Australia are still recent newcomers to Eurovision but have swiftly made their mark and established themselves as contenders to compete for the win or top placings in that time. I’ve not been quite so keen as juries and the fandom have been on some of their entries (2019 most notably) but ironically, both their 2020 and 2021 entries, which have not been quite so loved by the fandom, are my two favourite Australian entries, and have both found a place in my top 10 of the respective countdowns. Art pop singer-songwriter Montaigne has brought (to my view) the most interesting and avant-garde entries of Australia to date.
Montaigne won Australia’s national final in 2020 with “Don’t Break Me“, a song that I loved, not least because of the emotional rawness of Montaigne’s vocals. The Australian broadcaster reselected Montaigne for 2021 and that internal selection has enabled her to push on with bringing us an even more experimental/art pop song in the shape of “Technicolour”. It’s a hyperpop self-empowerment anthem and like her 2020 entry, it gets a high placing in my rankings. I absolutely love the vibrato she uses in this (e.g. in the “everything is frustrating”) line. It’s such a technically challenging song (vocally speaking (as well as being an interesting subject) but she performs it beautifully.
Montaigne has been around on the Australian music scene for a few years now with her debut album reaching top 5 in the Australian charts in 2016 and in the same year she won an ARIA award for breakthrough artist release. Her music genres art art and experimental pop, and that style and creativity are on full show in “Technicolour”.
Missing Eurovision and qualification chances
She was gutted when Eurovision was cancelled last year, and sadly the pandemic has taken its toll again – alone of the delegations, Australia have not been able to travel to Rotterdam. The organisers had factored this possibility in, with all artists having to record a live performance to use in case of either not being able to travel or testing positive for Covid-19, but it still feels a big shame.
I’ve been quite surprised that “Technicolour” has not been favoured to qualify, even before the news that Montaigne won’t be there in person. I can only put this down to the fact that perhaps it’s just a bit too avant-garde for mainstream eurofans, but I do dearly hope Australia gets its traditional love from the juries, as this is a masterpiece of art pop and truly deserves a place in the final. Whatever the outcome, I hope that next year’s hosts invite Montaigne to the contest next year to perform as an interval act – the very least this talented and sensitive artist deserves.
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 2015
Appearances (excluding 2020 and this year): 5
Best result: 2nd in 2016
Last year’s result: 9th