This year it will be the 7th time in Eurovision history that Australia will be participating in this unique contest. Mostly the Australian contributions have been successful, but the last two years have been difficult. The talented singer Montaigne was not able to travel to the ESC twice, firstly because of the cancellation of the entire contest in 2020, one year later because of the corona pandemic. This year it looks far better, beside of the political circumstances. The Australian broadcaster SBS has held another national final “Eurovision – Australia Decides” from Gold Coast. Out of 11 entries, the Aussies wanted Sheldon Riley to win. Now he is going to be the one, travelling to Italy.
Sheldon Riley was born in Sydney in 1999 and has Scottish-Irish and Filipino roots. At an early age of six he was diagnosed suffering from the Asperger Syndrome. Nevertheless, Sheldon liked to play the piano and composed his own songs at the age of ten. He could celebrate various awards for his roles in school musicals, like “Little Shop Of Horrors”, etc. Sheldon tried to use his singing talent in taking part in several casting shows e.g. X Factor, The Voice Australia, where he made the third place. Here he is singing “Fire” , or performing Madonna’s “Frozen” . He Sheldon even took part in America’s Got Talent, where he could not perform in person because of the corona pandemic.
Beside of his extraordinary voice, Sheldon is known for its extravagant outfits. This is also a method for him to handle his own story, which was not always smooth. That’s what he also reflects in his ESC song “Not The Same”. A very strong message will be told by Sheldon, suffering from bullying at school. It’s hard not being accepted, who you are, because of being different, no matter what it is, look, ethnic, sexuality, etc.. In this respect the outfit with the hidden face in the beginning makes totally sense. Sheldon can be very important icon figure, as the world is still conservative and has a lot of prejudices, even in the year 2022. With this remarkable stage show, combined with Sheldon’s great voice, a good place is guaranteed – this will be awarded by the ESC spectators in the arena and in front of the televisions.
Top 10: 4
This will be the seventh time for Australia actively participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year Montaigne could not make it into the Grand Final of Rotterdam. In 2015 it was announced that this should be a unique exception to have Australia on board in the ESC. It was to be expected that this would be a great benefit to have Australia as an ESC member. It has now been granted that Australia is going to participate at least until 2022. Let’s cross our fingers that it will be extended.
In the debut entry “Tonight Again” by Guy Sebastian, Australia could make a wonderful 5th place in the Grand Final of Vienna. And in the following years Dami Im could even reach a 2nd place, even the juries voted her on #1. This was truly unbelievable and it has increased the general high interest in the Eurovision Song Contest in Australia even more. The 2017 entry “Don’t Come Easy” by Isaiah Firebrace made another Top 10 position (9th rank in the Grand Final of Kyiv).
Even if Australia is another continent far away from Europe, there are strong bounds which have grown over centuries. A lot of Europeans live in Australia or have European ancestors and family and the ESC has always been a very popular TV show, which brought a lot of people in front of their televisions early in the morning, despite of the time zone problem. The Australian TV has been transmitting the ESC since 1974, when the Australian singer Olivia Newton-John took part for the UK. The enormous time difference has never been a problem for the Australians. There is also televoting in Australia early in the morning, but there is always a reprise on Sunday night for those, who prefer to watch in the evening.
Nevertheless, there have already been some well-known Australians singing in the Eurovision Song Contest in the past: Olivia Newton-John born in 1948, who is originally from England, but moved with her family to Australia when she was five years old. In 1974, when ABBA could win the contest for Sweden, Olivia made a great 4th place in Brighton with “Long Live Love” .
An there is Johnny Logan, a guy who has won the Eurovision Song Contest three times for Ireland, two times as a singer and one time as a composer. Johnny Logan was born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1954 as a son of Irish immigrants. His songs “What’s Another Year” in 1980 and “Hold Me Now” in 1987 were very successful all over the world. “Why Me” was sung by Linda Martin in 1992, where Johnny acted as composer.
Gina G., who was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1970, has represented the United Kingdom with the dance song “Ooh...Aah...Just A Little Bit”. This song came 8th in Oslo 1996.
Jane Camerford, who was born Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1959. She has been representing Germany with the band Texas Lightening with “No No Never” in Athens 2006, where a 14th place could be made.
In 2014, Australia had a first guest appearance in the ESC in Copenhagen with this year’s singer Jessica Mauboy, who was born in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia in 1989. She had the chance to represent Australia in the interval act of the Semi Final 2 with the song “Sea Of Flags” . In 2018 she could only reach the 20th place with “We Got Love “
In the case of winning, what would happen to the ESC? Australia lays 10 time zones away from the Central European Time zone, do all the participants have to travel to Australia? The biggest time difference so far could be noted in the ESC’s from Moscow and Baku with 3 hours’ time difference. In this case there is a special rule applying. The Australian broadcaster SBS will be organizing the ESC in the following year, but the event has to stay in Europe. Hence SBS can collaborate with a European broadcaster of its choice. So it could be that the ESC will take place in Germany, UK or any country of choice.