We are very quickly approaching the first ever Eurovision national final for Australia, and with the first jury show happening tomorrow (Friday 8th), I thought I’d throw my personal opinions in the mix. Well, personal opinions mixed with a bit of Eurovision Union objectivity – although difficult since this selection is literally close to home.
It is definitely important to note that these are my pre-show opinions, and I do recognise that everything could change when I hear the live versions in person. When it comes to Eurovision, performance is definitely important, rather than just the song, so these reviews are essentially half of the picture. With that said, let’s get this show on the road!
#10 Piece of Me – Tania Doko
The latest song release has been perhaps the most underwhelming of the bunch for me, and I think after a few years of quite generic radio friendly Eurovision entries, this style of entry is what Australia needs to steer away from this year. This song plods along but doesn’t have that competitive edge that most of the other songs do, nor does it have the atmosphere that I think a successful Eurovision song needs. Although a radio friendly track, it just isn’t the right selection for Eurovision.
#9 Data Dust – Ella Hooper
Essentially from this point on, these are all songs I do enjoy, it was just a matter of ranking which songs I prefer over others. Unfortunately Data Dust is one of the songs that just didn’t catch my imagination as much as the other tracks. As a standalone song, this is catchy, has a nice beat, and as an Ella Hooper fan from way back, I’m not surprised that I enjoy this. Unfortunately, much like Piece of Me, this just doesn’t have the right atmosphere for Eurovision, but rather feels more Triple J hottest 100. What this song has going for it though is that I suspect that Ella will put on a great stage show, but time will tell!
#8 Fight For Love – Courtney Act
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big Courtney Act fan mostly through Drag Race fame rather than Australian idol fame, however compared to the other competitors, this doesn’t strike me as the best entry from the bunch. Yes, it’s energetic and boppy, and I can imagine a big stage performance both at the national final and if it were to make Eurovision, but it does feel a bit too obnoxiously energetic. Perfect Euroclub song, but I do think Australia could do better.
#7 Set Me Free – Leea Nanos
Leea is definitely the name on the list with the least exposure, but despite not having a big name in the industry just yet, she can’t be ignored. This could perhaps be compared to the successful Belgian entry City Lights by Blanche in terms of overall sound, but with a different vocal tone. There are many elements of this song that I enjoy, and that includes the production of the music itself and her vocal performance, but at times this does feel a bit monotonous and I would worry that if this was selected to represent us at Eurovision that it wouldn’t stand out from the fellow competitors. Despite that, an incredible effort from such a young performer and songwriter, and this certainly does deserve to be a part of the selection.
#6 – Zero Gravity – Kate Miller-Heidke
Avid Eurovision Union followers would know that Kate Miller-Heidke has been on my wish list for Australia since we started participating, so I was over the moon to hear that she would be participating. Knowing her biggest hits and her capabilities, I was excited to hear her entry however now that the song is available I am somewhat underwhelmed. My original first impression wasn’t too positive, however this has grown on me since it was released. What I do like about this song is that it shows off all the good things about Kate, her operatic voice mixed in with a modern pop number. What I don’t enjoy as much is the repetition through the song, but having watched her live performances before, I expect her to use the studio version as a base to which she will vocally embellish on the night. This seems to be a favourite to win so far, and if it was our Eurovision entry, a good staging and her incredible vocals will impress Europe’s voters.
#5 On My Way – Sheppard
On the flip side, I have never been too impressed with Sheppard’s style of music but now the song has been released, I have to recognise that this certainly does have big Eurovision potential. As expected, it’s quite a radio friendly track however compared to their other tracks I’ve heard, this is the most palatable for me. I’d argue that the band has become more popular in Europe than they currently are in Australia, so we have that going for us if they end up being selected, but also I think this song would fill an arena well. I expect this to either win the national selection, or come very close to it.
#4 To Myself – Alfie Arcuri
We are now reaching the Top 4 for me, and although I like majority of the previously mentioned songs, these four are the songs I genuinely listen to almost every day in my normal life. Picking between Alfie Arcuri and Aydan was difficult, and they are pretty much on even ground as both are quite soulful songs performed by male voices. This is another song that I can picture filling an arena but also being impactful with a very simple staging. I’m hoping for stellar vocals on this one, especially at the end where we get to hear a few more of those big notes. The song builds well, and backed with some killer backing vocalists, this will be a joy to watch.
#3 Dust – Aydan
I’m not too familiar with Aydan (nor was I with Alfie) but I’m definitely paying attention now. This song is fantastic and I would definitely be proud of our entry if this is selected. This is another soulful pop track with confident vocals. The melody of this is smooth and very charming from first listen, and even after repetitively listening to this, I haven’t gotten bored just yet. Like Alfie, I would say that this would fill the arena well and look great with a very simple staging. I hope this isn’t overlooked on the night.
#2 This Is Not The End – Mark Vincent
This was one of the first entries that was released, and still remains one of my favourites. I can’t say I regularly listen to this style of music, but it’s hard to deny a vocalist like Mark Vincent. This Is Not The End is a very bond-style ballad with a tinge of Il Volo but solo. Yes, some generic lyrics thrown in there, but the way that the melody progresses from verse and pre-chorus to chorus is impressive. Vocally this will likely be the best of the national selection and for that reason alone this needs to be seriously considered by viewers and voters. This song has the uplifting and dramatic atmosphere that other songs in our selection don’t have, and I can see this doing well at Eurovision if it is selected.
#1 2000 and Whatever – Electric Fields
I was completely unaware of Electric Fields previous to the Eurovision selection, but yet here we are with their entry at the top of my list. This is certainly the most unique entry in our line-up, and what is great is to see indigenous language intertwined in this song. I think this really sums up how funky Australian music can be, and even though the style of song can appeal to those outside of Australia (which is key for Eurovision), it still has such a strong Australian identity. I love the different structural elements of this song which all culminate in the simple but catchy chorus, and especially the verses which catch your attention straight away. That’s what’s so great about this, it’s a real attention grabber which is simply perfect for Eurovision. This doesn’t need the usual gimmicks, this just needs an organic stage performance with energy and colour.
Listen to all the entries again in our Spotify playlist: