Eurovision - Australia Decides

Dedicated to Catherine, She of the Billion Cakes, Ever Brilliant in Gold Lame, Mermaid Songstress, etc etc, all 17 of her. And Psycho Kitten.

As with all our Eurovision coverage here at SBTB, this post is long, with video embeds that we have carefully triple-checked for global accessibility.

Grab some snacks and a drink and prepare to open many tabs, to sample much variety of music, and, if you’re like Sarah, to add a whole pile of songs to The Workout Playlist.

 

Hi everyone!!! Catherine brought the madness of Eurovision to the Bitchery with her flurry of rainbow feathers and sparkles, and we will be continuing her legacy by celebrating the bonkers glory that is Eurovision here. I am stepping up as her Eurovision grand goddaughter, and to help me carry this torch is Catherine’s Eurovision godson, BOOPSIE!

Yes, indeed, this is the same person who’s even MORE of a Eurovision tragic than Catherine.

Boopsie: Emphasis on the tragic. It’s great to be here, being perceived… out in the open like this.

Sneezy: So what are we doing today?

Boopsie: We’re looking at… Australia Decides!

Sneezy: This is the concert program that decides which song will be sent to Eurovision as Australia’s entry. We thought it would be fun to talk about the acts that have been nominated for Eurovision in Australia, especially since Boopsie travelled all the way to the Gold Coast to see the concert in person!

Boopsie: Even better, I made it back in one piece.

Sneezy: Oh ya, you were getting some intense rains down there. So glad you made it back home!

Boopsie: We should probably tell the reader what we’re looking for in these songs!

Okay, so 9 times out of 10 I will favour a bombastic song over a minimal one. Ballads very rarely command my attention. Quality of vocals, flow of the song and stage presence are all things I look for. Lyrics, not so much (as long as they’re not actively gross and endorsing abusive behaviours, I’ll give most songs a pass).

Also, any song which involves an accordion immediately earns bonus points from me. I have my weaknesses.

Sneezy: I look for a lot of different things, and they don’t always have to be in the same song.

Mostly I look for EXTREMES!

  • EXTREME vocals.
  • EXTREME storytelling.
  • EXTREME roiling in darkness.
  • EXTREME visuals.
  • EXTREME!!!

We have divided the entries into categories, and we are now kicking off WITH:

MIDDLING MELODIES

Sneezy: Not the worst, not the best, songs that fiddled in the middle.

Seann Miley Moore – My Body

Sneezy: HELLO FELLOW ASIAN!!! I loved his performance!!! I wish the vocals were stronger but even so, he’s an excellent dancer and performer. I love his glamour, his outfits, the way he makes even standing still a dance.

Boopsie: Seann Miley Moore gave us a solid and competent drag act that I was glad to see on the Australian stage. I have to admit that I wasn’t wowed by their performance though, if only because Eurovision has played host to some of the most incredible drag acts in history, and this one was just pretty good.

All the love to Seann Miley Moore, and I’d gladly pay for their uber after a wild night out.

Isaiah Firebrace & Evie Irie – When I’m With You

Sneezy: It happened.

Boopsie: It sure did. Look, while it was a feat to mix such different kinds of vocals and music styles in a way that they didn’t clash, that was the extent of it. The act had no synergy within itself.

Sneezy: I agree completely. It’s great that Isaiah brought Aboriginal Australian rep to the Australian Decides stage (it seems he was the only one that night though?) and his voice was the sort of butter smooth, R&B croon I’m partial to. Evie’s more strong, punk vocals and aesthetics were cool too. But together they seemed to cancel each other out rather than create a greater whole.

Boopsie: Isaiah and Evie gave us two very complex individuals who had a hard time gelling together as a single duet. It just goes to show folks: romance is hard work.

TINY TEENS WITH BIG FEELS

Sneezy: Exactly what it says on the tin.

Boopsie: Immensely talented, but without the edge of experience that gives their acts that necessary conviction. Yes, your emotions are big. We know.

Jude York – I Don’t Need To Dream

Sneezy: I was really taken with the opening. It was beautiful, with the potential to veer into eerie…but then it dived right into Disney territory with pretty bland percussion.

Boopsie: Jude York gave us the classic “I want” song, ripped straight from the future Disney Channel movie about his Eurovision career (This is a joke. I don’t want Disney’s talons anywhere near Eurovision, now or ever). I respect the message! I just don’t care at all about the execution.

