As the two nations that technically have no geographical claim to being in Europe (along with Armenia and Cyprus and maybe Georgia and Azerbaijan but all of those have some claim depending on where you draw the boundary line), Israel and Australia make up my penultimate post… and this means I’ll have done every nation in semi 1 before the results tonight. Belarus and the host nation will finish us off tomorrow.
Australia – Isaiah Firebrace – Don’t Come Easy
First off, I am using Isaiah’s surname as it is a pretty awesome surname and I have no clue why he isn’t using it in his bid for the title, it would stand out in the memory so much more than yet another Eurovision mononym. Even Eurovision artists aren’t special enough to have themselves and only themselves associated with the name, I mean, Isaiah here has Jewish prophets to contend with, appropriate, given the nation I’m doing in this post with him.
Anyway, any fans of the contest will have accepted that by now, Australia are probably here to stay as a participant, following their invitation to the contest in 2015 as a ‘one-off’ for the sixtieth anniversary, like that was a special number and it wasn’t just the contest looking to expand and bring in the nation that outside of Europe most regularly watched the contest. And hell, I’ve supported it, Australia is a nation that makes some good music and I like the Australians, they’re mostly lovely people. Not that it’s helped my home country’s struggles at all. I really thought Tonight Again was a bit of a bop and while I wasn’t enamoured by Sound Of Silence as much as most people were and I’m incredibly glad 1944 won over it, it would have felt a little ridiculous for Australia to win on try two and 1944 was far more meaningful to Europe as a continent, it was still a well sung song.
As is Don’t Come Easy to be fair, but while it is well-sung, that’s the most positive thing I can say about it. Isaiah has a good voice, it’s really rich and I appreciate that, but the song itself is not that interesting and he just drawls his way through it without any particular excitement. It’s similar to Beautiful Mess in that I’m just not interested in the song, but I think Isaiah is a better singer than Kristian so I like it a bit more than that. Still, by some distance Australia’s worst entry so far.
Will it qualify? Now that’s a hard question to answer. Australia haven’t really been tested on a semi-final stage before and naturally they have no particular allies or close friends that might vote for them besides the UK… possibly, we probably have a one-way interest in them. Sound Of Silence had no trouble qualifying because it was a showstopper, this will not be, and it’s on fairly early. Yet, I have to conclude that this sort of sound will stand out quite well and so I think it’s likely that Australia will have no problem, I’m not ruling out the possibility that they will go down in a fiery brace… er… blaze, but they should be fine. Isaiah can sing and that’ll get the juries on side. I don’t expect it to quite repeat their last two performances in the final but it should be a decent midtable.
Israel – IMRI – I Feel Alive
After a bit of time at the start of the decade where Israel could not qualify no matter what they sent, even when it was fairly good like with Same Heart, but if you remember 2015, like with their fellow non-qualifiers Latvia, they turned it around. Yet while Latvia went the alternative pop route, Israel embraced the party route and sent out Golden Boy, one of a few upbeat tracks in 2015 that got them a top 10 after so long away. They followed it up with a ballad that was fairly boringly sung, but Hovi Star was an entertaining guy to look at and so tanned guys singing their heart out seems to be what Israel is providing us right now.
It continues with IMRI (who also could use his last name although it’s not as noticeable as Isaiah to me as Imri isn’t a name I know English speaking people to use), who has provided us with a huge dance tune that has somewhat passed me by in the runup, despite the fact that I’d probably like it if I continued to listen to it, it’s a little generic dancepop but it’s generic dancepop from the early part of the decade in style and in a music scene that’s downbeat as 2017, anything like this is welcomed. I don’t think it’s going to be a favourite, but that breakdown is really something, it builds and gets more urgent, it doesn’t have the smash I want but it gives a fairly good job of it and I imagine this being quite rousing when it’s actually performed.
Ever since Golden Boy, Israel are no longer poison so most predictions I’ve seen have this going through and I’d be inclined to agree, like with their partners in Eurovision performance crime Latvia, they’re also closing the semi this time around and this will be quite a big closer. It’s coming at the end of an 18 song semi but it isn’t a snoozefest of a track and so should be just fine to go through in about 5th and do decently in the final. No reinventing the wheel with this track but it’ll bring some fun and that’s all I ask sometimes.