On Saturday, Australia take us to the land down under for the first ever national selection to be held outside of the European Broadcasting Area. While this will certainly be a breakfast treat for most of Europe, the Gold Coast prepares for a historic evening in Australian Eurovision history.

Who should come out victorious in this landmark selection? Our team excitedly looked at the acts and we picked a winner…

Alfie Arcuri – To Myself

James – 9 – “What a great voice! And a very beautiful song about overcoming past difficulties and encouraging us to love ourselves. He’s got a great back story (gay son of Italian immigrants, trained architect, entered the songwriting part of Australia Decides and found out both him and his song were picked), and if this goes to Tel Aviv, this uplifting anthem will go far.”

Robert – 5 – “He has a really nice voice, but the song itself is hovering in a bit of a no man’s land. It feels like it should have an emotional punch, but the song veers a little too far towards being upbeat and ends up being, well, kinda neither. It’s a shame, as it feels like there’s potential there, but it’s just not quite coming through.”

Sean – 5 – “Alfie brings us a solid, yet uninspiring emotive pop song in “To Myself”. While I’m sure he will pour his heart and soul into this song, it just doesn’t do anything for me and I struggle to get excited for this one. It’s a well-produced song and the lyrics certainly have poignancy and will hit home for many, but it’s just not my thing.”

Zack – 7 – “Decent song, but I feel this is following the tried-and-true Australia formula that works decently well with jurors and horribly with the televoters that may not necessarily go for middle of the road pop. I’m sure this would sound fantastic live.”

Total – 26

Aydan – Dust

James – 7 – ” I guess with Australia only doing a national selection for the first time in 2019, they have stockpiled talent, and no surprise, here’s another fantastic singer. His song is a slower, modern hip hop influenced pop song, something Justin Beiber might commission. No doubting this lad’s talent, and the song is fair, though it lacks the personal touch that makes Arcuri’s special.”

Robert – 3 – “It does not take long for me to realise that this is not a song particularly aimed at me. The backing music is just a bit too minimalistic for me in the verses and I cannot say I am too impressed by Aydan’s voice either. I would also like the chorus to, well, anything. It’s too low-key for me to get excited in any way about it.”

Sean – 6 – “Angsty teenage love song, check! It seems like a lot of the songs that are produced by artists similar to Aydan, but this is by no means a criticism as he must know his market! If he can replicate the studio version live this could be a special performance and one to get televoter hearts racing, but it’s not a standout masterpiece by any stretch and could get lost amongst more out-there tracks in Tel Aviv.”

Zack – 7 – “Modern, with the chorus coming out of the blue and unexpectedly (in other words, it wasn’t going with the typical chord progression I would have expected from the verses). This has a bit of The Weeknd vibe that I’m liking. But it does sorta plod along and needs a better middle 8.”

Total – 23

Courtney Act – Fight For Love

James – 5 – “The most hyped act, and the most disappointing result. I recall the moment the ESC United editors first heard the news of Courtney Act’s participation, and how quickly that excitement dissipated when they heard the song. I guess people forgot that Adore Delano was the better singer on Courtney’s season of RuPaul’s Drag Act. Courtney’s wow moment on Drag Race was that runway with the angel wing reveal (Lordi did a bat wing reveal to similar acclaim), and Courtney will need something similar as she is the weakest vocalist of the ten entrants and the song is mediocre. The song would be filler on a RuPaul album, and for Courtney to succeed she needed to transcend those kind of tracks.”

Robert – 5 – “Courtney Act is an amazing performer (and would be the first ESC artist I’ve seen live before the show!) but this is not one of her best songs alas… The song misses some of her sass which is a feature of my favourite “Mean Gays” and the chorus build up is just not my thing at all. I really want to love this more than I do, but I just don’t alas. Having said that, it’s still a decent enough listen.”

Sean – 8 – “Against my better judgement… I’m actually really enjoying this! Now, I’m not into the whole drag queen thing and don’t understand or follow any of it, so I don’t know how well Courtney can actually sing/perform, but this is a (simplistic) bop! I find myself singing this song in my head at random, inopportune moments, and for a song like this the earworm quality is imperative. Yes, it could be stronger, and shouldn’t be given the Australian ticket, but this could be one for Euroclub!”

