Why Australia Won't Win At Eurovision
There is one thing that brings Europe together like no other, and it’s not the World Cup or dislike of American tourists.
It’s the amazing spectacle of the Eurovision Song Contest. This annual competition is truly a melting pot; like the Olympics but with more sequins and a less obvious path to victory.
Year to year you never know what is going to be hitting the stage -- death metal rockers from Finland, dancing Russian grandmas or even a singing turkey puppet from Ireland.
English is by far the most popular language, but 2017’s winner was the mournful ‘Amar pelos dois‘ (Love for both of us) sung in Portuguese.
Eurovision draws fans from all over the globe, uniting them in their love of capes, traditional folk music, makeup to make a drag queen proud, dancing robots and light shows with enough flashing to kill an epileptic.
Eurovision is so all encompassing that it has even transcended Europe and now includes several countries that are not technically part of the continent, such as Israel and Armenia.
And somehow among all the glitter and key-changes Australia managed to invite themselves to the party.
The meaning of Eurovision is so widely understood that it can even be used as an adjective. For example last year’s winning performance ‘Toy’ from Israel could only be described as being ‘very Eurovision’ while Australia’s entry could only be described as ‘very NOT-Eurovision’.
This had nothing to do with Jessica Mauboy. ‘We Got Love’ is a fantastic pop song and she put on a great performance. If it had been Australian Idol (where Mauboy first came to public attention in 2006) that performance would have killed it.
But it wasn’t a singing competition -- it was Eurovision, and although how you sing matters, it is only one of several important factors such as crazy dress, props and cheesy dance moves worthy of a 90s boy band.
Her only concession that she is in fact performing at Eurovision was a purple sparkly dress, and outfit that wouldn’t even cut the mustard at most of the Eurovision parties I’ve been to. Add a sequined cape adorned with some LED lights and you might be onto something.
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The same thing happened with Isaiah Firebrace. Although he will go down as owning some of the best eyebrows I’ve ever seen, his Eurovision performance was not worth remembering.
He looked like he was up to the challenge with a laser show and that thing where fire comes out of the stage, but put a damper on the proceedings with an all-black outfit and not a backup dancer or crazy prop in sight.
In Australia's desperation to prove itself culturally equal to its European cousins, it has lost sight of what Eurovision really is: it’s tacky, it’s kitsch, it’s amazing, it’s ridiculous.
The only thing you’re not allowed to do is be boring.
This is EUROVISION, and until us Aussies stop taking ourselves so seriously and realise that more is more, we don’t stand a chance.
The good news is that our entrant this year Kate Miller-Heidke seems to have a better grasp of all the essential Eurovision elements. With her entry Zero Gravity, we could be onto a winner.