It’s the time of year when the Post-Eurovision depression is in full swing, but there’s no better cure than to reminisce! Together with ESCDaily Editor, Dennis Van Eersel, we will be discussing each of this year’s competing nations – from their results to how we think they could improve in the future!
Predictions, Personal Scores and Results
Results: 14th place, Semi-Final
Did Australia live up to expectations?
A: This is a difficult one, because it was announced prior to the contest that Montaigne would not be travelling to Rotterdam for the contest. With that in mind, it was difficult to set the bar high knowing that the Australian entry would stick out from its competitors. With all things considered, I think SBS managed to create a decent performance, but it wasn’t perfect by any means.
Vocally, Montaigne delivered the song far better than her debut live performance of Technicolour, but it came at a cost. Her performance was incredibly static, and didn’t come across naturally on camera. While I still had Australia as a potential qualifier, I was far from confident in that decision.
D: For me Australia did better than I expected before the contest. But I have to say, my expectations were very low. Based on Montaigne’s vocals in her live performance at Mardi Gras I feared we could have a vocal car crash at the contest. But vocally Montaigne gave a good performance during her back-up tape and the visual presentation was also interesting. I never really considered Australia to be a qualifier, due to the messy nature of the song and high pitched vocals, which demand a certain taste to listen to. But still, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be.
How do you personally feel about the song for Australia at Eurovision 2021?
D: This was the weakest Australian entry by far for me and a very predictable non-qualification. Montaigne won her national final in 2020 rightfully so and from a humane perspective I understand that SBS stuck with her. However, as was the case for some other artists that got a free pass for the contest in 2021, the song of the next year was a lot weaker. I don’t think Montaigne would have even won a national final in Australia again with this song. Accidents happen and I am pretty confident Australia will pick up with the high level we are used to from them in 2022.
A: I agree that this was the weakest Australian entry. While I also supported the decision to continue with Montaigne after she missed out on her Eurovision 2020 opportunity, I just wish the song selection process could have been more transparent. If that was the case, Australia could have ended up with a song that had a wider appeal. Overall, I didn’t dislike Technicolour, and it certainly took a few listens to get used to, but it’s not really a song I would actively seek out.
Could Australia have done anything different?
D: Yes, they could have selected a song that highlighted Montaigne’s qualities, instead of her weaknesses. The song ‘Technicolour’ was in the range where she struggles most, and I don’t think for a live televised performance it is a smart move to give someone the task of performing such a difficult song for that artist. When it comes to the staging and presentation, this is pretty much what it was for Australia. Being the only nation not to be present in Rotterdam, it must have been tough for Australia and Montaigne in particular. It makes it hard to harshly judge their bad result at Eurovision 2021.
A: The whole Eurovision process for Australia this year felt a bit lacklustre. In a sense, it felt like not being present in Rotterdam was an excuse to not put their best foot forward. I don’t really know what went wrong here. It’s not like Australia has never worked within the framework of an internal selection. Dennis hits the nail on the head by saying that the song highlighted Montaigne’s weaknesses, rather than her strengths, but at what point does SBS intervene and say, ‘is this the best we can offer?’ In my opinion, I think even if SBS didn’t want to publicise the process, they could have commissioned a handful of songs from Montaigne, and had a panel review those entries based especially on live performance.
What can Australia do to ensure success in future years?
D: Australia already promised to come back with a national final in 2022 and that it will be bigger and better than before. That sounds promising! I would hope they can get some big names to take part. Otherwise it never hurts to internally select a true A-star like they did with Guy Sebastian at the start of their Eurovision campaign. I would love to see Australia take a shot at the victory again and behave with the ambition they showed us in their first couple of times they were allowed to take part.
A: In short, Australia needs to find the spark again. The nation is highly competitive, and it shows through their Eurovision history prior to this year. Going back to a national selection next year is a no-brainer, as it has the ability to ignite the spark once again. Naturally, it will depend on the artists and songs part of the competition, but I hope that Australia can finally find that balance between uniqueness and the ability to appeal to a widespread audience.
Which was better, the live-on-tape performance or the actual performance?
A: Well, this question is unfortunately irrelevant for Australia, as they were the only nation to not travel to Rotterdam. What I will say is that I am curious to see what the plans were if Montaigne was present in Rotterdam, and if that would have changed the results…