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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

Behind the scenes with the Australian Eurovision 2024 jury

Australia jury members Alfie Arcuri, Meagan Loader, Mia Rodriguez, Jane Albert, Mason Watts, Danny Estrin (spokesperson)

There is always a lot of commentary about Eurovision juries.


Should there be more jurors? Are they representative? Should they have less say? Or even "Are they colluding in dark robes to ensure one song wins and robs ~insert fan favourite here~ of victory?"


We spoke to two of Australia's Eurovision 2024 jury members to find out about their experience and how it all worked.


The Australian jury members this year were:


  • Singer-songwriter Alfie Arcuri

  • Musician Mason Watts

  • Journalist Jane Albert

  • Music and broadcasting executive Meagan Loader

  • Singer-songwriter Mia Rodriguez


While Danny from Voyager was a spokesperson, he wasn't on the jury itself.


Who did we speak to?


At our live Grand Final Preview podcast show in Canberra, we chatted with Alfie Arcuri who had just been a juror that morning.


Jury members vote on the performances of the jury show held on Friday night in Europe, Saturday morning in Australia.



Alfie competed at Eurovision - Australia Decides in 2019 with To Myself and went on to write the Eurovision 2020 song for Cyprus.


We also talked to Australia's youngest juror 21-year-old pop singer Mia Rodriguez in the weeks after the event.



Credit: Cameron Grant


Approach


Mia said she was approached a couple of months before the event and that she was "so surprised!"


Alfie, who is a Eurovision fan himself, said he had to take a different approach than normal in the build-up to the contest.


"Every year it's a visual experience for me, I watch the the YouTube videos, I listen to the Spotify playlists. I know who I'm like following," he said.


"But they specifically said we don't want you to [follow it like that}, we want you to go in with a blank canvas."


The set-up of the room and early starts


Not only were they judging the Grand Final they also had to do the same for the semi-final on the Wednesday morning.


This is because jury scores are still collected for the semi-final in case of any issue with the public vote on the broadcast night.


Both jurors mentioned the early morning starts but that the set-up made it comfortable.


"Oh man, very early mornings. I had to be ready to leave the house by 4am," Mia said.


"But when I arrived to the cinema room, there was free food and comfy chairs! I loved having a chat with the other jurors too."


All the jury members were in the same cinema room together.


"It's their cinema room at SBS. So it's really, it's really cozy. There's all these lounges like it's catered, we have coffees," Alfie told us.



Lyrics provided


The jurors were provided with information about the acts before judging.


"We had a lyrics book filled with all the performance lyrics," Mia told us.


Alfie said lyrics were an important factor for him.


"I think fire and Phoenix and words like that are something that are overused a little bit," Alfie said.


(Well that was surely an issue for Georgia then!)


"I was a bit harsh on I have to say, certain songs that are borderline cheesy."

Alfie also revealed that the lyrics also included the translations for songs not in English.



Criteria


As for the criteria, Mia told us they were given instructions.


"We were told to judge based on the quality of the performance, song, vocals, etc," she said.


 "I kept track of the 'wow' factor a performance had on me. Anyone can sing and write music, but to put on a great show and 'wow' an audience requires all skills combined."

Alfie also found overall impression something useful to go by.


"I gave points on staging, vocals, the song and the overall performance."


"But then I also had like a little section with overall impression after it because so many of mine had the same number in the end, because I counted the numbers. And then I looked back at the overall impression [to decide]."

We asked Alfie if the vocal played quite a big role and if he was harsh on any who didn't perform well.


"I was. Then I thought hang on Alfie, like, it happens to me as well. The French guy, there were moments I felt sorry for him. Because like, it's people don't realize that these people are singing like, so many times during the week. You got to be really careful with your voice so I did have that in mind. But then I was even more impressed with the ones that did do well, I thought Italy had really great vocal performance."


Netherlands and Israel


Alfie did say that they were informed Netherlands wouldn't be performing but the situation was unknown.



"I don't really know why I didn't really know what is happening or what happened. But yeah, we watched his semi-final performance."


It didn't impact Mia as she was a fan of the song and performance.


"I really loved Joost Klein from The Netherlands, I'm still listening to it now, it's on my playlist," she said.


Alfie also didn't let the potential disqualification of Joost impact his judging.


"I like I put all the politics aside. Like if I don't like the song, I don't like the song and it's not really my style."

Which also came into the judging of Israel.


"Even everything with like Israel, like, I thought she had an incredible voice and you can hear the audience as well, like, it must be hard."


Favourites


As for their favourites, the song the Australian jury gave 12 points definitely stood out.





"Bambie Thug from Ireland, they were very exciting and unique to watch," Mia told us.


She was also surprised to see the other jurors go for it.


"I was the youngest juror in the room, so I expected my votes to be different. I was more-so surprised by some similarities though, they loved Bambi Thug too."

Alfie was impressed with Bambie Thug's staging.


"I would never listen to that song but I was captivated by the performance, like it was incredible. The artistry behind and like the juxtaposition in the way the melody turned like it's just crazy. I really loved that," he said.


The winner also caught Alfie's eye plus others.

"Switzerland, I was blown away by as well. And I know I'm Italian, but I love Italy as well."


Future at Eurovision?

We asked Mia if she would be interested in doing Eurovision one day.


"Definitely, it requires an immense amount of planning and hard work so it is a bit intimidating including the competitive aspect. But I love performing, so it feels almost perfect for me."


And after chatting with Alfie at the event in Canberra, he still has high interest in competing and wants to see a return to Australia Decides.


"Not only was it a great way to select our representative it's also I think necessary for the industry to have those sorts of things to help keep the music scene alive."


Australian Jury Points:


  • Ireland - 12 points

  • Switzerland - 10 points

  • Croatia - 8 points

  • Italy - 7 points

  • Cyprus - 6 points

  • Sweden - 5 points

  • United Kingdom - 4 points

  • Finland - 3 points

  • Luxembourg - 2 points

  • Ukraine - 1 point


You can follow Mia Rodriguez on Instagram @miaaarodriguezzz and Alfie Arcuri @alfiearcuri


For continued updates on all Eurovision Song Contest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. All the links can be found at: https://linktr.ee/aussievisionnet


1 comentario


alankellybond
01 jun

Clearly didn’t represent the people of Australia 🇦🇺

No Israel 🇮🇱

Surprised they gave nothing to France 🇫🇷

Ireland was not for me

Clearly 5 people in Australia liked it

Me gusta
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