Another Thursday, another throwback. This time we’re taking you to Australia, land of kangaroos and Lee Lin Chin. Here, we will be discussing my favourite Australian entry to date: “Tonight Again” by Guy Sebastian.
“Wait, why is Australia in Eurovision?”
Refresh your minds back to 2015. We heard the news that Australia were invited to Eurovision as a “one-off” to celebrate the contest’s 50th birthday. As we assumed that this was the only time Australia were to compete, they automatically qualified to the final. By March, Australian broadcaster SBS announced that Guy Sebastian would represent them with his song “Tonight Again”. It was written by himself alongside American singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris and Dutch born songwriter and producer Louis Schoori.
Before debuting, SBS had been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest for over 30 years. As the popularity for the contest increased over the years, more and more Australian viewers were waking up at 5am to watch it. Their dedication got recognised in 2014 when eventual 2018 representative Jessica Mauboy performed at Eurovision in Denmark as an interval act.
A host of Australian singers have competed at Eurovision previously. Including two-time winner Johnny “Mr Eurovision” Logan and the United Kingdom’s Gina G in 1996. From all of this information alone, perhaps it seemed right to invite Australia to the contest in the first place. As the 2015 slogan suggested, it was indeed fitting to be “Building Bridges” down under.
It was later confirmed in the November of the same year that they would return in 2016. Fast forward to 2018, and they’re still with us!
A debut entry with the full package
Onto the exciting part: my opinion. You may be wondering why I chose “Tonight Again” out of a grand total of four entries so far. While the juries are having a fanwank over Australia lately, I find their last three entries completely lacklustre and overrated. However, I must credit Dami Im’s incredible vocals on that night in Stockholm. And perhaps a special mention to Isaiah Firebrace’s infamous voice break during his semi final performance? Or Jessica Mauboy’s questionable dancing like she was in a nightclub? Either way, there was no competition to me. Guy Sebastian’s song still stands as my favourite Australian entry to date.
Performing 12th on the night of the final, Guy had everything going right for him. Beyond the fake cheering provided by Austrian organisers, there was no need for any booing technology here. With continuous fist pumping from the backing singers, Guy was confident and charismatic throughout. Vocals on point, good staging and an upbeat song that needed to get everyone going, considering the yawn-fest we endured with the other entries that year.
Perhaps Australia turned out lucky. For one, they were Australia, a debuting country in Eurovision. Not to mention that 2015 was ballad hell, at least in my opinion, since there’s not many ballads I actually like. While “Tonight Again” wasn’t my overall winner that year (spoiler alert: it’s a close call between Estonia and Montenegro), it’s still a song that sticks to my mind from time to time. Compared to Australia’s other entries, at least.
Overall, Australia finished in 5th place, receiving 196 points. This included 12 points from hosts Austria and eventual winner Sweden.
Our editors’ opinions
If I were to make a Eurovision top 10 CD to share with someone completely ignorant of the Song Contest, “Tonight Again” would most certainly make the cut. The song was a refreshing standout and the perfect introduction for Australia in the contest. As the first winner of Australian Idol in 2003, Guy was a natural choice to introduce Australia to the Eurovision Song Contest audience. Honestly, I’d love for him to represent Australia again. The only crime was that this song was destined not to take top honours but I’m fine with a 5th place finish. The song was a fun and contemporary track that could easily be heard on the radio in the States and abroad. Sure, some will make comparisons to the likes of Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake – but the song, although slightly derivative, stands alone and the credit lies with Guy. Guy brought the charisma, the charm and most importantly FLAWLESS VOCALS. I am STILL listening to this song… you should too.
Whatever you think of Australia’s participation and their bye to the final in their debut contest, let’s be thankful that “Tonight Again” was on the start list for this show. A buffet of ballads and mid-tempo trudges, this show was livened up by Guy’s song and performance. The song will probably date quite rapidly, but it was a professional offering, and he can sure sing.
Australia’s entries had never really clicked for me. Outside of 2018, I can’t really say I ever enjoyed listening to any of their entries. Tonight Again is no different. I just never really saw the appeal of the song, especially since Guy Sebastian’s voice was just as off putting to me as the song. Also, the stage show in Vienna I don’t think was all that impressive either. In short, it’s not really all that impressive, but it’s a fitting way to close out (in my opinion) one of the worst top 5s in ESC history.
Much like Heroes (the eventual 2015 winner), I put Tonight Again into the “Competent, but leaves me cold” category. The song is a pastiche of Bruno Mars, who himself is a pastiche of older, more authentic influences. As a result, I find the song itself rather tacky. That said, the chorus is catchy, Guy is a fantastic performer and the staging was excellent. Even still, it wasn’t top 5 worthy to me. This song benefitted from two factors: the initial novelty of being Australia and being an up-tempo in a ballad-heavy year. With such a strong set of entries, I found Tonight Again’s placing far too high. Above Love Injected? Above Goodbye to Yesterday? Madness.
What do you think of “Tonight Again”? Let us know in the comments or on our social media pages @ESCXTRA!