National Final Down Under – Rating the Songs of Australia Decides 2019 (Eurovision NF)

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, and welcome to another Eurovision preview post on The Blogging DJ.

Today, I am focusing on the Australian selection process for this year’s edition of the competition, which sees a switch up from an internal selection by the broadcaster, to a fully fledged national final. There are ten acts in total who will be fighting for that ticket to Tel Aviv tomorrow night, so it is time to go through them and see who can bring Australia back to the top half of the leaderboard.

Alfie Arcuri – “To Myself”

The song starts sweetly with some soft instrumentation and his excellent voice, before it pulls on the heavy beats as the song progresses. It is a well produced song for a potential Eurovision entry, has a radio-friendly quality that will definitely resonate well with juries. I especially like the chants of “Hey Yeah”, which add a new element to the production. One thing I will say about this entry is that it is very clean but, for me, it is a bit too wordy to really stand out on stage. Still a good start to this selection though. 7

Aydan Calafiore – “Dust”

This radio-friendly ballad has a good mixture of elements, but they don’t completely come together for me. Firstly, the lyrics feel slowed down and stretched out, almost artificially, which removes the potential emotional output in this entry. Secondly, whilst the elements swell up well towards the end and he has a good voice, I have forgotten the melody in the half an hour since I listened to it. 6

Courtney Act – “Fight For Love”

Everything about this entry screams showgirl and performer; the various outfits Courtney is modelling (and looking very lovely in), the glossy backdrops and the tight choreography. The song, on the other hand, is swaying too much towards cheesy for my liking and there are two many soundbite cliche lines here. She has a massive fanbase and the catchy tune will attract televotes to her name, but will she be able to pull off the higher notes in the live performance? 6

Electric Fields – “2000 and Whatever”

After years of playing it safe, this could be the entry that sends Australia into the top echelon of Eurovision song quality. Combining an aboriginal language with a urban, modern production creates a listening experience that will be unique to most of the viewers in May. The dance section is catchy as hell and is arguably the best part of the song. What I do hope for is some ingenious staging; it is what this great entry deserves. 9

Ella Hooper – “Data Dust”

Giving a retro feel, with shades of motown, this entry is fun and full of flavour. Featuring many little cute moments throughout, in the music video and in the song, you can tell that the singer is enjoying performing this song. Despite having such a high energy, I don’t think it stands out enough to do well in this selection process, with so many heavyweight entries in the field. It sounds like a 90s TV show theme and not for 2019 Eurovision. 5

Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”

Like a living creature, this entry is constantly changing, moving and surprising. Going from a more standard modern pop entry to a drama-filled popera section was not something I was expecting, and it is this kooky and left-field choice that I was waiting for in the Australian entry. It is very experimental, which could alienate a few viewers, but if that means others will vote for it then it is a good move. I feel like the final minute could be strengthened a lot, instead of just being a series of vocal exercises, but if this goes well live then Kate could do very well indeed. 8

Leea Nanos – “Set Me Free”

Australia are definitely piling on the modern, chart-friendly hits in this national final, and this sadly means entries like this one don’t stand out as much as it could. The pounding beats throughout, especially in the chorus, help to create a solid dance mood. This has a sultry quality that would translate well in a bar or in the underground club scene. But, compared to a lot of the other dance entries, I’m not sure this is unique or memorable enough to get a lot of votes. Still a good song and a nice surprise to listen to. 7

Mark Vincent – “This Is Not The End”

In a field of modern chart hits, a more classical entry could really stand out. That is how I am feeling about this, a standard, theatrical ballad with large dashes of opera. It is nothing revolutionary and would not do that well in the contest, but his voice has such power at full revs that it helped to dismiss most of my concerns. Expect this to blast away live. 6

Sheppard – “On My Way”

Like most of the entries in this selection, this is a modern and radio-friendly chart hit. But unlike most of the others, this is an ear-worm that sticks with you way after the song has finished. Its strength comes with its simplicity, making any live staging less difficult to navigate around, and the sweet lyrics will imprint on every listener. The only worry I have with this song is the fact that it is very middle-of-the-field; will it attract the votes on Saturday with such a clean entry, and then at Eurovision? 8

Tania Doko – “Piece of Me

To complete the line-up, we have this breezy and feel-good tune that doesn’t do a lot apart from that. It is nice, I’m not going to lie about that, but it plods along for three minutes and I have already forgotten the melody. With so many high quality entries in the field, this feels a bit like filler. 5

Those are my thoughts on the ten songs fighting in Australia Decides 2019 and I must say that the Australian broadcaster SBS have done such a great job to create a line-up that is modern, catchy and very high quality. I think four or five of these songs would represent other countries if they were in their national selections. As for who is going to win, it is a choice between three, Electric Fields, Sheppard and Kate Miller-Heidke; all three scream potential for the contest, but based on my gut instinct, the unique and brilliant “2000 and Whatever” should win this selection.

What do you think about this line-up? Who is your favourite and who do you think will win? You can let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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