Since Australia’s first Eurovision entry in 2015 Guy Sebastian’s “Tonight Again’, we have cheered Dami Im (second in 2016 (she was robbed)) and have cringed at Jessica Mauboy, notably referred to by ‘The Spectator’ magazine as a ‘vast caterwauling aboriginal‘.
Finally we antipodeans have had the opportunity to vote (as if it hasn’t all been decided beforehand) on our entrant. The final, from the appropriately kitsch Gold Coast, Queensland, was shown on SBS and hosted by a chipper Joel Creasy (“trilingual” in English, Millenial and Drag-Queen) and an uncomfortable Myf Warhurst in unflattering hot pink.
Each of the ten entrants was introduced with cheery footage of them at their usual daily activities aboard a rollercoaster, on a segue, in a harness, and so on.
We explain our Euro Points System here. But really it’s the vibe of the thing. This year we scored each act out of 5. We also awarded Song Points, that is to say, the higher the score, the more likely that we could bear to listen to this song in the real world, when not suffering ‘Eurovision Delusion Syndrome’. We also noted Euro quotes this year. These are the usual vapid and cliched statements made by the contestants. There is an exception. We were too gob-smacked by Ella Hooper’s camel toe to recall a word that she had said.
So here we are – The Official TVC Australian Eurovision Final votes for 2019 –
1 – Ella Hooper, (ex Killing Heidi) plump in a curious lace leotard-legging outfit with an unfortunate centre seam – Eurovision gold!! 1 Song Point for a forgettable number, Data Dust. 3 Euro Points for the outfit, the Ruby Wax look alike on guitar and a mosh pit dive.
2 – the duo Electric Fields with 2000 and Whatever. 3 points for a not too bad song, despite its being incomprehensible whether in English or indigenous language. A massive 4 Euro points for gender fluidity, a big hair reveal, bad dancing and lava lamp backdrop. Electric Field’s Euro quote – “Cos at the end of the day we are more similar than we are different”. (This sentiment must be uttered during every Eurovision telecast, at least once. Preferably in French).
3 – Mark Vincent with This is Not the End. Mark has the speaking voice of Santo Cilauro and the singing voice of a psuedo opera singer. 3.5 for a pretty decent James Bondish song. 1 Euro point – for the Khamal-like effect. Euro quote – “Music for me is everything. It is my life”. This is also a compulsory Eurovision statement.
4 – Ayden. Ayden believes the urban myth that affecting a single name improves a mediocre act’s chances of winning Eurovision. It doesn’t . You see, ABBA were appealing and talented. Ayden is neither. Ayden worked his way through Dust, using every trick Ayden learned at Boy Band School, pointing at the camera and at random 12 year old girls in the crowd, and casting smouldering, self-loving looks. Nil points for the song. Nil Euro points. Ayden’s Euro quote – “I feel like I’m starting to discover my sound”.
5 – Courtney Act. We smiled at Courtney’s pre-song film when she wobbled across a rocky coastal outcrop wearing 4 inch stilettos, and that was the end of the amusement. Courtney cannot sing and her Fight for Love was blah. 0 for the song. A solid 4 Euro points for the creepy, crotch-skimming shiny red rubber outfit, the contortionists (!), more gender fluidity and releasing a red heart-shaped balloon. Courtney’s Euro quote was the weakest attempt of the night – “[I’m] fighting for refugee rights….it’s kind of a protest song”. Sigh.
(We pause here for Myf’s Euro quote : “There is such a diverse range of genres on stage tonight”, and Joel’s lovely reference to “fruity lexia and a cube of cheese” (Although in true Eurovision style this does not seem to be entirely original. We suspect Mr Creasy of owing something to Two and a Half Men’s “box of wine and can of aerosol cheese”).
6. Leea Nanos, a halfway decent turn. Leea, who is 16, as we were constantly reminded, had her hair done-up like Get Smart’s Barbara Feldon, put on Agent 99’s lace-up jumpsuit and warbled Set Me Free. A bit Italian Variety Style but worth 3.5 for the song. 3 Euro points for the huge backside, a lot of hopping up and down, odd gestures and laser effects. Because she is 16, Leea gets more than one Euro quote: “I can express myself through music the best…I’m not the best with words”, “[It’s about] my own experience with a guy I liked”, and “I may be 16 but I’m chasing my goals.” Bless.
7. Sheppard. A true (does that mean fake?) Eurovision contender here – one band member wore a crown and blue hair, another gamely donned a sequinned mini dress and strummed a guitar. On My Way gets an average 2.5 Song Points but the whole effort gets 4.5 Euros. Their Euro quote is suitably odd. “We’re actually siblings”. Hmm.
8. After banging on and on about his nonna, Alfi (on no! Ayden will be angry), an over-muscled narcissist, sang To Myself (no surprises there). Lyrics included the lines, “I can’t blame nobody else. Did I do this to myself? It was wrong”. We think he was referring to his astoundingly complex facial hair. Finishing with a seductive look to camera, Alfi gets 0 points and 0 points. Alfi’s quote is beautiful- “It goes down into the roots of my teenage years and struggling with my sexuality”.
9. Kate Miller-Heidke (see main image). Now, this is Eurovision. It is no spoiler to tell you that Ms Miller-Heidke won the Australian final and is odds-on to win the whole thing. Wearing a 12 foot high Statue of Liberty get-up and doing a fabulous squeaky impression of that other Kate – Bush – she fake-operetta’d her way through Zero Gravity, backed by a dark shadow witchy person on a bendy stilt. Again, there is nothing new in Eurovision and we were reminded of Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva in Lisbon in 2018. Kate is not the opera singer she thinks she is, but she IS Eurovision, also giving us the grown-up version of one of Leea Nanos’s Euro quotes (Leea is 16), “it uses the metaphor of a bad relationship”. But that’s not Kate’s Euro quote, her winner in that category is another Eurovision compulsory, “It’s a hard song to sing”. 5 for the song and 5 Euros.
10 – Tania Doro. Poor Tania. She had to go on after the dark shadow on the bendy pogo stick…also she is too old for Eurovision. (Leea Nanos is only 16.) Tania’s song, Piece of Me was ok, as was her voice. 2 points for that. 2 Euro points for the weird fat dancers and asymmetrical purple pant suit. Tania’s Euro quote though is a Eurovision rhinestone!! “We’ve had quite a bit of interest from it including JLo” and the ever-wonderful, boast “…as a working mum…”.
SBS did a terrific job. Joel and Myf are likeable, although Myf was nervous. Julia Z and Sam P were missed. The show was snappy and awkward, glitsy and quick. In particular, the voting was mercifully fast, although we would have enjoyed some Face-time links, “Hello from Pymble and thank you SBS for a great show….” 4 Euro points.