In 2014 Australia was asked to provide an interval act in Copenhagen, SBS chose Jessica Mauboy who sang Sea of Flags. In 2015 the Austrian Host broadcaster ORF decided to allow Australia to participate in order to commemorate the 60th Contest. Guy Sebastian was chosen internally and represented Australia with Tonight Again. Australia has been competing ever since with artists chosen internally by an Australian jury. Guy Sebastian’s 5th place was topped the following year by Dami Im , who came in second. Isaiah was the entrant for 2017,his song “Don't Come Easy” came in 9th, followed by Jessica Mauboy who finished 20th with her song “We Got Love”.
In 2018, came the announcement, the fans had been waiting for, that in 2019 Australians would decide who would represent them. SBS announced an open submission for interested songwriters to submit songs. 10 songs were chosen out of over 700 submissions. SBS also decided on the format of the Competition and that there would be a non televised Jury final, followed by a matinee show and finally the Final on 9th February 2019, with a 50/50say between an Australian jury and a televote.
Overall the show was brilliantly produced. The atmosphere in the convention centre was one of anticipation, and friendliness. Everyone was happy and hopeful their entrant would be picked,.
Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey were the hosts, to be honest Myf was the better of the two.
Ella Hooper of Killing Heidi fame, sung “Data Dust”, written by Alice Chance. To me an ordinary song, not bad, very easy listening, certainly not outstanding. I would say a competent song with lots of hooks. She delivered this pop rock song just with aplomb. The costume was interesting not sure lace jumpsuits are my thing. The staging, well there was no staging really. Quite sure it would be forgotten. The jury gave her 12 point , the televoters 6., and thus making her 10th.
The verdict: 🤔🤗
Electric Fields performed a song called “2000and Whatever” written in English and Pitjantjatjara by Michael Ross and Zaacharial Fielding. What a song, what a sound I can just say wow. Love to hear indigenous language. This is a toe tapper, sing along, get the audience going song. This would get noticed on the Eurovision platform.. My only let down was, when I was watching the TV performance , it was really difficult to get good angles, I got dizzy from the to and froing. It appeared messy.. Apart from the LED screens in the back no staging, but it does fit the performance. Costuming was fine, both singers in all black, with Zaacharia wearing a fringed cloak and initially a scarf, which was taken off.. The thing to note is that there was so much energy coming from the stage throughout the performance, and it also came across via the TV screen. They finished 2, as the jury giving them 44 points, and televoters 70.
Mark Vincent was up next performing “This is Not the End”, co-written by him, Isabella Kearney-Nurse and Roberto De Sa. Dressed in a black suit and shirt he took centre stage. No props, just the stage and the camera circling him and zooming in. The voice is sublime, just magnificent. He draws you in and you just have to listen to him. The song itself is again average, very musical theatre. If not for his vocals, the performance would have been underwhelming. Simplicity is great but you do have to draw in those who do not like this genre. He finished 7. Interesting note that both jury and televoters gave him 19.
Dust written by Aydan, Cam Bluff and Dylan Joel sung by Aydan Calafiore was up next. Although only 18 Aydan has been performing for a while. In 2012 he was the youngest member in the reboot of Young Talent Time. In 2013 at age of 12, he auditioned for Australia's Got Talent and was eliminated in the semi final. 2018 saw him participate in The Voice Australia where he placed 4th.
Dressed in all black , Aydan took centre stage. There were no props or dancers , just Aydan. I didn't mind the simplicity of the staging. He did draw you into his performance, he moved well around the stage. The song is ok , generic but still gets you in. It builds up nicely but watching it on TV was certainly different to the convention centre. I got caught up with it in the centre but at home lost interest towards the end.. Nice , easy listening song, lovely voice but nothing to send one in a spin He came 6th , with the Jury giving him 38 points, the televoters 10.
MY verdict: 🤗😊.
“Fight for Love” was up next. The song was co written by Danny Shah, Felicity Burt, Courtney Act and Sky Adams, performed by Courtney Act All I can say is: that girl knows how to stage her song.