Charley – I Suck At Being Lonely

Boopsie: As “First Big Breakup” songs go, this one’s not too bad! Unfortunately it’s also a soft, tender ballad without a lot of energy to prop it up, so it’s completely out of my wheelhouse.

Sneezy: Charley wrote the song herself, and was clearly quite emotional performing it. I completely bought her investment in what she’s singing about, and there’s a few lines in the lyrics that shows a talented person growing into emotional coherence. This particular song wasn’t for me though.

NEEDS SEASONING

Boopsie: Okay, so I’ve said that songs with a good dance beat are absolutely my jam, but sometimes the dance songs miss their mark. These two tracks in particular could have used a little more spice, a little better mixing, and some decent camera angles, for goodness’s sake.

G-Nation – Bite Me

Boopsie: The choreography was tight live, but that didn’t translate on camera at all.

Sneezy: Oof – I was wondering about that. It looked like they got the shaft with the camera work and mixing.

Boopsie: They tried to serve us a sizzler mix of K-Pop moves and Pussycat Doll vocals, yet fell short of either mark. Ah well.

Sneezy: They’re also Tiny Teens with Big Feels, so I don’t want to be overly harsh. But their age doesn’t erase the fact they are yet another group emblematic of anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation rampant in the music industry, and Black artists and creators need to be given much more opportunities and support.

Andrew Lambrou – Electrify

Sneezy: I am politely pantomiming my request for him to turn the corner and disappear from view. F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

Boopsie: Okay, so Sneezy has this… thing about certain Eurovision contenders. Solo men, often very clean cut, doing nothing to establish themselves besides standing there and singing (perhaps they dance, but never with any real passion). She calls them Boring Men, and-

Sneezy: THEY ARE THE WORST OFFENDERS OF BORINGNESS, WHICH HURTS SO BADLY ON EUROVISION NOT ONLY BECAUSE THEY AR-

Boopsie: – and yes, they’re the bane of Eurovision, according to her. This year, in Australia at least, we were mostly spread from any, uh, BM antics, but this certainly came close. Andrew Lambrou gave us a dance track with the production sensibilities of a mid-2000s Calvin Harris bop, and the charisma of a rusty bucket.

Sneezy: Unless and until fems and queers of all intersections get to be as mediocre as this and have the same opportunities, I’ll keep railing about BMs. To be fair, the future is long and who’s to say if Lambrou won’t up his game in the future?

Boopsie: Are you saying you want him to come back?

Sneezy: The fuck do I look like?

THE WILD CARDS

Boopsie: While wildly different from each other, these two songs didn’t quite fit in with their peers for reasons that will become apparent.

Sneezy: That’s not ominous at all.

Erica Padilla – To the Bottom

Boopsie: Okay, so in 2018 there was this one Eurovision song called “Nobody but You” and while I try to stay positive when it comes to Eurovision songs, even the ones that I don’t like, I actively -hate- that song. It’s got a really nice beat and soulful production, but the lyrics have this really gross and creepy “I will do anything to get us back together even though you don’t want me” vibe. Eurgh. The worst.

Sneezy: Wait, what? Why are you talking about-

Boopsie: Because this song has the same beat, but none of the awful lyrics!

Therefore it is my favourite Eurovision song of all time.

Sneezy: Someone has a vendetta!!! As for me, HELLO FELLOW ASIAN!!!! I liked this song, it just felt a bit safe for me.

But I was really irked by how her presence at Australia Decides was like her winning this incredible lottery and how they found her on Tiktok was supposed to be this Big Thing.

SBS were the ones who opened an entry portal on Tiktok, and Erica went through a selection process like all the entrants. It was really gross how they were making her out to be some kind of Grateful Orphan. No one else was being asked weird leading questions in their interviews!

Boopsie: Oh, for those who are unaware, SBS is the Broadcaster that takes care of the Australian side of Eurovision business.

Sneezy: Thanks Boopsie!

Point is, one of social media’s boons is it removed some gatekeeping for artists, and gave artists who are otherwise marginalised a chance to gain an audience. Meaning, it’s extra gross SBS did this to a fem of colour.

Voyager – Dreamer

Boopsie: Before the competition I got a message from a friend in Western Australia: “OMG Voyager are doing Eurovision? They have to win!” I then got another text from a completely different friend. And another. And another.

My point being, these folks have fans.