Zack – 7 – “The auto-tune needs to go and won’t fly live. The verses are a bit generic, but the pre-chorus and chorus are quite delicious. It’s obvious the song wanted to be more than 3 minutes as it abruptly ends after the 2nd chorus. I really want to see how this goes live. I’m a little worried Courtney live will not be as good as the studio.”

Total – 25

Electric Fields – 2000 and Whatever

James – 8 – “The band looks like that Burning Man frequenting couple who corner you at a party to talk about Bitcoin, polyamory and Ron Paul, but the song is quite good. I like the sentiment – I am tired of mopey millennial songs, but this one acknowledges the odd times we live in and that millennials should feel empowered and party it up. This is a fun modern electronica anthem, and the Pitjantjatjara lyric parts and Western Australian sounds kick off the song before transitioning into a more orthodox dance club banger, giving it a distinctly Australian feel without feeling forced.”

Robert – 7 – “A really weird beginning to the song, but it soon settles down into something I can get behind a little bit more! The chorus is a delight and it has a weird catchy feel to it. It has a very eclectic feel throughout and it certainly would be a welcome change to Australia’s previous entries. I like!”

Sean – 9 – “Since the announcement of the artists, Electric Fields were the duo that really grabbed my attention, and I’m pleased their entry doesn’t disappoint. Zaachariaha Fielding’s androgynous voice is powerful, fragile and empowering in equal measure, the song’s ethnic elements are a pleasant welcome surprise from an Australian submission and above all else, this is just great fun and a happy, uplifting tune. I’m really rooting for this one!”

Zack – 8 – “The live clip they released sounds nowhere as good as this! Mostly because it was the chorus, which I feel is probably the weakest bit of the song (although this is mostly relegated to the first bit of the chorus). What an interesting song and the inclusion of a 2nd language is a welcome addition. The shrieks in the verses are a bit annoying and I’m curious to see how this’ll go. Not my fave song of the bunch, but the only one I immediately listened to after I listened to the entire bunch of entrants.”

Total – 32

Ella Hooper – Data Dust

James – 8 – “This is a straight up ‘90s alternative rocker of the sort that Ella Hooper did with her band Killing Heidi as well as Silverchair, The Breeders, L7 or Sonic Youth. The metaphors aren’t as clunky as you’d expect a song called “Data Dust” to contain. Ella does not shy away from being a ‘90s icon – she knows the reason she was selected and does not disappoint, but neither is she rehashing the sounds of her past. She’s a more confident and mature artist, though feels she still has something to prove. And the sentiment (escaping the connectedness of the modern world) and the retro sound can work in her favor. If Stardew Valley can sell 4 million copies, “Data Dust” could do well and stand out at Eurovision.”

Robert – 10 – “At first I thought I would not like this, but it’s somehow dragging me along a lot more than I thought it would! The beat is powerful and strong and it is really catchy… I really don’t think I should I love this, but… I do!”

Sean – 6 – “Ella’s poppy brand of surfer rock is a surprise, given her background in Killing Heidi. But with Australia’s rich tradition in guitar music, perhaps this could be a fitting representative? The song builds through its phases well, with more and more elements added until a soaring final chorus that should come alive on the Gold Coast stage, although it is a bit lightweight all the same. Will this be a singalong anthem, and will it make much of an impression in this strong field?”

Zack – 5 – “A fun little 3-minute ditty, but as much as I wanted to like it, and as much as it would stand out in the mix, there was something that just rubbed me the wrong way. With that said, the song could be fun live.”

Total – 29

Kate Miller-Heidke – Zero Gravity

James – 10 – “What in the flying f%$# is this? It’s incredible! Laura Bretan over in Romania set the challenge with “Dear Father,” and Miller-Heidke, a classical trained opera singer who has performed at the New York Met said, “watch how a pro does it, little girl.” In a great selection, this is my favorite. It starts slow, sounding like the alternative pop Miller-Heidke has done over the past decade, then starts the “Zero Gravity” with opera vocals, then it drops into a club banger, and at the two-minute mark we get a full-frontal opera assault. Miller-Heidke is a pro and I have no concerns about her pulling this off live. If both Bretan and Miller-Heidke make it to Tel Aviv, we will get the raw youth vs. eccentric pro opera pop battle we’ve been dreaming of, and Miller-Heidke will crush it.”

