Read part one of our reviews for Australia Decides HERE.

With the Australian final just over 24 hours away, our team completed their thoughts on the whole selection. What did Boris, Daniel, James, Melanie, Roy and Sean make of the final five entries?

Didirri – Raw Stuff

Boris – 5 – “Wow the title doesn’t lie, huh? This is pretty raw. Okay, two issues which prevent me from liking this. First of all, “Raw stuff” is one of those ‘Stripped Down Ballads With Deep Meaning’, which is one of my least favourite tropes in music ever. The notion that music needs to be diminished for the sake of some ‘heartfelt’ message is utter bull – Good music speaks louder than words and sells itself. Part of the reason why classical music is the overall best genre of music is because it can conjure up entire worlds without having to resort to words. I believe lyrics should be supplementary and little else. Second of all, “Raw stuff” hinges strongly on the audience’s ability to empathise with Didirri. Having not seen Didirri perform live and therefore not having any semblance of what his personality and character are like in real life, this is a pretty tall order. I am not entirely blind to “Raw Stuff”‘s potential however. After “Amar pelos dois” and “Proud”, it could easily snag a jury top five if Didirri is even remotely likable live. I will probably like the song more once I’ve seen it live. However so far I haven’t, so…”

Daniel – 6 – “This song is very raw and organic. It literally is flowing with emotion and powerful lyrics about heartbreak. This song is quite bare, and I mean that in the good minimalist sense. It captures an essence of musicality that many critics often seek out in Eurovision. My biggest critique is the fact that this song is lacking a big wow moment, which while not essential, would really push it over to an even better score.”

James – 4 – “Life has some raw stuff? You really going to run with this chorus, Didirri? This is not a song and more of a few unfinished ideas purporting to be a song. There’s some earnest feelings being expressed here, but they are so unfocused. This may work as part of a larger album idea, but as a stand-alone track, it doesn’t work. For Eurovision, you need a self-contained three minute narrative, especially with such a simple piano track. Who’s Rachel, and what’s the deal with missing Christmasses? And Rachel is with someone else? What? This is a piano-backed soap opera we wandered into, and we are left wondering how we ended up listening in on it.”

Melanie – 8 – “Didirri is being really personal in Raw Stuff. I really have the feeling that he has to pour his heart out with this song. I really want to give him a hug and don’t want him to stay quiet after he sung his song. Raw stuff is giving me Raw Emotions and I would love to see him on the Eurovision stage.”

Roy – 9 – “He started the song and his voice immediately woke me up. It grabbed my attention and quite frankly it never let me go in it’s duration. I am sooo afraid that this may fall flat live and that it get’s swallowed by the competition. I love myself some piano-ballads from time to time and I absolutely loved this. When I saw the title I did not expect such a touching ballad, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is lovely, but I’m not sure how it will do in competition…”

Sean – 3 – “Sorry, this just isn’t for me. I can appreciate the quality of the song, I like his voice (it reminds me almost of Thom Yorke in a way?) and I know it will have fans but I just can’t get on board with this type of song. It’s far too slow and plodding for my taste!”

Total = 35 (avg. 5.83)

Diana Rouvas – Can We Make Heaven

Boris – 5 – “One of the members of our forum called this song Maltese (specifically Ira Losco’s MESC entries) and I honestly cannot unhear it anymore. This is the stigma Diana Rouvas will have to carry forever from now on: She is as good as the song Ira Losco ditched for “Walk on water” as soon as she won MESC.”

Daniel – 8 – “This is high-quality pop drama ballad. Those notes are very impressive and her voice is so incredible. Diana is bringing some much needed soul (which has proven to be popular recently with Austria 2018 and Sweden 2019). The lyrics are also very elaborate and I can tell that there is a sentimental story attached to them. This is just a very well done song and if she can get those runs and high notes then this stands a great chance.”

James – 6 – “Great voice, bang average track. She can do soul, she can do gospel, and this song wants to make her do that, but there are several editorial decisions that don’t do her any favors. She will need someone like Sweden’s The Mamas to give her choruses some muscle, otherwise this is an exercise that will fall flat. There’s not enough here to wow the juries, who usually love this sort of song, and I fear Australia would face their first non-qualification if they send this as is.”

