Australia Decides – The Ultimate Guide

With the first ever Australian selection show upon us this weekend and thousands of Fairy Bread parties scheduled for the screening on Saturday, we decided to give you the complete guide to Eurovision – Australia Decides and to ask our panel of experts what they thought of this year’s offerings.

So you want to watch the show?

Brilliant! It’s bound to be a cracker with one of the strongest line-up of songs we’ve seen so far this year. Even better is that regardless as to whether you’re living in Europe or in Australia you won’t have to get up at an insane hour. Australians can watch the show from 7.30PM Brisbane time/8.30PM Sydney & Melbourne/8.00PM Adelaide/7.00PM Darwin and 5.30PM Perth. Europeans can watch the action at 10.30AM CET and be thankful they generally only have one time zone in their country to work out TV show times. Unless you live in Russia, in which case I empathise.

SBS have also kindly decided to stream the show on their Facebook and Twitter pages so that no matter where you’re located in the world you can watch the show.

The show will be hosted by beloved Australian Eurovision commentary team Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey.

Source: SBS Australia

Hang on, who decides which act makes it to Tel Aviv?

Well it’s just like the Eurovision Song Contest actually – 50% of the scores are decided by televote and 50% by Jury. The Australian Jury will consist of the following members –

  • Paul Clarke – Head of Delegation for Australia at Eurovision since 2015
  • Josh Martin – Commissioning Editor, Entertainment at SBS
  • Fifa Riccobono – Former CEO of Albert Music
  • Milly Petriella – Artist Service Director of the Australasian Performing Right Association
  • Christer Björkman – producer of Sweden’s Eurovision selection show Melodifestivalen since 2002 and has held producer roles for both the 2013 and 2016 editions of the Eurovision Song Contest.

If you’re living in Australia and want to vote, you can do so by doing the following

  • Text the song/draw number to 1991 3773
  • Ensure that Premium SMS is enabled on your phone settings
  • Voting costs $0.55 per vote and the maximum number of votes is 20 per mobile phone provider/SIM card. 

What’s even better is that, as of this article’s publishing and to account for the 5 different time zones in Australia, the televoting is currently open! SBS decided this was the most fair solution since most West Australians will be too busy tucking into their dinner when the last song finishes, whilst those on the east coast will be well into the cocktails at this point. Voting will close 5 minutes after the last song ends, so there’s plenty of time to get your votes in if you have a favorite in mind!

So who’s performing? Anyone I know?

Well for those of you not familiar with the line up will know at least one name performing – Dami Im will be performing during the Interval! The runner up in 2016 will be worth tuning in for I can assure you!

We also know the 10 acts fighting for their moment on the Eurovision Stage will do so in the following order –

  1. Ella Hooper – “Data Dust”
  2. Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”
  3. Mark Vincent – “This Is Not the End”
  4. Aydan Calafiore – “Dust”
  5. Courtney Act – “Fight For Love”
  6. Leea Nanos – “Set Me Free”
  7. Sheppard – “On My Way”
  8. Alfie Arcuri – “To Myself”
  9. Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”
  10. Tania Doko – “Piece of Me”

So to anyone in the know about Australian music, the show will indeed be book-ended by two of the biggest Australian names of the late 90’s. What a line up!

Are the songs any good?

Well we always say that individual tastes are different and diverse – this is why we love Eurovision! But if you don’t have time to listen to all of the songs before the show and want to know our thoughts, we’ve also done a commentary for you below. And for those of you who want to hear a top track from your favorite artist, we’ve included a video below our thoughts as well.

Ella Hooper – “Data Dust”

Melissa – I feel this song is more suited to a local pub gig at the RSL rather than for the Eurovision stage. Once this is on TV and you have to be conscious of TV camera angles, lighting and such trimmings, this is going to look washed out. At least the title is memorable.

Nick – We’ve had ‘Dust’ and ‘Data Dust’ – is there a lot of car emission issues in Australia? In seriousness, this really did very little for me. It just seems to be here to make up the numbers and really doesn’t have anything for me that would make it stand out in Tel Aviv.

Anne – This is good fun, and I can imagine it on stage already! There is something about Ella’s voice that I find a bit grating, but when all the instruments come in, it’s one for bopping around my living room for sure

Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”

Melissa – I’m so thankful that finally there’s an indigenous band out there prepared to push the envelope and come up with something contemporary. I’m slightly concerned that there’s a bit too much sampling in the audio track and I really do wonder how this will work live, but considering they’re no stranger to the festival circuit this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. I will be incredibly proud of Electric Fields representing my country if they are chosen.

Nick – Probably my favourite song overall in this really strong National Final. I think it does the chant thing much better than Sheppard and it works better as a song for me too with more interesting builds and drops in it. The post chorus is just delicious. Would love to see this in Tel Aviv.

Jan – It’s a nice radio track, but that’s probably it. The beat is nice, and I like the mixture of mixing the languages between English and something else. Looking forward how the whole thing sounds live on the stage.

Mark Vincent – “This is Not the End”

Melissa – This guy should be on Broadway or the West End. He’s clearly out of his element and totally wasted doing pop. That being said I find this track quite boring and quite depressing. My nominated tea/toilet break song.

Matthew – For me this is one of the weaker songs. Although I think the song is OK, I think there’s better ones in the National Final and I think if this was chosen it would struggle in the contest.

Jan – I’d usually buy the proper opera song, but this time a song left me somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it’s just not pop opera enough for me. But we’re definitely speaking about an artist with a really outstanding voice.