Robert – 6 – “It starts conventionally, but that weird way she has of prouncing “Zero Gravity” is a little off-putting on first listen. The song alternates between things I really dislike and things I really like. I love the operatic tendancies in the chorus, but don’t like the colossal drop at the end – it feels so out of place. The last minute or so is better but it feels like a real mishmash of a song.”

Sean – 7 – “This one takes a few listens, and that’s not a luxury that acts are afforded in Eurovision. But hell, this is one interesting song. Popera has never really translated well in the contest (only Elina Nechayeva’s purer operatic effort in Lisbon seems to have made an impression), so it will be interesting to see how this chopped and changed entry will go down with the public. I love the dirty electro beat that hits you like a freight train after the first chorus, and while this is initially jarring, I’m starting to enjoy the ride!”

Zack – 7 – “What a strange song, as it’s got a bit of an identity crisis (or maybe multiple personalities). Yet, somehow, as much as it should not come together, with everything including the kitchen sink tossed in it, it works. People are sure to compare this to previous popera attempts, this gives me more of a Marina and the Diamonds vibe. I don’t know what to think of it, but nonetheless, I’m kind of digging it.”

Total – 30

Leea Nanos – Set Me Free

James – 7 – “A cool, chill club pop song from someone who sounds a lot older than her 16 years. The chorus is great, Leea has a distinctive voice, and overall, I only have three complaints: the vocal modulation before the chorus, the clunky key change, the lyrics being a little too mature to be believable from a 16-year-old, particularly one in a love triangle.”

Robert – 8 – “Despite a less-than promising start, I begin to enjoy this properly once the chorus really gets going. Her voice works for me with its power and the chorus is noisy and exciting. The verses could perhaps do with a bit of work, but the final 30 seconds are a real pleasure to listen to.”

Sean – 9 – “Despite her age, Leea seems to already be a headstrong and confident performer, who knows what she wants to achieve with her artistic direction. Because of this, “Set Me Free” comes across as a much better overall package and also seems more sincere. It’s an exciting and infectious electropop anthem with a thumping beat and an impressive vocal delivery. This one has come out of nowhere for me!”

Zack – 7 – “Great song, but would its atmospheric pop song work at Eurovision. With Euphoria, it was all about Loreen’s vocals solely, but there is so much layering of voices and vocal distortions here and there, I’m just not sure how this would go live.”

Total – 31

Mark Vincent – This Is Not The End

James – 9 – “If Bretan vs Miller-Heidke sounds like a compelling final battle, then so does Il Volo vs Mark Vincent. Australian tenor Vincent has been doing the pop opera circuit with considerable success in terms of album sales and musical productions, and this anthemic ballad is just beautiful. Vincent poses a threat to Heidke-Miller (and vice versa) as a lot of the votes she’d need to beat Sheppard or Courtney Act would come from the 50+ demographic, but they’re going in different directions so it’s not quite fair to say it’s Battle Pop Opera in Australia first. Regardless, “This is not the End” is marvelous.”

Robert – 6 – “Oooo well I do have a soft spot for the operatic at Eurovision (committed La Forza stan last year) and this certainly ticks that box! He has a delightful voice and the song showcases it very well. Perhaps would like to see him do a little bit more with it, but it’s a very well executed song.”

Sean – 4 – “Musical theatre really isn’t my thing, sorry, and the lyrics are clichéd beyond recognition. But I can appreciate that Mark Vincent has a fantastic set of lungs on him, and I can already imagine a dramatic, dark staging for this song that, if done tastefully, will create a memorable performance in the Gold Coast.”

Zack – 2 – “We’ve seen this at Eurovision so many times before and although Mark is a fantastic singer, this song does not make me feel anything. Juror-wank, televote nightmare. Thankfully, the only clunker of the Australia national selection bunch.”