Melanie – 5 – “Diana Rouva is serving us soft pop with her song “Can We Make Heaven.” It’s an okay song that really show the vocal capability of Diana. But the song itself misses power to shine.”

Roy – 3 – “Noo, noo noo. This sounds like a song that is trying too hard to push for Eurovision. It sounds a bit dated by doing that. She got a lovely voice and what not, but I am really just not feeling this song. It also doesn’t help that there are a lot of other pop-ballads in the selection and that this is probably the worst of them all. Don’t get me wrong, everything in Australia is quality, but I like this the least of the competition and thus the lowest score.”

Sean – 3 – “This song stepped right off the plane from Denmark it seems! (Sorry Denmark) As pop songs go it’s middling – nothing spectacular but certainly not terrible. She is another case of this selection having a great vocalist singing something uninspiring.”

Total = 30 (avg. 5)

Jack Vidgen – I Am King I Am Queen

Boris – 1 – “Oh christ. Look, there’s nothing wrong with telling a personal story. There’s nothing wrong with desiring social justice. There *is* something wrong however with making said wokeness all about you. “I HAD A HARD LIFE-” welcome to… literally every person who had to ever suffer from bigotry? This shit ain’t ‘woke’. What this song is however, is obnoxiously narcissistic. I (unapolegetically) loved “Roi” last year because it *was* a self-empowering inclusivity anthem in spite of its many flaws. “I am King I am Queen” is a mewling dirge riddled with cliché’s and self-pity.”

Daniel – 7 – “I believe the phrase that most people use to describe a song like this is a “first post-X Factor single.” For better or for worse, this song reminds me of UK 2019. I will say that recently, when Australia sends more basic pop songs, they tend to not do very well with the televote which may apply to this song. The lyrics are beautiful and impactful though, and those high notes can totally be a highlight if done well. I think this song is great, but it just really is very typical of what Australia sends with the exception of last year.”

James – 3 – “Sometimes the world seems so mean, indeed. In that people like me think this song is naff. Sorry, Jack. You got a great high pitched voice, but this song is frankly mediocre, and the lyrics sound like you got your excuses ready. This is a less interesting take on Bilal Hassani’s “Roi,” which also played on the “I am royalty despite what you bastards think” idea. There’s no wow moment, the track just plods along despite some occasionally decent solo moments.”

Melanie – 5 – “Jack Vidgen has a great voice. The song sounds as a generic pop ballad we hear before. I have the feeling that he’s singing about a personal story, but i’m not feeling his emotion while singing this song. It’s just a lovely song, but misses originality and power to really stand out.”

Roy – 5 – “This song sounds so familiar, but I can’t quite place where I heard it before. His voice is very interesting and easy to listen to. I wish a bit more happened throughout the song and that it ended on a more epic note. Now it just kind of dies down and I feel like we are ready to listen to the next song on his album. In this case we don’t have an album of his, but a field full of fierce competition to take his crown, not a good sign. (pun intended obviously)”

Sean – 5 – “Jack has a fantastic voice, and reminds me somewhat of Olly Alexander of Years & Years, crossed with a soulful RnB voice. Unfortunately, the voice is pretty much all this has going for it. It’s clearly had a professional production job done but the song itself is a string of cliché lyrics and a lack of interesting or original elements. Sometimes, less is more, but I think more would’ve helped in this case.”

Total = 26 (avg. 4.33)

Jordan-Ravi – Pushing Stars

Boris – 6 – “Wait did I open Denmark by accident, what is this overwhelming fake-cheerful white noise? It’s fine, I guess.”

Daniel – 6 – “This is a cool song with an chill beat and a very 2000’s like pop-rock vibe. It really reminds me of those Jesse McCarthy-style love songs that were super popular then. This is my subtle way of saying that it’s a good song that is slightly dated. It still well done and his studio voice sounds amazing. That being said, it is not exactly the most innovative song this year and is rather toned down and basic for my liking.”

James – 8 – “For me, Sheppard was a revelation at last year’s national selection. Indie-pop usually makes me projectile vomit, but they won me over with their sincere and sweet variation and Jordan-Ravi continues it (George Sheppard co-wrote this with Tania Doko and Tina Arena’s songwriting and production team). My only quibble is one of coincidence in that the constant singing of “You” reminds me of the great Netflix show of the same name and the sweetness and warmth of the song will result in a lot of murder. But I should not and will not second guess the positive motives of Jordan-Ravi, and I will wager a lot of Europeans won’t either. Take it as it is, this a catchy, simple love song that could deliver a second successive Top Ten for Australia.”

