Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyse and review Australia.
Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!
Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the Australian entry, ‘Don’t Break Me’ by Montaigne, from Luke, Riccardo, Sean, Simon, Tim and Tom R. Let’s get started!
Australia’s history at Eurovision
From their first broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1983, SBS have a long heritage with the contest. The distance and time zones didn’t stop that fighting spirit for competition and a chance to display the best of Australian culture and music to a global audience. In Copenhagen 2014 we had a glimpse of this flavour with the ‘Down Under’ interval act. Jessica Mauboy came to party with ‘Sea of Flags’ and it’s been a sea of Australian flags ever since. Australia debuted the following year with Guy Sebastian’s ‘Tonight Again’. The prophetic soul bop finished 5th in Vienna. In 2016 Australia did do tonight again and achieved their best result. With the captivating vocal masterclass from Dami Im ‘Sound of Silence’ won the jury vote. However it had to settle for second place, 23 points behind ‘1944’.
This year’s entry
Back in February Australia held the second edition of Australia Decides. From this diverse selection, Sydney-born singer songwriter Montaigne won. She was the jury favourite and came second behind national treasure Casey Donovan in the televote, taking overall victory. Now the songstress that could have had an alternative career as a professional footballer, brings the soaring anthem ‘Don’t Break Me’. An emotive song co-written with the DNA team behind Australia’s past entries ‘Sound of Silence’, ‘Don’t Come Easy’ and ‘We Got Love’. As portrayed with the marionette themed staging, the song is about being pulled and pushed in a relationship, not being in control and feeling at breaking point.
How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?
Since the birth of Australia Decides, Australia have taken to selecting bold choices. So in that sense ‘Don’t Break Me’ doesn’t really have a comparison. The song reflects the indie-pop music scene on their Triple J radio station. Again we have Australia pushing the boundaries of staging themes. Which worked last year for ‘Zero Gravity’, finishing 9th. Likewise it juggles a delicate balance between appeasing a crowd, the TV audience and jury. Although here we have more focus on the staging narrative, telling the story of the song with the intimate, down the lens camera work.
Ok now THIS is fantastic. Something about the lyrics just really strikes a chord with me, “You thought I was elastic but I’m just made of glass”! But why, dear God, WHY is she dressed as a clown?!? That turns it from a gorgeous song into a distracting joke!
Well compared to last year, to me, this is a massive improvement. But I am not convinced yet. The chours, I absolutely love and relate to the lyrics. However, the verses and the whole perfromance just leave me confused and not in a good way. While I struggle to like the whole package, I can’t deny it is a grower.
I really do not have a lot to say about this. The song is fine in studio, but the live performance for me was hard to watch and her vocal timbre is just not my taste.
A bit of a snooze fest for me, I’m afraid, the production is very unimaginative and whilst Montaigne has a well-tuned voice, I find the vocal feels a bit awkward. I can’t see Europe’s attention grabbed by this and wouldn’t be surprised if it had proved to be a non-qualifier.
Don’t Break Me is structured so well. When I first heard of the track, it reminded me so much of Sia. I really love Montaigne’s voice and her stage presence in Eurovision: Australia Decides. I got to be honest, this song is on my repeat playlist.
This falls into the “good” category in this year’s entries. It’s not awful, but it’s nothing amazing either. Based on the studio version alone, the song isn’t that bad. Add in a live performance and everything seems to being to fall apart. Montaigne’s vocals weren’t that spectacular live and the whole visual just didn’t tie together. It would have scraped through to the final but would have only got a Jessica Mauboy-esque result.
Therefore, Australia receives 117 points in total!
Australia reaches a respectable 3rd place with a score of 117.
- Bulgaria – 163
- Ukraine – 135
- Australia – 117
- Belgium – 109
- San Marino – 97
- Albania – 97
- Poland – 76
Tomorrow, it will be the turn of the Czech Republic to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to Australia’s entry below!
Do you agree with our reviews of Australia? What are your thoughts on Don’t Break Me?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA