Looking back, Australia has truly come a long way in its relationship with the Eurovision Song Contest.
Holding a Eurovision national final in Australia is something many Aussie Eurofans never would have even dreamt of!
Since 2019 Australia hosted three 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' shows.
This year marks five years since the inaugural Australia Decides in 2019. To celebrate this milestone we explore five takeaways from Australia's first-ever Eurovision national final, and members of the team share their thoughts.
1. Australia's very own mini-Eurovision
For Eurovision fans in Australia running a national final was a dream of a lifetime. Australia Decides invited Aussies across the country to get together and share their love for the Contest.
Australia is far from Europe and heading to a Eurovision Song Contest is not something every Aussie Eurovision fan will ever be able to do.
To the surprise of many Australia Decides essentially felt like a mini-Eurovision. Particularly due to the show's high production value, the energetic live audience, and Eurovision after-parties.
After the first 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' many fans couldn't wait for the next one the following year, a great excuse to head to the Gold Coast and catch up with Eurovision friends.
For Aussievision, Australia Decides became the event where the team would catch up in person, for many meeting each other for the first time.
At Australia Decides 2019, only Mike and Dale were on the ground representing Aussievision. After a call out for volunteers, the following year Aussievision had dozens of members with many meeting in the Gold Coast in person.
2. Exposure to current and up-and-coming Aussie artists
Australia Decides became a show that showcased past and new up-and-coming Aussie artists. It was a great way to establish their fandoms.
Ever since Electric Fields finished as runners-up in 2019, with their anthemic banger '2000 And Whatever', the duo from Adelaide have been one of the most requested acts the Eurovision fandom would like to see represent Australia one day.
Australia Decides 2019 Leea Nanos wowed us all with her powerful performance of 'Set Me Free'. The young talent went on to win songwriting competitions and even wrote the Australia Decides 2022 song 'Bite Me' for the girl band G-Nat!on. Leea's name has even popped up as a possible Eurovision representative for Cyprus.
Nashville-based band Sheppard, originally from Brisbane, may have finished in 3rd place at Australia Decides 2019 with 'On My Way', but that didn't stop their entry from being a huge streaming hit on Spotify. 'On My Way' currently has over 33 million streams and is the most streamed Australia Decides song ever.
As well as new artists, many household names returned to the small screen to compete on Australia Decides, especially in the follow-up years, from Australian Idol alumni Casey Donovan, Paulini and Courtney Act to past charting artists like Vanessa Amorosi, Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi and Tania Doko from Bachelor Girl, just to name a few.
3. Unforgettable interval acts
At Australia Decides 2019 we were entertained by an array of artists during the show.
Australian Idol winner Casey Donovan opened the show with an energetic cover of Guy Sebastian's 'Tonight Again', Australia first first-ever Eurovision entry.
Eurovision 2016 runner-up Dami Im performed songs off her EP 'Live Sessions' which included a stunning rendition of her Eurovision song 'Sound of Silence'.
After reaching the quarter-finals of America's Got Talent, everyone's favourite German the incredible Hans, also took to the Australia Decides stage with his Eurovision medley which made for unforgettable viewing!!
These performances paved the way for international acts to travel Down Under and perform at the follow-up Australia Decides shows.
Eurovision 2015 winner Måns Zelmerlöw, along with Eurovision Executive Jon Ola Sand, made their way to the Gold Coast in 2020. Måns Performed his Eurovision-winning song 'Heroes' and a lovely duet with Dami Im.
In 2022 Eurovision 2019 televote winners KEiiNO were the Australia Decides special guests performing a cover of Kylie Minogue's 'On A Night Like This'.
4. Kate Miller-Heidke gave us one of the biggest Eurovision glow-ups
'Eurovision - Australia Decides' 2019 became known for its showdown between Kate Miller-Heidke with her pop-operatic song 'Zero Gravity' and Electric Fields with their dance banger '2000 and Whatever'.
However, Kate's huge vocals and gigantic dress with the "dementor" flapping behind her, took Kate over the line, winning both the jury and televote at the inaugural Australia Decides.
Kate's next hurdle was representing Australia at Eurovision 2019, and she had a huge plan!
The ambitious artist trained with Melbourne-based company Strange Fruit to sing on a “sway pole” to essentially be a “vision of wheat swaying in the breeze”. Along with Kate's stunning dress by Steven Khalil which took over 100 hours to make, 'Zero Gravity' transformed into an unforgettable performance never before seen on the Eurovision stage!
The risk paid off. Kate won the Eurovision semi-final, the second time ever for Australia, and finished in the top 10 in the Eurovision Grand Final. Kate also won the prestigious Marcel Bezençon Award in the Artistic Award category.
Sheldon Riley would also go on to do the same when he won Australia Decides 2022 with his song 'Not The Same'. Sheldon recreated his whole national final performance, "letting the light in" to create the epic staging he presented in Turin at Eurovision 2022.
