On 9 March 2018, Australia announced that Jessica Mauboy would be representing Australia in Lisbon with the song “We Got Love”
Jessica is no stranger to the main stage, having started Australia’s ESC train rolling back in 2014 when she performed “Sea of Flags” at the second semi final. Sadly, these were the dark days before Australia was allowed to officially compete, but I think it’s safe to say that Jess’ performance was in 2014 helped convince the EBU that it should officially welcome Australia to the ESC fold in 2015.
Given that ESC is still in its fledgling stages in Australia, unlike other countries, Australia does not have a formal or public selection process, and the means by which the songs and artists are selected are somewhat vague. I would like to think that as the competition continues to gather both momentum and popularity in Australia that we will soon see the adoption of a process that is a little more transparent, and encourages the participation of the viewers and voters, rather than just another Sony starlet. Having said that, Jess is not just any Sony starlet; she is a consummate performer who first cut her teeth as the runner up for season 4 of Australia Idol in 2006. In the last 12 years, Jess has established herself as a stalwart of the Australian music scene and a fantastic ambassador not only for Australian music generally, but also Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists.
“We Got Love” song is arresting from the first couple of seconds, and I only hope that it is staged appropriately to take advantage of this, and Jess’ energy and vivaciousness, as, in my view, in the past the Australian acts have tended to suffer from some questionable staging decisions (Isaiah’s treadmill, Dami’s box) which detract from the song and the performer. While it’s not the best song I’ve ever heard, the mere fact that is a catchy, upbeat pop number made it stands out among 2018’s sea of ballads and other, more low key, tracks. For this reason alone it is bound to be a real contender in the competition, and when you factor in Jess’ powerhouse vocals and personality, I would be surprised if this doesn’t make it to the top 10 in the grand final.