The jury final of the Australian national selection has now taken place, with all 10 competing artists taking to the stage to perform their entries in front of a live audience. Although not the televised show, the jury final is just as important as the voting received from the jury final is worth 50% of the vote, with the other 50% to be made up of televoting.
From 1:00am AEDT the voting lines will open, continuing until around 10:15pm AEDT where the lines will close. The televised final will begin at 8:30pm AEDT and during the show it is possible to vote up to 20 times for your favourite acts. For those wishing to vote from Australia, the number is 1991 3773, and the line is exclusively for SMS votes. Note that votes will cost $0.55 per vote.
Here is the running order for the show:
- Ella Hooper – “Data Dust”
- Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”
- Mark Vincent – “This Is Not the End”
- Aydan Calafiore – “Dust”
- Courtney Act – “Fight For Love”
- Leea Nanos – “Set Me Free”
- Sheppard – “On My Way”
- Alfie Arcuri – “To Myself”
- Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”
- Tania Doko – “Piece of Me”
It’s been just over 24 hours since I last reviewed the Australian Eurovision hopefuls, but as mentioned, the song is just part of the package. Tonight was a chance to watch the performance and also see how they will translate to a television performance. It’s safe to say that my rankings have changed a bit, but overall it revealed that this will be a tough contest due to the diverse but fantastic talent in the selection.
Instead of giving individual reviews, I’m going to take inspiration from the Sanremo format and discuss the best, the middle ground and the songs that just aren’t making an impact.
It’s actually quite difficult not to place all the performers in this category, but based off a combination of vocals, stage performance and crowd reaction, there are certainly a few favourites for the show. One of those favourites is Electric Fields. Unlucky with the running order, the charismatic duo still manage to get everyone up and moving with their song and performance. This arguably got the biggest cheer, only matched by Kate Miller-Heidke and I think it’s due to the uniqueness of the entry as well as their ability to play to a crowd. I took a few sneaky looks at the screens during their performance, and yes, their engagement with the camera is lacking compared to some of the other acts but when they did connect, it was very meaningful. I think they have found a good balance between playing to a crowd and playing to a television audience which is promising for them.
Back to Kate Miller-Heidke, a song that I didn’t rate as highly as I wish I could have in the previous post, but I will eat my words when I say that this will be one of the strongest if not the strongest contender of the competition. Staging, this was certainly one of the most considered stage shows, and acrobatics will be featured, but not in a meaningless way. She knows how to give an extravagant performance, and her vocals are truly out of this world. This song might not be for everyone, but I can confidently say that this is the song to beat.
Another divisive entry is This Is Not The End by Mark Vincent, but it was incredibly hard to fault Mark for his moving performance. Vocally, this was up there with the likes of Kate and Aydan as some of the best of the night, and I still think he could be a dark horse.
Speaking of which, Aydan really pulled it out of the bag tonight with an incredible vocal performance. A technical issue meant that we got to hear a small portion of his song, and then the full version issue free, and it felt like a blessing to hear his voice for a bit more than 3 minutes. He not only performed the song well, but embellished the studio version with some vocal tracks that were pretty impressive. Although I can’t see it snatching a win, I think this is one of the best of the night. Yet another simple staging, but a more intricate use of the floating lights at the start of the song which will come across well on television screens.
Not quite at the top level but not far off was Alfie Arcuri who for the most part put in an incredible vocal performance. What let Alfie down was literally the final note which unfortunately meant the song ended in an anti-climactic way. Despite that, everything else was very much on point, and still would consider him one to watch.
Youngster Leea Nanos also put in a great effort, and vocally she delivered as expected. Her lack of experience feels noticeable, although through minor things such as the disconnect with the camera. That’s not to say that she doesn’t know where the camera is, but it doesn’t feel as natural as it does with the other acts. This is a good track, but doesn’t strike me as a contender to win.
Unsurprisingly Courtney Act also impressed, but more so with the visual performance over the vocal performance. There were no huge issues, and through the chorus she performed well but the real spectacular of this was the staging. This was probably the first act of the line-up by that stage which featured a very considered and choreographed performance which elevates the performance and definitely encourages the crowd to get up and dance, however I don’t see this contesting the win.
Lost and Forgotten
That leaves us with three entries, one of which is Ella Hooper who opens the show with her song Data Dust. A nice song and a confident performance, however this just gets so lost in the field. Partially this is due to the running order, but the song itself isn’t memorable enough to make a big impact. Think Eleni Foureira catsuit cross rock chick. Good, but not great.
If you read my previous post, you’ll know that Tania Doko wasn’t high up on my list at all – in fact, she was my winner of the ‘opposite end.’ Despite not enjoying the song as much as the other nine, the performance was vocally very capable. The outfit choice is one of the best of the night, but the choreography is quite odd, and the song dated. It may have won the FAKE jury vote, but this won’t repeat that success in the televised final.
That brings us to another crowd favourite Sheppard, and it was hard to say whether my bias got in the way of enjoying this performance or whether it just genuinely wasn’t a good performance. Vocally not bad, but visually felt messy after the Sweden 2015 budget copycat part of the stage performance concludes. I still see this as a strong contender due to their name alone, but song wise and performance wise this was certainly disappointing.
You can watch footage from the jury final here.