A couple of weeks back I went through all the reasons to look forward to this year’s Contest. I had no hard and fast list but thought I’d covered all the big hitters in the post. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me on Twitter that I realised I’d omitted Australia. As I had only heard one or two of their songs at that point they weren’t yet on my radar. So now is time to rectify that situation and take a proper look at what’s going on down under

After internally selecting Montaigne in 2021 the lack of Aus Decides was sorely felt in last year’s calendar. Firstly, they have the perfect hosts. Joel & Myf are a wonderful mix of enthusiasm, humour and warmth. They’ve picked strong interval acts in the past so Keiino this year just follows on from that nicely. It’s also nice to have an English-language national final this year that embraces the modern Contest. After all, the only other one was a bit too taxidermy-y.

It is my endeavour to get this haunted beast into every post until May.

As for the songs, it’s another quality group. It’s a heady mix of newcomers, a TikTok wildcard and both Eurovison and Aus Decides returnees. It’s great to see artists like Isaiah and Jaguar Jonze want to return to to Eurovision and the national final, respectively. And we know Dami Im wants to come back at some point too so there is clearly a yearning to return. For a country with relatively little Eurovision heritage, and a national final with even less, this desire shows just how strong Australia’s position is.

When it comes to the songs themselves we may not be reaching the heights of the 2019 Aus Decides (a perfect NF in my eyes) but it’s not far off. Sheldon Riley is a justified pre-show favourite with Not the Same. The brooding ballad builds beautifully over the three minute duration. However, with Brividi and River already in the playlist it be joining a saturated market. The aformentioned Jaguar Jonze brings another beguiling entry with Little Fires. Whilst it may start a little quieter and more subdued than expected the madness of the final minute is spectacular. Some inventitve staging could see this in contention.

As for my own favourite? Well we’ve had two Australia Decides now and on both occasions my fave has performed in the penultimate place in the running order before going on to win. In second last this year, we have Voyager with Dreamer and I can only hope this trend continues. A fruther good omen comes from the fantastic team at Aussievision as their fan poll has picked Voyager for the win, as it did Kate Miller-Heidke in 2019 and Montaigne in 2020. The signs are there lads…

This electro-rock anthem is precisely the sort of thing that will come alive on the Gold Coast stage and hopefully in Turin too. One had hoped after last year’s victors we would see a few more rock entries in the Contest. These hopes have been largely dashed over the last couple of months but I have very faith in Australia making the right decision. Every year all I want at this stage is somethng different in amongst the 40 odd songs. For the love of variety, Australia please send Voyager.

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