If Seann Miley Moore is chosen to represent Australia at Eurovision in 2022, it won't be the first time he's graced European TV screens.
The 'Australia Decides' participant is a familiar face for viewers of 'The X Factor UK', having successfully auditioned for the 12th season of the show in 2015. His audition performance of Queen's 'The Show Must Go On' earned rapturous applause from the studio audience, reduced Rita Ora to tears and managed to get notoriously hard-to-please judge Simon Cowell on his feet. As of today it has amassed 20 million views on YouTube!
One of four finalists in the Boys category to make the live shows, he was eliminated after his Week Two rendition of 'California Dreaming'.
So what took this Australian singer across the pond for a shot at stardom, and what has brought him home in time to vie for a place at the Eurovision Song Contest?
A nomadic childhood
Seann Miley Moore was born and raised in Indonesia, by his British father and Filipino mother.
After a stint in Thailand, the family relocated to Australia where they decided to put down roots.
Now 29-years-old, Sean told SBS that he was never confused about where home was.
"My home is where my music is. My heart is where my music is and the stage is where I am," he's said.
Seann cut his performing teeth in musical theatre. He is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, the same school that honed the talents of world-renowned performers like Hugh Jackman and Tim Minchin. Before departing for the UK, he performed in productions of 'Sweet Charity', 'The King and I' and 'Rent', in which he played the genderfluid street-drummer Angel.
It's a role he reprised in a 2021 production staged at the Sydney Opera House.
He's on record saying that, while he valued the start theatre gave him, playing characters after a while bored him. "I want to be me," he told LGBTQIA+ blog 'Guys Like You' back in 2015.
In search of acceptance
Seann's sojourn to Great Britain was partly the result of feeling he didn't belong in Australia, describing his time in the UK as his "queer liberation". "Growing up here was hard," Seann told Q News in an interview earlier this year. "Expression growing up here was very muted and I didn't feel a sense of belonging. So I had to take that butterfly moment to realise all my queerness, all my colour, and really connect with my community. "We shouldn't have to leave our beautiful country to find ourselves. We need more of those spaces, we need more of that support for our youth."
On home turf
Fortunately, he now feels comfortable and confident to be his authentic self back home in Sydney.
This led to the opportunity to compete in season 10 of 'The Voice Australia' in 2021.
The performer turned four chairs with his rendition of Andrea Bocelli's 'The Prayer'. Although he knew Rita Ora, who was on the judging panel from his time on 'The X Factor', Seann chose to be mentored by former Eurovision contestant Jessica Mauboy.
"She's such an inspiration for a brown sister like me," he explained to Q News.
"Having watched her audition she is such an inspiration in all her brownness and fabulousness. I was like I need to go for my homegrown soulful sister Jess," he said.
He was eventually eliminated in the knockouts round, just two episodes shy of a finals berth, but not before memorable performances of songs including: 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)' and 'Lonely'.
Bound for Turin?
For Seann, a tilt at Eurovision is another opportunity to showcase his pride to Australia and the world.
"Eurovision is about celebrating your pride and I’m ready to give you all the fabulous joy, baby!" he said upon the announcement of his participation on the Gold Coast in February. While we don't yet have details about his song, we do have his original music to help us imagine what he has in store.
It's an eclectic mix. Seann's latest release, the EP '4 Track Bitch', runs the gamut from power ballad to cool electronic pop, and even R'n'B.
We also know his musical inspirations, which is a who's-who of big-name recording artists. "When Sam Smith sings I feel it, when Nina Simone sings I get the feeling. I also love artists who crossover into film, Jennifer Hudson, Jared Leto… They are multi talented."
Seann Miley Moore will take part in 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' on the Gold Coast from February 25-26. You can get tickets from Ticketkek.