Eurovision 2020

🇦🇺 Eurovision – Australia Decides: jury show recap and review

The jury show just concluded and our ESCXTRA reporter shares his views from the Gold Coast...

Eurovision – Australia Decides 2020 just concluding its first day of proceedings – the media launch and, importantly, the jury show. ESCXTRA were at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre for the show and we are able to give an exclusive recap of the day, as well as our ‘teaser’ thoughts of the ten performances.

Australia Decides – day one

The Friday of Eurovision – Australia decides is the opening day of the two-night event, and after a media call and a meet-and-greet with the participating artists, the live jury show kicked off.

Before we reveal the running order and teaser snippets of each performance, just some quick notes of importance from the day’s earlier proceedings.

Taking place for the second year running on Australia’s Gold Coast, this years national final has upped its numbers game from 2019. Over 600 songs were submitted to the SBS song portal, while almost double the tickets have been sold across the three days for this year’s event weekend.

Head of Delegation and Commissioning Editor of Entertainment at SBS, Josh Martin was in attendance and told ESCXTRA that the calibre of songs submitted this year was the highest yet.

The man, the myth, the Jon Ola Sand had also made the trek down to the Gold Coast before he leaves the EBU after Rotterdam – and he joked with Martin as to whether Australia would be allowed to host the event if it were to win Eurovision.

More ESCXTRA coverage is planned for tomorrow’s main live show, but in the article below we can reveal the running order as well as some thoughts on the performance.

Eurovision – Australia Decides running order

  1. iOTA – “Life”
  2. Jordan-Ravi – “Pushing Stars”
  3. Jaguar Jonze – “Rabbit Hole”
  4. Jack Vidgen – “I Am King I Am Queen”
  5. Vanessa Amorosi – “Lessons of Love”
  6. Diana Rouvas – “Can We Make Heaven”
  7. Mitch Tambo – “Together”
  8. Casey Donovan – “Proud”
  9. Montaigne – “Don’t Break Me”
  10. Didirri – “Raw Stuff

The performances

iOTA – “Life”

One of my personal favourites in this year’s selection of songs, iOTA opens the show with a burst of life. It’s performed exceptionally and iOTA is evidently an amazing performer. The song, in my view, is actually better on the live stage than it is on Spotify and it packs a punch. Two acrobats accompany iOTA on stage and it is a flamboyant performance from the singer. It is a slight shame it got the opening slot, as I think it would do much better without that chore, but nevertheless it is a strong opener.

Jordan Ravi – “Pushing Stars”

The youngest performer this year, “Pushing Stars” by Jordan Ravi was the first of this year’s songs I properly listened to. I really like the song, and Jordan sings it well with minimum staging. He incidentally won the mock result at the end of the show, and he is a very good performer. I’m intrigued to see how he does on the night, and whether the song can have a strong first impression on Australian voters at home watching on SBS. I fear it may slip through the cracks slightly…

Jaguar Jonze – “Rabbit Hole”

The only act accompanied by their band (Eurovision of course does not allow live, played music at the semi finals and grand final), Jaguar Jonze and her performance is arguably the most unique in terms of the song. It is another strong performance with smart use of on-stage props. The song is not one of my personal favourites and I fear that it may need multiple listens, so it will be interesting to see how the Australian public take to it on their first viewing.

Jack Vidgen – “I Am King I Am Queen”

The surprise package for me – and it received one of the best crowd reactions of the night. I hadn’t loved this song going into tonight, but Jack is an amazing singer and the staging for this is fantastic. The song similarly comes to life much more when Jack performs it live and similar to “Life” by iOTA – a song that I feel is stronger on the stage. This was the most interesting performance for me and I can see it doing really well overall.

Vanessa Amorosi – “Lessons of Love”

The joint bookies favourite going into the night, and she didn’t disappoint. The revamped version of the song is much more powerful than the album track and it is extremely good live. Smart and unique staging that involves a car (you’ll have to wait until Saturday night to understand) as well as make-shift rain, the props add to what is a powerful song and performance. A fantastic crowd reaction and I can’t see this not placing anything apart from the top two. After tonight, the one to beat.

Diana Rouvas – “Can We Make Heaven”

Slightly unlucky to follow Vanessa, Diana however gives one of the strongest vocals of the night – her voice live doesn’t sound anything different to studio quality. The simple staging for this performance I actually really loved and it allows the focus to be on the voice and song. Another one that should place strong, in what is a very even field this year. Although, I can’t see this pipping Vanessa if it came down to it.

Mitch Tambo – “Together”

Singing in his native Gamilaraay language, “Together” is unique for the Eurovision stage. The song and performance builds – with acrobatic staging – and Mitch and the song are popular with the audience. I suspect this will be popular with the general public, although I think the song isn’t one of the strongest in this year’s field (my personal view, not necessarily that of ESCXTRA).

Casey Donovan – “Proud”

The best vocal of the night, Casey’s performance was the second pleasant surprise of the night after Jack. She really can sing and when the latter half of the song hits, it packs-a-punch. Another performance that drew an exceptional response from the crowd, this I can see doing very well with the jury, and even the general public. I don’t know if the powerful vocals will translate as well on the small screen, but this really was a fantastic performance.

Montaigne – “Don’t Break Me”

The other favourite going into the night, the song is in my view the strongest this year. Montaigne is a fantastic performer and the staging is smart, complex and intricate. The one drawback of the performance is actually something that may be an advantage when seen on the television screen. Montaigne throughout the performance sings to one, hand-held camera on stage with her – giving a very intimate performance on the screen. However, this meant that she never sung to the live audience themselves, rather only the camera instead, and the song missed out on some really powerful moments because of this.

Didirii – “Raw Stuff”

Wrapping up the show is a very personal, very soft but very sweet song by Didirii. It is actually hard to review and recap this as unfortunately the television live feedback wasn’t working for his performance, so it is hard to gauge how well it looked on screen. However, it is a very different song compared to others in the field and it has “Arcade-esque” vibes and staging. I think the song though also may receive a better response after multiple listens, something which the majority of the public won’t and don’t do – so it will be interesting to see how it does tomorrow with the voters back home.

Who do you want to win Eurovision – Australia Decides? Who do you think will win the show? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates!

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