This year would have marked Australia’s 6th participation at Eurovision, and it was the second time that the nation has used a public selection to determine their act. Montaigne triumphed in the selection, with her song Don’t Break Me, and although we don’t get to see how it all pans out in Rotterdam this year, would Australia have continued their qualification streak this year?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
Over a matter of a few months, the Australia Decides artists slowly started to release their potential Eurovision entries. As we approached the date of the selection, we finally got to hear Montaigne’s entry, and after being somewhat unsatisfied with the previously released entries, my hopes were certainly in Montaigne. Upon first listen of ‘Don’t Break Me’, I was sold. I suspected that she would win the selection, despite not being as big of a name as some of the other competitors, such as Vanessa Amorosi or Casey Donovan.
I am captivated from the first few seconds of the song, and her tone of voice in the verses is hypnotic. The chorus is catchy, however by the end of the song it can be quite repetitive. It’s easy to see the influence that songwriters DNA have had on the song, and coming from Montaigne, I would have hoped that the song could have been a bit more unique as her prior releases. Nonetheless I do enjoy the song.
In terms of the live performance, I did expect something a bit more vocally impressive from Montaigne, and I would probably credit the lack of power to her 3 minute long choreography. I just want more strength in her live vocals for this performance, and I know she is a strong vocalist, so it’s something we would have hopefully been able to see at the contest.
Performance and Act
Montaigne winning Australia Decides was certainly a win for independent musicians, which will likely pave the way for future Australian Eurovision participants. Although the song perhaps isn’t one of her most unique, she herself is one of the most, if not the most unique Australian Eurovision representative thus far, and I’m not sure Europe has completely grasped her style. I certainly wouldn’t be mad if Montaigne did compete at Eurovision in 2021, preferably internally selected to honor her Australia Decides win.
Next Up: 2021
What could we expect from Montaigne, should she represent Australia next year? I would hope that we get to see more of the unique flavour Montaigne offers in her music. While there were hints of personality in ‘Don’t Break Me’, I want something with unique melodies or structure, and not something simply ‘radio’ or ‘Eurovision’ friendly. In essence, I want to see boundaries pushed within those three minutes, in both song and staging.
*Update: We will be seeing Montaigne represent Australia at Eurovision in 2021!*
Would Australia have lost their qualification streak? I feel fairly confident that Australia will have had a place in the final, but that said, I think it would have been dependent on the staging. I pictured this song to fare better in the jury vote than televote, however in the semi-final 1 field, I saw it to be one of the stronger entries.
Song and Vocals
I have no doubt Montaigne is a talented singer. Despite being thrown around, and pulled forward and back, she remains able to sing well. And it’s not the easiest composition to sing as well. Australia has once again chosen for an entry with quality, which could have done well with the jury in 2020.
Also because ‘Don’t break me’ is a song with a meaning. A lot of people are probably able to relate to the lyrics, about someone struggling with their biggest addiction: their partner doing them wrong.
Performance and Act
My biggest issue with the Australian entry for 2020 was the fact that the visual presentation does not match the message of the song. Montaigne is dressed as a clown, something she is really into right now, but it does not empower the strong message of ‘Don’t break me’.
It makes me think about Jamie-Lee Kriewitz, the German singer in 2016 who was really into Manga clothes, but it had nothing to do with her song ‘Ghost’, That finished in last place.
Next Up: 2021
Here lies the biggest challenge for Australia in 2021. I expect they will stick with Montaigne as their singer for Rotterdam. This gives the delegation even more time to think over the visual presentation of another song, and that it should match with the meaning of that song. And who knows, in a year from now, the clown-phase for Montaigne could also be something that belongs in the past.
There was a lot of potential for Australia at the late Eurovision Song Contest 2020. Montaigne is a good singer with personality and there is a good composition to work with. If the Australian delegation manages to change the act and performance, odds are high that Australia will be in the final of the contest again in Rotterdam, in 2021.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 7.7/10
What do you think of Don’t Break Me? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.