to one side, Australia’s 2016 song still manages to maintain an uplifting quality, similar to Sweden’s winning song in 2012, ‘Euphoria‘.

I’m expecting a superior stage presentation, one I’m assuming will coast into the Final. If I’m right, it will play well in an arena too. I hope I’m not disappointed.

Can it win? Yes. Should it win? Well, duh. Will it win? No-one wants to stick their neck out.

I’m prepared to say this: keep a close eye on it. They do have to participate in a semi-final this time around. But, I do think we’ll see them in the final on 14th May.

At the time of writing, Australia is consistently high-up in the betting. If it’s not first place in the end, then it will be a nail-biter of a finish.

 

Australia to compete in Eurovision 2016

Anybody who is surprised to learn this morning that Australia will return to the Eurovision Song Contest next year wants their head examining. The messaging might have been softly-softly ‘we’ll see how this goes’ last year, but the sub-text was quite clear.

The context of Austrlia’s involvement in last year’s contest seemed straightforward: Australia has watched it for years, got as excited by it as the rest of us for as long, so why shouldn’t they have a go? Their participation was a natural extension of their already considerable enthusiasm for the show and a nice way of celebrating 60th.

But Australia’s involvement was couched in fairly safe terms. The EBU was careful not to rock the boat too much, describing Australia’s entry as a ‘guest ticket’ and in no-way a permanent fixture. It felt like it was something of a one-off, or at least that was the idea that was being conveyed. Fair enough, they’re not a permanent fixture yet (and they have to participate in the semi-finals), but their return feels like it’s one step closer.

I should probably stop being such a grump. Their first appearance last year with Guy Sebastian was a cracking entry well-performed, something reflected in scoring too. Why shouldn’t a format change over time? Maybe a show needs to expand in order to keep it afloat. Maybe Australia’s involvement will give the show an injection of musical ‘quality’ too. I’m also aware that a great many other Eurovision fans see their involvement as a good thing. I’m far from representative.

For me though, I’m protective of the brand. It was always a stretch to describe Israel as part of Europe. It’s nigh-on impossible to do so with a different continent represented in the running order. What that means is that the brand name will have to change eventually, won’t it? And I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that.

So, er yeah. Australia to compete in Eurovision 2015

Never have I ever imagined that Eurovision would make it to the display board on Charing Cross Station concourse. The news itself wasn’t a surprise. I was alerted to it by a colleague at work who’d received a text from his husband. “Can this be true?” “No,” I replied, “they broadcast it, but they can’t take part,” after which I was corrected by a tweet from BBC Newsbeat and a fairly unedifying news story.

It’s a bit of weird thing, though for those of us who’ve followed the show reasonably closely over the years, less of a random idea, more of a natural progression. SBS has ‘relayed’ the show for years, sent commentators in the years I’ve been blogging about it and, last year, took part in the show producing a special interval act.

The fact Australia are participating in the 60th contest this yearis rather nice extension of the inclusiveness spirit of the event the EBU has fostered over the past 20 years. The event we see now on TV is as much a reflection of the passions of its core fan base as it is a statement on the strategic aims of its editorial team.

Their participation will, for one year at least, silence once of my oldest friends who regularly texts at the beginning of the contest each year to so me why Israel are included in the festivities – “they’re not even a part of Europe”. I’ll be putting her a note through in advance of this year’s final to explain Australia’s participation, just to be on the safe side.

Personally, I think it’s a great way to celebrate the show. An acknowledgment that a far away audience has had in shoring up the Contest’s ongoing popularity in recent years.

Erik Larsson on Tobson in Euroland has some more views on Australia’s participation in Eurovision, including the timing of the announcement. Worth a read.