So for the first time ever, the (relative) Eurovision newbie, Australia, is holding a national final in their 5th year in the contest. It’s a full 10 songs and a mix of genres but time only permits me to preview the favourites or notable ones. It seems likely (though not 100% certain) that the winner will come from one of these first three.
Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”
My favourite of the bunch, and actually one of the most interesting songs I’ve heard in this year’s national final season. It’s an intriguing mixture of electronic dance music and Aboriginal influences – it’s unlike anything else in this or any other national final and sounds great in the lyric video. My two biggest fears for Electric Field are over the live performance as we’ve had great EDM tracks before that just don’t translate to a live stage and they’ve been put into the accursed second place in the national final running order. Will keep fingers crossed…
Sheppard – “On My Way”
When it was announced that Sheppard were to be one of the finalists, there was a lot of excitement in the fandom as Sheppard are an established indie rock band in Australia with a big selling album and single behind them. Their entry is good and very catchy and easy on the ear, there is no doubt on that, but it leans more to the safer choices that we have come to expect from Australia – meaning it will probably do well at Eurovision but not enough to win.
Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”
Kate Miller-Heidke is a classically trained (opera) singer who has followed a career in alternative pop music. Well-known in Australia, she’s bringing another popera number (there have been a few of these in popping up in national finals) but the combination of some house in the track and its overall quirkiness do set this apart a bit. I think this is good but I prefer Estonia’s effort last year (and even more so Italy in 2015). I think this would do well with juries (as Australia does anyway) but not sure about public vote.
Courtney Act – “Fight For Love”
And finally out of my pick of the favourites/most notable finalists is the internationally-known drag queen, entertainer, pop star and reality TV personality, Courtney Act. Huge reaction of course when it was known the RuPaul’s Drag Race runner-up and UK Celebrity Big Brother winner was in the list of finalists, yet the reaction to her song, a rather by-numbers gay bar dance track, has been that of disappointment. It does seem more style/show over musical originality and strong vocals – yet we know Courtney has a great voice. So I think this could still score well with the Australian public, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing this in Tel Aviv.
Now there are six other songs in the Australian final, but the top 3 here + Courtney seem to me to be the most likely to be flying the flag for the Southern Hemisphere. We don’t have long to wait, as the final will be live from the Gold Coast at 9.30am UK time on Saturday morning (9 February)!