Still, when Voyager jumped on stage they brought the Eurovision Energy that I crave. I’m sad that the video version doesn’t bring it across. The crowd went absolutely wild for Voyager. No wonder they cleaned up the public vote!

Sneezy: Unfortunately their song and performance didn’t do anything for me, and to hear Boopsie tell it, it had a lot to do with the poor camera work and mixing. I 100% see that. From the broadcast, I saw snippets of the band working the crowd and even with the poor mixing, I can still hear how well they work together musically. I’ll always have a soft spot for rock, and Voyager was the actual wild card for the night, being the only rock band competing.

HIGH NOTES

Boopsie: Finally, we come to our top three; as decided by general consensus.

Sheldon Riley – Not The Same

Sneezy: HELLO FELLOW ASIAN!!! This was the winner of the night and will be representing Australia at Eurovision this year. Sheldon Riley has a massive voice, and really lucked out with the mixing. He talked about being heavily inspired by Conchita and I really hear it in his voice and music. I LOVE his outfit and would wear that in a heartbeat!!! I just melt at that sort of silhouette.

Boopsie: More Sneezy’s favourite than mine (VOYAGER WAS ROBBED). I liked his gravitas, I loved the staging with the fans, but I didn’t fully connect with their “removing the mask” story.

Sneezy: Yeah, I’m worried that most Eurovision watchers will have the same issues as you, Boopsie. Storytelling wise, removing the mask is a clear enough imagery for people to understand at least some of what he’s trying to express, but may not be enough to convey the full weight of what it means if you don’t follow him already. It certainly wasn’t the highlight of the performance for me.

Jaguar Jonze – Little Fires

Sneezy: YAAAAY FELLOW TAIWANESE DIASPIEEE!!!! I absolutely adored Jaguar Jonze’s song and performance!!!

Boopsie: Let it be known that I’m a sucker for Pyrotechnics, every single time. As soon as Ms. Jonze’s “skirt” was wheeled onto stage I couldn’t help but notice how flammable it was.

Sneezy: YES!!!! She’s such a great storyteller! The imagery of the fairytale princess dress going up in flames was such a strong image and fit so well with the song!

In the clip introducing the song, Jaguar Jones talks about how she has been working in the #metoo movement in Australia, and this song is her ode to and takeaway from working in that space. I really felt her performance, and love her message that we’re all little fires who will burn the bullshit down together!!!

Boopsie: Jaguar is also one of our repeat contenders! In 2020 Jaguar Jonze tried for the Australia Decides title with “Rabbit Hole”, a powerful rock piece about grappling with mental illness.

That year she gave us one of the most powerful moments in Australian Eurovision history, which really needs to be seen to be felt.

Sneezy: Is she single? Asking for a friend.

Paulini – We Are One

Sneezy: SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN QUEEN!!!!! I PAY OBEISANCE TO YOOOUUUU!!!!! I loved everything about this. Just everything! I love the flags, how they were so billowy and created such dynamic staging and were incorporated in the choreography. Paulini didn’t get proper mixing, but still sounded amazing, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the throw back to disco!!!!

Boopsie: Sometimes Eurovision acts can feel a little dated. This felt well aged, like the finest pieces of 90s and 2000s disco-pop. Paulini served looks, talent, energy and glory in all forms. I absolutely loved this and would have been so happy to see it on the Eurovision stage. A shame that it was not to be, but, well, there’s always next year!

Sneezy: COME BACK TO US, MY QUEEN!!!!

Boopsie: -Our- Queen.

In the end:

Sneezy: Well that was a ride!!! What did you think, Boopsie?

Boopsie: Well… we could have done better, but we could have done a whole lot worse, too. It was good to see such a diverse mix of talent on the local stage. Still, I’m worried about our chances at the big leagues- Eurovision 2022 is shaping up to be a very competitive year. You see, for starters Latvia ha-*MMMRPH*

Sneezy: Censored for spoilers. Tightens ropes.

It surprised and delighted me to see so many diverse entrants, and I had a lot of fun watching the broadcast. Seeing so many Asian contestants made me especially happy, because growing up in Canada, I just didn’t have that. I hope Australia continues to become more inclusive in their selection for Eurovision contestants and artists of all intersections get the support they need.

Boopsie: Also I wouldn’t mind if the show was hosted somewhere besides the Gold Coast next year, but that’s just me.

Which was your favorite? And are you ready for Eurovision 2022? 

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