Eurovision 2020 top 41 countdown: #5

At very long last, we finally reach my top 5… We kick off with the country that has been in the contest for the shortest time, but has consistently performed well, and already feels like a permanent fixture at Eurovision – it’s Australia.

#5 AUSTRALIA: Montaigne “Don’t Break Me”

It seems somewhat ironic, that what is I think my favourite Australian entry to date, hasn’t found quite as much favour among the fandom – or not at least that portion of the fandom that seemed to go crazy for Zero Gravity last year (which I loathed) and the fun but ropily performed “We Got Love” in 2018. Yet I think this song is far more worthy of praise and respect. The songwriters and producers of the song were also behind Australia’s entries of 2016-2018.

The song is about the “enough is enough” stage of a relationship breakdown – and I think that story, those emotions, are effectively conveyed in both the lyrics and the actual vocal style that Montaigne uses. I think there were some who didn’t like the visual performance she gave at the Australian national final, but I think it should be remembered she’s an art pop performer – so it’s going to be a more arty/quirky than a camp gimmick.

Montaigne has been on the Australian music scene for a few years, with perhaps her most notable success had been in 2016, with a top 5 debut album and an ARIA award, and she was also a featured artist on a Hilltop Hoods single that had reached no 2 on the Australian charts and went multi-platinum in sales in Australia.

Montaigne herself is a very chirpy individual, who clearly had been very excited about coming to Europe and while cancellation was naturally disappointing, she was very philosophical about it – maybe no surprise from someone whose stage name was taken from a 16th century French Renaissance philosopher and essaysist, Michel de Montaigne whose works inspired her. You can also see that influence in her very arty pop and style.

Now one of the big announcements at the Australian national final came from Dami Im, 2016 entry and runner up at the contest that year, who guest performed on the show and announced that she would be entering 2021 national final. Cue much excitement (and an assumption she would win). But that was pre-Covid and I’m pleased to say Australia’s broadcaster has seen it fair for Montaigne to be the 2021 representative (so Dami will have to wait!) and she’s already been working on potential songs.

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