Everyone wins in Australia Decides
During national final season the focus of all the contests is naturally 'who is going to win and represent their country in Tel Aviv'.
But for so many of these events it can represent so much more than that. It provides a platform to showcase their national music and promote artists not usually seen by a mass audience.
Contest likes Melodifestivalen and Eesti Laul do this really well. Just taking part in these events is a huge boost to the artist and the show stands on its own. It isn't just about picking a winner.
After hearing from all 10 artists and seeing the jury final last night we can confidently say that Eurovision Australia Decides has managed to do this extremely well.
Firstly, the show stands on its own, it is like a mini-Eurovision. It is an excellent debut by SBS and Blink TV and can be a calendar marking event in Australia year in and year out. It's more than an X Factor reality contest.
Secondly, the artists genuinely showed a huge amount of love and respect for each other. Ella Hooper summed this up well when facing the media yesterday by saying,
“We're not very good tabloid fodder, it’s a serious love-in....We’re all so excited for someone to win, it’ll be a scream of joy no matter who it is”.
Now a cynic can say that quote could be PR fluff, but what was so palpable in the room yesterday was that it was truly genuine.
Additionally George Sheppard said the nature of this competition in the music industry is a little foreign.
“It’s counter intuitive for artists to be competitive, we’re in the same zone mentally, here for each other and whoever go through we’re going to be cheering”
Throughout the rest of the press conference, artists offered words of support to their peers, while holding and hugging each other throughout.
We know this could sound a little sickening, but it was genuinely exciting to see. For diverse artists of the highest calibre to continue to enter Australia Decides it needs to be a good experience for everyone this year. We need artists like Ella Hooper, Sheppard and Tania Doko providing positive feedback to their peers and telling them to do it.
It is also a great vehicle for promotion. Young and less established artists like Aydan and Leea Nanos are being given a national audience, Electric Fields are going to bring their unique performance and Indigenous language to mainstream audiences, Ella and Tania are going to bring their incredible experience back to many audience members.
You can point to every single artist and say they will get something positive out of this contest.
And even though it is a contest and there will be only one victor, each artist and 'Eurovision Australia Decides' will be the true winners.
We know that sounds bloody wanky but it's true. Eurovision and each National Final truly is about the music and not just about who will win.
It's something we should all remember and enjoy.