With the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 all wrapped up, we're now looking ahead to the 2022 contest.
We are exploring Australian artists who we would love to see compete at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' and get their opportunity to represent Australia at Eurovision. We have previously looked at Yolngu rapper and dancer Baker Boy, the Kiwi-born Aussie pop star Ricki-Lee, Australian-Filipino pop artist Sheldon Riley , indie pop artist Jack River and electro duo Empire of the Sun.
Today we look at Anthony Callea, best known as the runner-up of 'Australian Idol' Season 2 in 2004. We look at eight reasons why Anthony Callea would make an outstanding artist to compete at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'!
He can sing in Italian!
It’s always handy if you can communicate with the locals at Eurovision. Anthony’s debut single ‘The Prayer’ was a cover version of the Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion classic which was partly sung in Italian. The song debuted on Australia's ARIA charts at No. 1 and remained there for five weeks.
The fourth single from Anthony’s debut album ‘Per Sempre (for Always) also featured two verses sung in Italian. You’d never know he’s not a native speaker though, despite his Italian heritage. Anthony admits he can understand more than he can speak but nevertheless, he’s capable of singing in Italian like one of the locals.
With Eurovision set to be held in Italy next year, there’s no doubt this would help him win over the local crowds if he was to win 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' with a song including some Italian language.
Anthony Callea is a songwriter
Authenticity was rewarded at Eurovision this year with the top six songs all written or co-written by the artists that performed them. Anthony has a proven songwriting ability, progressing from co-writing one of the tracks from his debut album in 2005 to having co-written all but two of the tracks from his second album ‘A New Chapter’ released in 2006. He also co-wrote two songs from his 2013 album ‘Thirty’ and his two 2020 single releases ‘Shadows’ and ‘Lonely’.
A live television professional
You’ve definitely got an advantage at Eurovision if you have live television experience and 38-year-old Anthony has this in spades. In fact, Melbourne based Anthony is almost a television veteran since coming runner-up on 'Australian Idol' at the age of 21.
‘The Prayer’ became the highest selling single in Australia in 2005 which led to performances at both the Logie Awards and ARIA Awards that year. In 2007 & 2008, Anthony took part in seasons 2 and 3 of the tv show ‘It Takes Two’ where professionals team up with a celebrity from a non-musical field to perform a duet each week. 2010 saw him act as voice coach on Foxtel’s 'Ultimate School Musical: Fame'. In 2016, Anthony finished fourth in Series 2 of ‘I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!’ He also finished 11th on Season 5 of 'Celebrity Apprentice Australia' which has recently finished airing in Australia. Anthony is also a regular performer at Melbourne’s iconic 'Carols by Candlelight' event broadcast live on Christmas Eve each year. In fact, 2020 saw him perform at the event for the 17th year in a row!
He can handle repeat performances and large audiences
Competing at Eurovision means endless rehearsals plus you have to be comfortable performing in front of a crowd. Fortunately Anthony’s 17 year career has included extensive musical and touring performances, meaning he is more than qualified for the role. Anthony has toured with the likes of Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Tina Arena, Westlife and Tina Cousins and has also performed for Luciano Pavarotti and the British and Danish Royal families. He has also starred in major productions of the musicals 'Wicked', 'Rent' and 'Grease' which means he’d handle the grind of countless Eurovision rehearsals and performances with ease.
His versatility sees him appeal to a wide demographic
With his debut single ‘The Prayer’ holding the record for the fastest selling single by an Australian artist, there’s no denying Anthony has a wide fan base which would surely see him do well at Eurovision if he was to win 'Australia Decides'. He is hugely versatile, moving with ease from ballads and opera to pop and is one of only five Australian artists to have had three or more albums debut at #1 in Australian chart history. In 2014 he released a live DVD/CD “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Songs of George Michael” which also debuted at Number 1 on the Australian ARIA charts. In fact just this month, Anthony announced he is touring the show for a second time in Melbourne and all tickets available in the pre-sale sold out in just two hours!
Anthony is also very popular within the LGBTQ+ community, being married to actor/singer Tim Campbell since 2014. The pair married in New Zealand three years before same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia.
A fantastic role model and ambassador
In 2006, Anthony contributed to a compilation album titled “Home: Songs of Hope & Journey” to raise funds for Beyond Blue, a mental health organisation that assists those living with anxiety or depression. He has also worked with various other charities including The Salvation Army, The Starlight Foundation, The Mirabel Foundation and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
He has twice been an ambassador for Vision Australia and recently supported the Victorian State Emergency Service's (SES) 'Wear Orange Wednesday' to thank them for their amazing work. His appearance on 'Celebrity Apprentice Australia' this year saw him select the Children’s Cancer Foundation as his chosen charity -
“purely because I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it’s right that any child should have to live with cancer. They should be able to sing and dance and laugh and be happy like any other child”.
Anthony has also won multiple industry awards including:
2005 - ARIA Awards – Highest-selling single
2005 – Channel V’s Oz Artist of the Year Award
2005 – MO Award – Contemporary Rock Performer
2005 – Variety Club Heart Awards – Young Entertainer of the Year
2005 – Pop Republic Awards – Artist of the Year
2006 – Dolly Teen Choice Awards - Hottest Album of 2006
2006 – MTV Australia Video Music Awards – Coca-Cola Viewer’s Choice Awards
2007 – Australian Gospel Music Awards – Outstanding Achievement Award
Anthony speaks out on important issues
Anthony has been outspoken on many issues, earlier this month calling for the Australian Government to permanently resettle the Murugappan family from Sri Lanka in Australia. You can read more about their story here
He has also spoken out about Australia's pandemic response and his wish for more certainty for the entertainment industry as it tries to recover. In an interview with Sky News Entertainment reporter Samantha Foxon he said,
"the thing is there's no confidence moving forward...I was constantly thinking about musicians that work month to month and they have to pay their rent - and it's not just performers - there's all these crew that work behind the scenes. For me, I look forward to heading out there and supporting great Australian talent and that's one thing I feel as though we all should be doing especially in the coming months to the next year."
A great entertainer
Anthony and husband Tim became known for something other than their day jobs during Melbourne’s series of COVID lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. The couple kept busy making videos of themselves lip-synching scenes from various tv shows including 'Married at First Sight', 'Kath and Kim', 'Ru Paul’s Drag Race', 'Absolutely Fabulous', 'Will & Grace', 'Friends', 'Schitt’s Creek' and the Real Housewives of Melbourne and Beverly Hills. The videos were wildly popular, with the pair even starting their own Isolation Scene Studies YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/c/IsolationSceneStudies
For these reasons, Anthony Callea would be a fantastic artist to watch at Australia Decides and hopefully we will see him at Eurovision one day!
You can find out more about Anthony Callea at -
Official Website - https://www.anthonycallea.com/
Instagram - @anthonycallea
Twitter - @AnthonyCallea