Australia’s presence in Eurovision won’t be a one-night stand, if Guy Sebastian has anything to say about it.
Apparently the Eurovision Song Contest is A Big Deal in the land down under — enough so that an Australian broadcaster has carried the contest for the past 30 years.1 For this Very Special (60th Anniversary) ESC, Australia has paid a metric buttload of money to upgrade themselves from interval act to fully-fledged competitor. In celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime2 opportunity, we polled the entire WEIO.tv Eurovision coverage team for their thoughts:
It feels oddly appropriate that for a country that’s only getting one chance to be part of the Eurovision fun3, the song they send is about making the most of a party night. After slogging through what feels like 40 duet ballads, it’s really nice to see something uptempo, even if it sounds like the store-brand version of “Uptown Funk” – I’m really interested to see what stays and goes in terms of the actual live presentation of this song. Just given its ability to stand out in the field, I think Australia’s debut in the competition won’t be a complete fiasco.
I’m glad Australia isn’t being complacent about its Eurovision entry.4 “Tonight Again” is a fantastic blend of Guy Sebastian’s voice and instrumentation. The track taps into a lot of the pop sensibilities of “Uptown Funk”, which is oddly current and relevant for a Eurovision entry. I’m curious if the background vocals from the original track will be able to translate to the main stage–up to five backup singers may not be enough, but maybe the audience will fill in what’s missing. Also, bonus points for the Aussies bringing the party to what has the potential to be a low-key affair with all the duet ballads.
I absolutely think this entry is Australia’s bid to permanently expand the Big Five into the Big Six — and it’s a good one. I see why Ben and Mike are comparing it to “Uptown Funk,” but “Tonight Again” lacks the punch and bassline that contribute so much to making the Ronson/Mars collaboration a great earworm and dance song. I’d locate this entry closer to a funkier, slightly less saccharine cousin of Denmark’s “Cliché Love Song,” which I loved, and which landed in a very respectable 9th place. Is this song going to win? Hell no, at least I hope not. But compared to the stinkers the Big Five keep sending up every year? This is actually a pretty great entry. The biggest problem, in my mind, will be Guy Sebastian’s charisma (or lack thereof). We didn’t get a true sense of his performing personality in this video, but he better aim high if he wants to fill the Eurovision stage.