Ayden Calafiore – “Dust”

Melissa – It’s okay, just a bit dated for me. I don’t see us qualifying if this makes it to Tel Aviv, and honestly I’ve had this played on my Spotify about 15-20 times and if someone asks me to recite how it goes I wouldn’t be able to remember the melody.

Anne – From one dust to another. I get a Bones sort of feeling when I’m listening to this, for no reason other than the atmospheric qualities to it.  It would be a great song if it was in the UK, but in this amazing selection it does get lost

Jan – It’s a great song, but it seems like something it was heard before. Australia is sort of the newest member in the Eurovision community, and absolutely with the agenda to win. And that’s unfortunately not a winner. To me.

Courtney Act – “Fight For Love”

Melissa – Great track for Euroclub, but I’ve never heard Courtney sing well live. At least she’ll look good…

Matthew – Would be great to hear her in Eurovision. I’m sure she’d do something controversial! I think the song’s ok and I could imagine hearing it in a gay bar, but I just don’t think it’s strong enough to do well in Eurovision. Reminds me a bit of Finland’s song from last year.

Anne – Given high points for me cos it’s a banger.  But a flawed one.  Still has the sound of a demo to me.  And I find the whole “Fight For Love” theme a little bit 90’s, are you really going to be dragged out in cuffs if you’re not in Russia?  The studio version does sound like she strains to reach the high notes too, that’s going to be very telling.

Leea Nanos – “Set Me Free”

Melissa – I can’t believe this girl is 16! This is a great radio-friendly track and are many people’s picks for the dark horse upset. Whilst I don’t think this is good enough to win the contest I don’t think this is the last time we will associate Leea’s name with the Eurovision brand.

Nick – This one really is the dark horse for me. The song is extremely well written and I was taken in from the intro that just pops. The chorus is fabulous and Leea’s vocal just sounds really, really strong. With the right staging I could see this being top 3 and a great platform for her career.

Anne – I have fallen in love with this girl, her interviews with JOY Eurovision in Melbourne have been hysterical! From telling us that this was written about a boy but it’s ok as she doesn’t like him anymore to her singing along to “City Lights” in the OGAE Australia Top 100, she is a revelation.  The song has some great moments and she has the most gorgeous full tone to her voice, I’m sure she’s destined for great things.

Sheppard – “On My Way”

Melissa – They’ve played Rock in Rio, they’ve had songs chart in the UK and now they want to do Eurovision. And I’ll be waving my flag with pleasure if they make it because this track is an absolute banger! There’s elements of Owl City in the verses; the chorus is anthemic and has you hooked in. After ‘Geronimo’ did so well there was doubt as to whether they would write something of similar quality but my goodness they certainly met the brief! Go Sheppard!

Matthew – Very creative music video. Good song that slowly progresses through to the end.

Nick – A decent well produced song but it doesn’t really pop for me. The chanty chorus could really translate well to the stage though. I was left wanting more but I think that it might really be a song that was designed for a big stadium, let’s hope so.

Alfie Acuri – “To Myself”

Melissa – This is my dark horse pick – if you haven’t heard this yet just have a look at the lyrics. There’s something in this song that really speaks to everyone and Alfie’s voice is stunning. True lump-in-the-throat music, if you shed a tear after this then I’d understand for sure.

Nick – I’m not a lover of male sung ballads at all usually but oh my – the lyrics to this are so relatable and he has such a dreamy voice. I could listen to this all day to be honest and I am certain he will sell the hell out of this on stage.

Anne – Another one who has smashed the interview circuit! I love his voice, and whilst he goes a bit high towards the end, this song builds so beautifully from a mid-tempo to full on power ballad. The “hey yeah, hey yeah” bits are properly anthemic, and I’ll be waving my phone torch around on Saturday morning!

Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”

Melissa – I’ve actually seen Kate perform live in Dallas about 5 years ago and I can tell you all that her vocals are no joke. She’s performed at the Sydney Opera House, has a Masters in Classical Music, writes musicals but is most famous for her work in pop. This is probably the first track I’ve ever heard her perform on where the public actually hear her operatic voice in full bloom and boy does she soar! A worthy winner for sure!

Matthew – Been listening to this song over and over again over the past week. The singer reminds me of Kate Bush and there’s something about the song that stands out.

Jan – Another operatic try, but this time in a way of the great package, being accompanied with a mysterious arrangement. Interested, could be one of the dark horses in the competition.

Tania Doko – “Piece of Me”

Melissa – Great backing track, but this just leaves me feeling a bit flat. If this was in the UK selection it’ll smash the competition but sadly it’s going to get lost, especially since it’s performing straight after the Popera banger from Kate Miller-Heidke.

Nick – I must admit I slept on this one a bit, but it really struck me as being really catchy and engaging after a few listens. I love the simple yet well produced melody and this one is retro in a good way, the transitions between the verses and the chorus are so easy on the ear. I really hope this can finish in a decent position.

Anne – With this being the last song released, I thought they were saving the best for last.  I know she’s a big deal in Australia, and in Sweden where she’s been for a while.  But I find this a bit pedestrian, it’s not a banger or a ballad and the chorus doesn’t have a good enough hook to get me … hooked

I don’t live in Europe, how can I take part?

Well here at ESC Bubble we love knowing what you choose as your favorites, so we have a poll just for you! Think you know better than Christer who should represent Australia this year? Choose your favorite song below and show Ella, Mark, Ayden, Courtney, Leea, Alfie, Kate, Tania, the Sheppard siblings and the deadly duo of Electric Fields some poll love!

Enjoy the show!

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