In 2015 SBS was told that Australia could stay as long as they won. They haven’t won yet, but last year Australia almost won the entire contest and actually placed first in the jury vote. So maybe they’re here to stay.
Given last year’s good results, SBS decided it was a good idea to go with their (almost) winning formula: Pick an X-Factor artist, and get DNA (David Musumeci and Anthony Egizii) to compose their song. The song would be simple but the production would be great, and it would show off the artist’s vocals, because sometimes it seems as if it’s the Eurovision Belting Contest.
Enter Isaiah Firebrace and “Don’t Come Easy” (which I’m going to guess Microsoft Word is going to pick up on as a grammatical error sometime in this post).
It took me about 10 minutes to listen to the song, not because I didn’t dislike it, but because I kept pausing the video and thinking, “That’s the exact same face that the pharmacist at work gave me when he forgot his phone on the other side of the building and tried to get me to grab it.” Except the pharmacist maintained it for about 10 seconds; Isaiah maintained the same expression for 3 minutes straight. It’s probably all due to the eyes; it definitely helps if he’s getting out the message of “Look, I’ve been through a lot of relationship drama; and I want to keep going with, but it’s going to take a lot of work from both of us.”
As for the song, vocally he pulls it off. It reminds me a lot of Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”, but DNA managed to make the two songs sound distinct enough (unlike Greece *cough*). It’s simple, but given last year, you never know what Australia’s going to bring to the stage (once it turns into the Eurovision…Effects Contest…)
All of the “Wait, Australia isn’t even in Europe” comments aside, Australia is back again after being invited last year as a guest entrant for the 60th contest, though this time as a semi-finalist. I’m going to guess that it was a combination of their enthusiasm for the contest, their willingness to try and send something at least decent, and someone in the EBU realizing that more participants=more entry fees, and more entry fees = more money. Given all of the three mentioned reasons, there’s a chance that SBS is probably going to return to ESC as a regular entrant.
Prior to SBS announcing Guy Sebastian, one of the heavily rumored artists was Dami Im, who won the X Factor in 2013. Excluding the entire month where everyone thought it was Delta Goodrem due to Junior Eurovision, the rumors were right, except they were a year early. She’ll be singing to the Sound of Silence. And a) there’s no connection to Simon and Garfunkel, and b) for any literalists, she’s not singing an a cappella track.
When the track starts, the verses remind me a lot of Switzerland’s entry last year with the thumping/pulsing bass at about the same speed, and the refrain pulses harder. But unlike Switzerland, which emerges into the light from the darkness, Australia’s version goes dark and says that due to some relationship issue the, Dami’s heart beats to a bunch of numbing white noise (because silence…doesn’t make any noise). I really like the baseline tune, but I don’t care much for the lyrics (*cue the “as an American, the lyrics…” rant by Julie Frost back in Austria*). There’s no issue with the face time/FaceTime lyrics, but something sounds weird when she sings “and it beats to the sound of silence.” Instead of singing “SI-lence” by emphasizing the first syllable, she emphasizes the second syllable as “si-LENCE” and it just sounds kind of weird. Then again, Finland’s also got “all my trou-BLES away”, which sounds just as jarring but I didn’t really care then…