Melanie – 7 – “Jordan Ravi is going to be the heart-throb of Australia Decides this year. With Pushing Stars, he’s giving us a cute pop song. I know that his fan girls would melt on the way he’s singing the “Yoooooouuuuuuu” part. The song has potential, but I’m afraid that this song is only going to do well with the teen girls.”

Roy – 4 – “I respect the effort here, but I feel like there was so much more left in the tank. It is all a bit too basic and safe for me. Jordan also uses a few too many You’s for my liking. In general this is a nice little song to listen to and enjoy in the background, but it isn’t a song designed to be performed for something like Eurovision. I don’t know how big Jordan is in Australia, but I feel like this is mainly to show off who he is as a singer and how good he is. The song does that perfectly fine, but not a song for Eurovision.”

Sean – 9 – “Now this has been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine since I first heard it! This has had a sprinkling of Australia Decides influence already, with both Tania Doko and George Sheppard from last year’s contest having an impact on the song. The chorus is catchy, the production is rich and engaging and it straddles the gap between commercial hit and originality quite well. I’m not sure of Jordan-Ravi’s performing credentials but hopefully he can knock this one out of the park. My surprise favourite in this selection!”

Total = 40 (avg. 6.67)

Casey Donovan – Proud

Boris – 4 – “OMG it’s that song Disney rejected from Frozen 2!! I’d recognize that sound anywhere!”

Daniel – 6 – “Oh this has the making of a very epic ballad. The strong strings in the background and her voice are so beautiful. It sounds like a song from one of those new live-action Disney movies. This is a quality entry on its musicality. I will say its biggest flaw is the rather standard, almost derivative, quality of its composition. Meaning there is nothing extremely innovative about this song which is a little sad considering how unique Australia was last year. Beautiful song but a tad bit boring.”

James – 6 – “A decent power ballad with a pull out all the stops performance from Donovan. Now, maybe “Stand Tall” should be the name of this song as “Proud” immediately makes you compare it to a certain jury-winning entry from 2019. And that’s the problem with this song – as fantastic as Donovan is, we have heard this type of power ballad done before at Eurovision. Even though you can admire the story of the young Justine Eltakchi being plucked out of nowhere to write this song for Donovan, and the female empowerment sentiment within the lyrics and the artist and writer’s back stories, there is still a “heard this before” vibe to it.”

Melanie – 4 – “Casey has a great voice that really carries this song. Sadly, it sounds like a X Factor winner ballad. I’m missing something special that really make this song stand out of the other ballads in the competition.”

Roy – 6 – “Already a massive thing going against her is that a song with the same name did very well last year. She can’t help that, but there will always be people who will say the previous is better than this. This will be very good live, but in general the song doesn’t really go anywhere too special. I get a bit of an old-school vibe from her which isn’t necessarily bad. I do feel like the last couple of vocal showcases will be massive highlights of the night. If staged correctly this could actually surprise quite a few people.”

Sean – 1 – “Straight out of the Eurovision songbook, it seems. One of those typical ballads about personal achievement and rising above the odds to conquer all and stand proud. It’s an X Factor winner’s single-come-Disney ballad designed to showcase Casey Donovan’s voice. Really not my thing, sorry!”

Total = 27 (avg. 4.5)

So, where does that leave our top ten overall? Let’s find out…

  1. Jaguar Jonze – Rabbit Hole – 46
  2. Montaigne – Don’t Break Me – 42
  3. iOTA – Life – 40
  4. Jordan-Ravi – Pushing Stars – 40
  5. Vanessa Amorosi – Lessons of Love – 38
  6. Didirri – Raw Stuff – 35
  7. Mitch Tambo – Together – 31
  8. Diana Rouvas – Can We Make Heaven – 30
  9. Casey Donovan – Proud – 27
  10. Jack Vidgen – I Am King I Am Queen – 26

So, Jaguar Jonze holds on to keep the top spot with our team, and is our favourite going into the selection. But who knows what will happen on the night, and could our opinions change over time?

What do #YOU think of the Australia Decides entries and our thoughts on them? Have we underrated any artists? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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