Montaigne for Eurovision 2021 is the right decision
March was a tough month.
COVID-19 has brought much of the world to a standstill and of course we received the news that Eurovision 2020 was cancelled outright.
The fallout of that announcement has been, understandably, huge.
Questions from fans and delegations were coming in thick and fast...
Would the artists be able to compete?
If so, can they send the same song?
Will there be national finals next year?
Who will go to Eurovision for Australia?
In time the EBU clarified that 2020 songs would not be eligible, but the artists were very much welcome back.
Some national broadcasters quickly confirmed their 2020 artists would be returning including: Austria, Belgium, Spain and The Netherlands and many more.
So what would Australia do?
Well there were a few more elements at play here.
Firstly all but two acts (Ukraine and Israel) announced to represent their nation again were internal selections.
Other nations like Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania already indicated that they would be hosting their national finals again, particularly as many of these have long histories and are events in their own right.
Australia was just two years into 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' and building some momentum with the show. It was also sponsored with contractual funding from Tourism Queensland the City of the Gold Coast.
Obviously this all needed to be taken into consideration.
However with a strong will from both the public and Montaigne herself, SBS have come to the right decision to choose her to represent Australia at Eurovision.
The cancellation of the contest has been tough for everyone but the artists themselves are the most impacted. Fans and delegations can always come back next year, but for artists who may have waited their whole lives to compete, that is no guarantee.
Add in their time commitment to the contest and the loss of a 200 million audience to promote their work.
Montaigne is a unique and talented artist who has already won over the public with the co-written piece with DNA, 'Don't Break Me', and she will be an excellent representative for us.
(She also promised us a 'keepy-uppy' soccer interview with her in Rotterdam, so we're holding her to that!!)
No doubt, with time on her hands, she will be able to produce something just as, or even better than the 'Australia Decides' winning song of 2020.
Which leads on to 'Australia Decides', it has been cancelled for 2021, and is that the right decision?
In my opinion... yes.
'Eurovision - Australia Decides' is a "destination event" with thousands travelling to the Gold Coast to watch a live arena performance from 10 artists and guest performers.
With Montaigne as our only artists this type of show can not be replicated, and it would be difficult to keep the same level of sales, travel and interest in the show without it in its full capacity.
This would have been a tough decision for Blink TV and SBS who have had grand plans for how the show can continue to grow and be a showcase for up and coming and established artists to have Australia's biggest live TV music showcase.
We won't lie and say we're not disappointed to lose another live event, but we totally understand why the decision needed to be made.
Many have called for the public to choose a song for Montaigne in a specific show for her, much like Romania and Israel did for their artists.
That is definitely a possibility, but it would still be too hard to do it in the same way 'Australia Decides' was put together.
If it does happen it's more likely to be a TV studio with a much reduced audience (if at all).
So what about Dami Im? She had declared her intention to go for Eurovision 2021.
Unfortunately for Dami she will have to put this on hold. But we've all been patient since 2016, so as Johnny Logan would say, 'What's Another Year?'.
None of this has been ideal, but we live in less ideal times.
We support the decision by SBS and Blink TV and believe not rushing announcements has been the right approach.
There is of course always time for more announcements on how the entry will be chosen, and what programming we will have in May this year, but in the mean time let's celebrate having the wonderful Montainge represent us in 2021.