It’s the national holiday of Eurovision’s newest member, so to celebrate, here’s a little look at what Australia’s given Eurovision over the years.
But when they’ve only submitted two songs, how can we do a retrospective, you may ask? Well, many Australians have already trod the Eurovision stage, representing another country.
Before we go back some years, let’s see Australia’s official debut entry. That honour went to Guy Sebastian with ‘Tonight again’, and he even received special dispensation and was advanced directly through to the final. Ironically, unlike some of the others you’ll see, he was born in Malaysia. Here’s his performance in Vienna.
Next is a performer who represented the UK, arguably the European country with the closest affinity with Australia. Back in 1996, Gina Gardner sang for the UK in sunny Oslo. Hopes were high, due to the very contemporary nature of the song ‘Ooh aah just a little bit’. The thinking is a televote would have seen this do really, if not win. Sadly, she was up against 22 juries, and could only manage eighth. Was it because she performed second? Or was Europe not quite ready for a minidress made of coins?
Of course, an Australian-born singer has actually won the Eurovision Song Contest. Not once, but twice! A certain Seán Sherrard was born near Melbourne in 1954. When he was three, his musical family moved back to Ireland. In 1980 (at his second attempt) he won the Irish National Final and then won the Contest in The Hague. Not content with that, he came back in 1987 and did the same thing – at a canter – in Brussels. Here he is doing his thing at the Nederlands Congresgebouw. His song starts 50 seconds in.
Europe’s English speaking nations don’t quite have the monopoly on Australia performers. In Athens, the Germans sent the Country & Western outfit Texas Lightning with their jaunty little song ‘No no never’. Lead singer was Jane Comerford, a New South Welshwoman. They exceeded expectations (we’re told) finishing 14th out of 24 songs in the Saturday night final. Here’s a little piece of German/Australian/American history.
This penultimate song didn’t actually represent Australia, but was widely seen as the precursor to their participation. Indigeneous Australian Jessica Mauboy guested in the interval of the second semi-final in Copenhagen. The Australian contingent in the enthusiastic crowd were more than happy to see the “first” Australian entry in Eurovision. Here’s ‘Sea of flags’. Her song starts 2 minutes 10 seconds in.
Finally, the only way to finish is with Dami Im. Like her predecessor, she wasn’t born in Australia, but made her name in the Australian X Factor in 2013. As you’ll know, she almost won in Stockholm, and the voting was very exciting. It seems that after two top 5 performances, the Aussies are here to stay.
Are there any other Eurovision songs with Australian connections? Which of these is your favourite? Tell us what you think.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, Youtube