Total – 21

Sheppard – On My Way

James – 8 – “You may have noticed that I cough up a hairball whenever we are confronted by an indie-rock song. However, I like this one! That genre usually lacks sincerity or is mopey or filled with unlikeable a$#%%#s, but this is upbeat, has lyrics I’d call both sweet and sincere, and it’s fun. And the piano outro is a nice touch. A little different to the big bang ending we usually get. They know they ginned us up for 2:50, so a pleasant come down is quite refreshing.”

Robert – 9 – “This one gets me interested fairly early on! Vocally strong and the song has a seriously cool beat to it as well. I always enjoy a song with a strong ending and this certainly has one. It’s a powerful rush through the song and whilst it does perhaps lack that one EPIC moment, it’s a delight to listen to.”

Sean – 9 – “Good lord, this is just three minutes of absolute joy. Indie pop is THE area of expertise for Australia’s music scene so I’m not shocked that Sheppard have one of the best songs here. The sing-along chorus, pounding anthemic drums and uplifting guitar backing brings my mind to all of those carefree summers and those ‘nights you can’t forget’, a feeling I’m sure will be repeated across Europe if this is the song for Australia. It gets a little repetitive admittedly, but this is pure quality from a well-respected band destined for bigger things.”

Zack – 9 – “Sheppard obviously have had quite the successful career outside of Eurovision, but if I were to compare how this song makes me feel in regards to a Eurovision act, it’d be Softengine from 2014. This feels genuine and not forced, as many Eurovision songs can do. It’s catchy and it makes me want to do that little dance Matt did in his reaction video.”

Total – 35

Tania Doko – Piece of Me

James – 6 – “This one is fine. It’s a bit modern era Avril Lavigne, and while it’s pleasant in the moment, it fades away. It lacks a real strong hook to stand out. The other ‘90s icon to appear at Australia Decides, though Doko does not reach too far to the past for inspiration. It’d be weird for Doko to be doing a 2019 update of her Bachelor Girl hit “Buses and Trains,” but something bridging the now and then could have given “Piece of Me” some distinctiveness.”

Robert – 4 – “This certainly has the feel of a closing song for me. Probably for the best that it is indeed the closing song of the National Final! The chorus is a pleasant romp, but the verses are a little bit too tame for my liking.”

Sean – 3 – “I don’t like to be harsh about Eurovision entries as I feel there’s good to be found, but this is just too nondescript, and could’ve been a mid-table entry from Eurovision 2000. It’s fine as an easy listening background track and is a passable soft pop song, but in this selection there are just too many strong personalities and big moments for this one to rise above them all.”

Zack – 6 – “The melody doesn’t smack you in the fact on first listen, but it’s quite a nice song. I don’t think it’s anywhere near the top of the pack as far as instant-likeability. But I will say that I do really think the lyrics are far from generic and there are some nice lines in the verses, which doesn’t happen often in Eurovision music.”

Total – 19

Let’s see what this results in in our rankings;

  1. Sheppard – On My Way – 35
  2. Electric Fields – 2000 and Whatever – 32
  3. Leea Nanos – Set Me Free – 31
  4. Kate Miller-Heidke – Zero Gravity – 30
  5. Ella Hooper – Data Dust – 29
  6. Alfie Arcuri – To Myself – 26
  7. Courtney Act – Fight For Love – 25
  8. Aydan – Dust – 23
  9. Mark Vincent – This Is Not The End – 21
  10. Tania Doko – Piece of Me – 19

It seems pretty clear – we all loved Sheppard’s song “On My Way”! They win our reviews poll with 35 points, ahead of Electric Fields’ “2000 and Whatever” with 32 points and Leea Nanos’ “Set Me Free” with 31.

Will this be the final ranking of Australia’s first ever national selection? For most of Europe, we’ll know in the morning. For those who are Australian, it’s a long Saturday of waiting to find out!

Who do #YOU want to win “Australia Decides”? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Sean Tarbuck
Load More In 2019

Leave a Reply

Check Also

Özkan Uğur, two-time Turkish Eurovision artist with MFÖ, has died aged 69

Özkan Uğur, one of Turkey’s most celebrated musicians as member of the band MFÖ, has…