Courtney was centrestage in the dark. She was backlit so you could just see her silhouette . She started singing and it builts up to see her on stage in red wearing a geometrical heart shaped hat. She was joined by three male dancers in red. There were props in the shape of red boxes and in the end she released a heart shaped balloon through the centre of the stage.. The song for me was a little old fashioned in tune, nothing new. Courtney can sing but listening to the video live version’ she sounded a bit flat. The jury and public gave her 26 points , making her fourth. As I said she knows how to use the stage to her advantage, but she has been doing this for a long time
My verdict: 🤗🤗
Well this is a surprise package, this sixteen year old has a bright future ahead of her She co-wrote “ Set me free” with Frank Dixon. The song had a constant beat, there were slight crescendos . It does, however, become a bit monotonous .Her voice was not that strong on the TV, there were some notes that she did not control, . In the arena she was great, on playback she disappointed a little. Again very simple staging, just the leds, and camerawork zooming in. No dancers or props were used. Leea wore o modern tight black jumpsuit ( black seemed to be the preferred colour until now), it was age appropriate. The public gave her 11. She came 9th overall.
My Verdict: 🤗
Well , I admit I like Sheppard.Their anthematic song was written by George Sheppard, , Amy Sheppard, Jay Bovino and John Hume. The staging made use of the LED lights., and did that very well, using images of fire,hearts and space in the right moments. The song itself is written in their style, not sure how to describe it, but along the lines of Geronimoand Bombs Away. It is catchy, you can feel their energy live, which does not translate as well to the screen It is a good , solid song. George was wearing black with a bright flowery bomber jacket, Emma had a silver sequined mini on whilst Amy wore black culottes and a sequined geometric top. She also wore a crown- pure Eurovision styling The jury points were 41 , the televoters 46, making them third.
The next song “To Myself” was written by Alfie Arcuri, Audius Mtawarira and Seb Mont. Again the staging is simple , it starts with the phone lights waving and there are lights in the background mimicking the phone lights. Alfie moves around the stage, with the camera zooming in and then cutting across to the audience. Black is again the colour of choice for the clothing, not sure why there is no flare. His song is again average, not bad , not superb , but he sings it well. I do like how he seems to build up to the chorus of heya, it does get your attention. His voice is good, he certainly would make a great contender, in saying that they all are. He appeared to convince the jury, who gave him 35 points , the audience 14. He came fifth overall.
My verdict: 🤗😊
Ok, now down to business. Kate is such a talented artist , who has been in the music industry for years. She is also a trained opera singer , who started out in that genre singing for Opera Queensland. As a classical singer she had won many awards before leaving opera behind. She cowrote her song “Zero Gravity” with her husband Keir Nuttall. It is a very personal song about coming out of depression.
In Kates own words :” it tries to capture that feeling of transcending a long period of depression. Especially, what coming out of that feels like, and what it feels like when the world gets its colour back and things come back into focus. For me, after the birth of my son, Ernie, I went through a long period of feeling like I'd lost my identity and feeling very sort of foggy and down in a lot of ways, and it took a couple of years after he was born for me to feel like I was regaining my strength and clarity and motivation and regaining a sense of who I was as well. And that was just an amazing feeling and so that's what this song tried to capture.”
She appeared on stage to the roar of the crowd. Her staging was awesome, same me say been done before, but apparently her sky high dress was even higher than then Elina's, by a couple of metres, and was wearing a crown. The dress does not change colours but does have a pattern. The pole artist at the back added extra interest and was symbolic for the depression being lifted away.
Her vocals were impeccable. The song is technically very difficult to sing as Kate said in one interview. What struck me was the emotion with which she was singing . It just captured you. Everyone in the Convention Centre was singing along. The applause at the end was thunderous. Obviously the jury and televoters agreed and she was awarded the highest points, 48 by jury and 87 by the audience.. She finished first and is Australia's entrant.
Last to perform and following the Kate's performance was Tania Doko, with a song called piece of me, written by Tania, Christian Fast and Peter Mansson. Tania, of Bachelor Girl fame , is a true performer and delivered this pop song well. Her vocals were great. The staging used the LED lights in a purple hue, matching Tania's jumpsuit. She had two dancers on stage who did leave midway and then returned. The choreography was ok. The song doesn't really stand out,, average on the whole. The judges liked it much more than the televoters, awarding her 17 points to the televoters 6, making Tania overall 8th.8th.
Overall SBS put on a great show. The quality of songs and performers was great. My top three were the same as the final three. I would have been ok with any of the songs, but am happy that Australia took a risk.