There are only a few days to go until Australia’s first ever national final, aptly named Australia Decides. In advance of the broadcast, more details have been revealed about the format and selection process. The youngest member of the adult Eurovision Song Contest will be sending its fifth representative to Tel Aviv.
The broadcaster initially received 700 songs which was eventually whittled down to ten songs. Much like more established national finals such as Melodifestivalen of You Decide, one key objective was to showcase musical diversity. Paul Clarke, producer of Australia Decides, explained to tvtonight.au that he felt he could ‘hear the show come together’ as more entries were submitted and filtered through.
Kate Miller-Heidke’s song was ‘Wow!’ To land a song like that between Opera and Eurodance is a fine tightrope to walk, but she did it. After we got Electric Fields we thought we needed a big ballad, and we found Alfie’s song. So the show started to take shape.Paul Clarke
However, Clarke also reveals an amusing anecdote from the selection process:
There were 25 [songs] from a lady in Kazakhstan who seemed to write it with the same melody in mind, which sounded like it came from The Conjuring!Paul Clarke
It seems in the wake of the nations debut into the Junior Contest has really fueled an appetite in Kazakhstan to participate in the adult version in the very near future!
The first Australian national final seems to have emulated many details from the current Eurovision procedure. For example, the jury will have equal weighting to the televote and vote on the Friday night dress rehearsal. There a few familiar faces in the five-strong jury:
- Christer Björkman, Eurovision and Melodifestivalen producer
- Fifa Riccobono, former CEO of Alberts
- Milly Petriella, Artist Service director of APRA
- Josh Martin, Commissioning Editor, Entertainment SBS
- Paul Clarke, Head of Delegation
The first name on the list doesn’t serve as a massive surprise. Mr. Melodifestivalen has long supported Australia’s participation, building up a close relationship between the two delegations. Back in December, Christer uploaded a picture with members of the Australian delegation – the friendship remains strong!
The televote will be open from 1am AEDT time (Friday 2pm GMT!). Dress rehearsal performances will be available by visiting SBS On Demand which can help extra-keen fans a chance to preview what they can expect for the televised final. However, the televote will close roughly 5 minutes after the final performance. As it stands, the running order still appears to be tinkered with or top secret.
To commemorate the occasion, Dami Im will perform as the interval act. Her performance will no doubt act as a good omen to the eventual winner, reminding the Australian public of the success it has had despite only participating four times.
In Stockholm, Dami’s powerhouse vocals and staging was universally praised, fast-becoming one one of the favourites to win. In the final, she came second with 511 points, marking Australia’s best result in the contest to date. Can this year’s winner do one better?
Are you looking forward to Australia’s first national final? Who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments or on social media @ESCXTRA!