Discounting 2020, this year marks the 6th participation of Australia at Eurovision. So far, the nation has qualified to the final in each participation, with their best result in 2016 with Dami Im and her song, Sound of Silence. This year, Montaigne will return to represent Australia after being selected through a national final in 2020. With the cancellation of the 2020 contest, SBS decided to give Montaigne the opportunity to perform on the Eurovision stage after all. This year she will be singing ‘Technicolour’, but will the nation’s qualification streak continue?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
I was first introduced to the music of Montaigne with the song Ready, which is a total anthem and arguably her most mainstream hit. There’s a video of her singing Ready live, and if you’ve also watched that video, you’ll know that Montaigne is an incredibly good vocalist. With that said, I don’t think you would get that impression when you listen to the live version of Technicolour. On one hand, I applaud her ability to stay true to herself despite her ever-evolving style, but on the other hand, looking at the perspective of a competitive Eurovision entry, I don’t know that this was the right path to go down.
The song itself has its highs and lows. What I do enjoy about the song is the ethereal sound of the intro, and the tone and melody of the verse. I don’t think the choruses are lyrically very strong, although I will admit, they are catchy. There is a disconnect with the verses and choruses in energy level, and after the first chorus it feels a bit underwhelming to return to the more toned down verse. The key change is a bit of a mess, and the final 30 seconds or so gives off some chaotic vibes.
The ‘live’ version of the performance on the Eurovision channel has been edited vocally, and looking back on the actual live version, it certainly seems to highlight some issues. The vocals are shaky, especially in those ethereal parts. Even as someone who can’t sing to save my life, I can recognise how vocally challenging just those parts of the song are, let alone the rest of the song. I definitely feel as though this was an incredibly risky choice for Montaigne, but with a stronger Eurovision performance, Australia may be able to continue their qualification streak.
Performance and Act
As I mentioned above, one of the most admirable things about Montaigne is that she has always maintained her uniqueness. Eurovision fans who didn’t know Montaigne before the national selection last year have witnessed the changes between last year and this year. With blue hair and a totally blue aesthetic to the colourful, dare I say, technicolour aesthetic this year. She is an artist that goes with the flow but maintains authenticity.
In terms of the live performance, I hope they have something more planned than just a couple of backing dancers. Yes, some good choreography could really boost the energy of this song, but this song needs the entire package to really make a good impression. I expect it to be colourful and perhaps a bit zany in terms of outfits, but I think how the team executes movement on stage could be really important in the visual aspect of the performance.
I definitely feel like it’s possible to maintain our qualification streak this year, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Australia has its first non-qualification. There definitely seems to be a niche with this song, so it may conjure enough televotes to help it through to the final. In the context of the first semi-final, I definitely wouldn’t rule Australia out, but perhaps it will place in the 7-10 region. If Australia does make it to the final, I definitely think it will sink among the other competitors, especially with so many upbeat songs this year.
Song and Vocals
I think that the song ‘Technicolour’ is not helping Montaigne. The song is very high-pitched, showcasing her vocal weaknesses rather than her strengths. She said herself that “the song does it all — makes you want to cry, makes you want to dance, makes you want to take on a malignant corporate power.” Yes, it does make you cry, but not in the way we wanted. The live performance of a few weeks ago was a vocal car crash and team Montaigne has a lot of work to do.
Performance and Act
Montaigne is a gifted performer and personality, that’s for sure. Her movements, dancing and interaction with her other dancers was good. I expect a lot of colors and movement during the actual performance in Rotterdam as well. Montaigne can sell herself on stage, but only with a good vocal performance this will come across well.
I am concerned about Australia’s chance of making it to yet another Eurovision final. This song is working against Montaigne, showcasing her weak points instead of her strengths. I hope to be surprised at the rehearsals, but recent results showed that Australia has not been able to impress the European televote and that they rely on the jury vote. With the performance we have seen, and mostly heard, thus far, I have big doubts whether the jury will save Australia from their first NQ in the semi’s.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 5.4/10