5. The "Australia Decides Legacy"
Australia Decides has cemented itself as a stepping stone within Eurovision, leaving a legacy, with many people involved with the competition taking part in Eurovision national finals and the Eurovision Song Contest itself.
Here are all the artists, performers and songwriters who were involved with Australia Decides 2019 who have gone on to have their own Eurovision journey:
The Voice Australia winner Alfie Arcuri, who competed in Australia Decides 2019 finishing in 5th place with the song 'To Myself', went on to co-write Cyprus' Eurovision 2020 song 'Running' for Sandro. He then competed in San Marino's national final 'Una voce per San Marino 2023' with his self-penned ballad 'Collide'. Alfie finished outside of the top 10 but won the 'Premio Della Critica' (the Critics) award for the night.
Melbourne-based artistic diva Tanzer performed as a guitarist for Ella Hooper's Australia Decides 2019 entry 'Data Dust'. In 2022 she embarked on a Eurovision journey to compete in San Marino's national final 'Una voce per San Marino 2022' where she auditioned.
Singer-songwriter Isabella Kearney co-wrote two Australia Decides songs. 'This Is Not the End' for Mark Vincent in 2019 and 'Together' for Mitch Tambo in 2020. In 2024 Isabella competed in the Irish national final Eurosong with her self-penned track 'Let Me Be the Fire'. She finished in 6th place.
Australia Decides 2019 runner-up Electric Fields got the opportunity to be Australia's jury spokesperson in the Eurovision 2019 Grand Final.
After Australia Decides 2022, two other artists realised their Eurovision dreams: Andrew Lambrou represented Cyprus, while Voyager was internally selected to represent Australia. Both competed together at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool.
There is no denying the impact the Aussie national final has had on the Eurovision brand in Australia, with artists and within the Eurovision fan community. We got some members of the Aussievision team to share their thoughts on Australia Decides five years on.
Comments from Mark
Australia Decides is one of the few moments in recent memory that I remember feeling proud to be Australian.
I will never forget the energy in the GCECC when Electric Fields performed '2000 and Whatever'. Everyone knew every word - in Aṉangu language! The shock and joy on Zaachariaha and Mikey’s faces during their interview immediately afterwards was spine-tingling.
I was agape when Kate Miller-Heidke’s stratospheric tower dress and sky-high dementor rolled onto the stage. It was visionary and whimsical and virtuosic and instantly iconic. Here was a real-deal musician part of the fabric of the Australian creative industry coming to play on our turf and taking it seriously.
And the lineup was a veritable who’s who of Australian music and entertainment stalwarts - Tania, Ella, Courtney - accompanied by newcomers like Leea Nanos or Aydan getting a prime-time opportunity on a national stage.
Oh, and we got to hear robbed queen Dami Im sing Sound of Silence on Aussie soil, which should rightfully have been the opening act of Eurovision on the Gold Coast in 2017!
Most special to me is how Oz Decides was the vehicle that got more of my friends invested in Eurovision. They cared about these artists, many of whom had been fixtures on gay men’s playlists for years, and they wanted to be there to see them - and meet them. It’s wild to me that one could bump into a bonafide pop idol in the foyer (or on the dance floor at the Flamingo afterwards!)
Comments from Dale
I could write an essay on the incredible experiences and opportunities 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' gave me, but ultimately my greatest memories of those years were all of us fans coming together.
Australian Eurovision fans work harder than anyone - we travel further, spend more, get up early and love this contest. And, finally, we had our very own celebration!
It was a chance to watch and vote on the amazing talent that we have. It was a chance for us to all party together in one place (despite the rain!) and it was the only real opportunity that most of the Aussievision team had to get together and celebrate the work we do and meet each other. I loved it so much and just want it back!
Comments from Kyriakos
I took my partner to the Australia Decides 2019 show and we had a blast. For the first time when it came to Eurovision I felt like I belonged, I found my people, and it was amazing.
I was all behind Electric Fields to win. I will never forget stamping my feet and cheering along with many others in the crowd after their performance with the whole arena giving them a rousing reception. Their performance worked in the arena, maybe not so much on TV, which is what matters.
With Kate's performance, I remember thinking when I first saw it, oh my she's doing 'La Forza' and that was only done last year at Eurovision. In the end, I was happy with Kate's win, When we left the show to catch the tram hoards of people were all sinning "ze-ze-ze-zero gra-gra-gra-gravity" in unison. That gave me chills and I knew we selected the right song for Australia.
In the following years, I got the amazing opportunity to go to Australia Decides as part of Aussievision and meet many Eurovision friends. I also got to track down my favourite Eurovision artist Måns Zelmerlöw while he was having a coffee in the Gold Coast on the main street and we had a nice little chat.
We truly miss Australia Decides and we hope it makes a comeback again one day!
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