The 20 Australian Eurovision highlights of 2020
The Song Contest may have been cancelled in 2020 but that didn't mean we didn't have a lot of Eurovision related highlights of 2020.
Today we're looking back at 20 Australian specific highlights of the year:
20. New Music from Australian Eurovision artists
The great thing about artists representing the nation or competing in Australia Decides, is that they join the collective Eurovision family. We get to know them and their music more and they get our continued support after they've performed. In what was a tough year for artists, they still put out some great music that we lapped up. A few highlights:
Guy Sebastian released a new single 'Standing With You' which No.10 in Australia and won an ARIA for best video as well as his album 'T.R.U.T.H' which went no.1
Kate Miller-Heidke released the album 'Child in Reverse' which reached no.9 on the ARIA charts
Dami Im released four singles including 'Paper Dragon' which was touted to be her Australia Decides entry of 2021
Electic Fields released a single with KEiiNO (televote winner at Eurovision 2019) 'Would I Lie', this was recorded during KEiiNO's tour of Australia in 2019
Sheppard released a single for every month of 2020 ('Symphony a stand out) and performed at the AFL Gran Final
Jaguar Jonze released two original songs after Australia Decides 'Deadalive' and 'Murder' and won Triple J's Unearthed Artist of the Year
Didirri released an seven-song EP called 'Sold for Sale’ which featured 'Raw Stuff' and new song 'The Critic'
Anja Nissen released her first single since 2017, 'If We Only Had Tonight'
Plus a huge range of covers including: Mark Vincent doing 'Dance Monkey', Mitch Tambo's 'Absolutely Everybody', Jaguar Jonze covered 'Toxic', Electric Fields did 'From Little Things, Big Things Grow' and more!
19. The Joy 949 and OGAE Australia Eurovision Top 100 Countdown
In what is now becoming an annual tradition, Melbourne's Queer radio station Joy 949 joined up with the official Australian fan club OGAE Australia to present the Top 100 Eurovision songs as voted by their members.
The event was a huge success with #EurovisionTop100 trending across Australia with huge engagement from fans.
This year Loreen's 'Euphoria' toppled 2019 winner Dami Im with KEiiNO in third. You can see the full results here: https://ogaeaustralia.com/the-ogae-australia-eurovision-top-100-2020/
18. Conchita toured Australia
Back in February, 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita toured Down Under performing with cabaret star Trevor Ashley and special guest Kate Miller-Heidke in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
17. Montaigne's Eurovision Home Concert
As part of the virtual experience of Eurovision 2020, the organisers got artists who were meant to be competing to take part in a series of home concerts. For her appearance, Montaigne covered 'Repondez-moi' by Gjon's Tears who was representing Switzerland. Montaigne, who is a French speaker, did the difficult song justice.
16. Dami Im wins 'Eurovision Again'
Eurovision Again was an event set up by Eurovision journalist Rob Holley to bring fans together during lockdown to relive old Contests. The EBU quickly got involved and it continued throughout the year. Although it was difficult to get up early on a Sunday morning each week, we definitely checked out the 2016 showing and was thrilled when Eurovision fans from across the world voted Dami Im the winner. Justice!
15. A week of replayed Eurovision contests from SBS
Speaking of Eurovisions again, in the week that should have been Eurovision, SBS treated fans with five days in a row of televised contests from 2015 to 2019. We got to relive the commentary of Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang, Dami almost winning, Joel Creasey calling the stage invader and "absolute cockhead" and we all got #SBSEurovision trending across Australia as it should! Additinally here at Aussievision we ran a vote each day with Aussie Eurovision fans and here were the results:
14. Australia won AI Eurovision!
After finishing runner-up at the main Contest and 3rd at Junior Eurovision, Australia finally won a Eurovision title... well sort of!
The first ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) Song Contest featured 13 teams from eight countries and was held in May by Dutch public broadcasters. The Australian team 'Uncanny Valley' were a Sydney-based production studio who worked with a team of computer scientists from RMIT University and the University of New South Wales.
Their entry 'Beautiful The World’ was created by training a neural network on audio samples of the calls of Kookaburras, Tasmanian Devils, and Koalas, as well as a pool of 200 Eurovision songs (you might be able to hear the influence of works such as ‘Ding-A-Dong’ and ‘Monsters’ in the song’s lyrics).
13. Eurovision star almost wins The Voice Australia
Johnny Manuel took part in Eurovision 2018 as part of Bulgarian act Equinox and their song 'Bones'. In 2020 the American rocked up to 'The Voice Australia' auditions as he now calls the Central Coast in New South Wales home with his partner. His audition caught the eye of the judges and he went all the way to the final finishing runner-up to Guy Sebastian's brother Chris.
12. Alfie Arcuri gets an entry into Eurovision
Australia Decides 2019 star (and former The Voice winner) Alfie Arcuri may not have competed this year but still got an entry into Eurovision 2020. How? As a songwriter he composed the entry for Cyprus called 'Running' to be performed by Sandro. We hope to see Alfie back at Australia Decides or another song of his at Eurovision in the future!
11 Jaguar Jonze's epic performance at Australia Decides
Australia Decides this year saw a more "indie Triple J" vibe with artists like Montaigne, Didirri and Jaguar Jonze. Jaguar made a huge impact with fans with her explosive (literally, the walls came down!) and unique performance in the national final (where she also dislocated her shoulder during the performance). Legend!
10. Mitch Tambo brought Indigenous language to our screens
"Ngiyanibala bumay / Ngiyanibala bumay /Ngiyanibala garigari!"
For the second year running, Australia Decides featured not only Indigenous artists but also Indigenous language on stage. This year Mitch Tambo's song 'Together' combined both English and Gamilaraay.
In addition to Mitch's language contribution, it must be noted that Jessica Mauboy and Electric Fields also made strong statements earlier in the year about Indigenous recognition.
It was also great to see these three artists recognised and nominated for Deadly Awards during the year.
9. Dami Im and Måns Zelmerlöw perform together
Australia Decides was treated to some special performances this year. Fans delighted in seeing a Eurovision winning song performed on stage live when Måns did 'Heroes', however an even more impressive moment was seeing our Eurovision Queen up on stage beside him in a duet of 'Walk Along'. After performing together Dami then went on to announce she would be competing in Australia Decides 2021. With that event no happening in 2021 we hope to see her back in 2022!
8. Vanessa Amorosi's staging at Australia Decides
Without a doubt, Vanessa Amorosi had the most impactful staging at Australia Decides. Starting by crawling out of an upturned car, she then proceeds to rip off her clothes and get rained on (by a guy with a spray gun out of shot). An epic performance that saw her finish 3rd.
7. Jon Ola Sand at Australia Decides
The real star of the show on the Gold Coast was Eurovision Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand. He made a dramatic entrance (borrowed from Courtney Act's staging the year before!) and got a rockstar welcome. We also got to hear him say "Take it away..." for the last time ever since Rotterdam 2020 was cancelled. An honour for Aussie fans!
6. Kate Miller-Heidke almost wins The Masked Singer Australia
During winter in post-Eurovision-being-cancelled-depression our spirits were lifted with the bizarre TV program 'The Masked Singer'. After the very first episode of clues and voices, Eurovision fans were quickly on to two entrants. Isaiah Firebrace as the Wizard and Kate Miller-Heidke as The Queen. Both were proven correct and although Isaiah went far it was Kate who soared in the contest. Her finale performance was stratospheric and she was absolutely robbed of a deserved victory when she finished runner-up to Bonnie Anderson.
5. THAT Casey Donovan performance
Casey was always the dark horse of Australia Decides. She had won two public votes on shows before - 'Australian Idol' and 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'. After the studio versions of the songs were released not many gave 'Proud' a shot. However her rousing live performance, particularly a barnstorming final minute, saw her take out the public vote and *almost* take out the title.
4. 'We Got Love' performed by Eurovision and Australia Decides artists
During SBS Eurovision week this special version of Jessica Mauboy's Eurovision 2018 was released. It was a perfect song for COVID-19 times and featured Jessica, Kate Miller-Heidke, Isaiah Firebrace, Electric Fields, Courtney Act, Jaguar Jonze, Jack Vidgen and Ella Hooper. It was fun, uplifting and moving and special moment of the year.
It wasn't the only time 'We Got Love' was used in 2020. Back in February as part of the 'Live for Fire Fight' charity concert for the bushfires, Jessica performed the song as her final number. It's wonderful to see her embrace her Eurovision entry like this and for such special causes. Watch the Fire Fight version here from 9:44 in): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dewOd5IM2DQ
3. Montaigne wins Australia Decides
Montaigne saw a huge uptake in blue wigs and ruffles sold across Australia in 2020! Her incredible song, co-written with DNA ('Sound of Silence', 'We Got Love' and 'Don't Come Easy), was done as an impressive one-camera-single-shot performance at the contest. Her "clown aesthetic' became a big talking point during the season and whether you loved it or hated it, it was certainly memorable! We can't wait to see what she comes up with for the 2021 contest.
2. SBS's Big Night In
With no Eurovision Song Contest in 2020, SBS filled the void with the 'Big Night In' on the Saturday of what would have been the Grand Final weekend. Thousands of Australians voted for their favourite songs with Iceland's 'Think About Things' taking out the crown just ahead of Russia's 'Uno'.
But it's this high because of the fun, well research and celebratory atmosphere the show gave in what we already knew were dark times. Artists revealing some local sayings in their language (including topics like rabies, drinking alone and more) gave it the multicultural feel that SBS and Eurovision were always about. Additionally Aussie fans partied hard, dressed up across the nation and had a pretty bloody good Saturday night (compared to early Sunday morning!)
1 The Weekend of Australia Decides
This is dedicated to the ultimate weekend of the year for Australian fans - 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' on the Gold Coast. Thousands of fans from across the country flock together live or at home to celebrate Eurovision, Australian artist and Australia in Eurovision. And then they party afterwards, thank you OGAE Australia for the after-party!
The show this year was incredible from Joel and Myf hosting, to the 10 artists competing, amazing performances from Kate Miller-Heidke, Dami Im and Måns Zelmerlöw, Jon Ola Sand appearing and of course the tight voting.
We may have lost a lot of things this year, but we didn't lose this special weekend and show.
So from the Aussievision team, we thank you all for a great year for Australia at Eurovision and we can't wait for the next few years to come.