G’day Australia! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — heads down under. After exploring the laneways in Melbourne, we gathered at a cafe and discussed Australia’s entry for Eurovision 2017, Isaiah with “Don’t Come Easy”. Did we take to the song with ease? Or was it a little more difficult to take? Read on to find out!
Isaiah – “Don’t Come Easy”
17-year-old Isaiah Firebrace came to fame in Australia as the winner of the 2016 series of The X Factor. Late last year he released his debut single “It’s Gotta Be You”, which has enjoyed chart success in Europe, including Gold certification in Sweden. Isaiah was internally selected by broadcaster SBS. His song is written by “Sound of Silence” composers DNA.
“Don’t Come Easy” reviews
Forrest: Isaiah joins the illustrious and successful list of Australian Eurovision entries with what is arguably the country’s strongest song to date. “Don’t Come Easy” is not a high energy track, but it burns with drama and intrigue and envelops the listener in its deep, piano-driven melody. Isaiah’s vocals build beautifully with the instrumentation. Admittedly, it seems slightly disingenuous for a 17 year old to be singing about “being burned too many times” in love, but Isaiah’s voice possesses such richness and maturity that it doesn’t matter.
Jason: Isaiah has the unenviable task of following the incomparable Dami Im, whose vocals annihilated the competition last year. “Don’t Come Easy” is a brooding ballad that smoulders beautifully, but ultimately lacks a spark. Australia always delivers on staging and this year will surely be no exception. This may be the first Australian entry to place outside of the top five, but is definitely amongst the best.
Deban: “Don’t Come Easy” is an emotive ballad that tries to deliver range midway, but then holds itself back from slaying. Although the production attempts to move this MOR track into 2017, Firebrace’s age remains the most youthful element in this package. However, hearing this on repeat leaves me limp. Why? It holds no spark.
Chris: Australia’s third entry comes with perhaps less of the gravitas of their previous two. Being under the radar might not be a bad thing for Isaiah though: less pressure on such a young singer can only help. His deep but smooth vocals are charming and he sells the song well. As it is, the song just feels a little too flat — but like Dami last year, his live performance may be where Isaiah turns into a threat.
Josh: Three cheers for my home gurl! It was always going to be a tough gig following Dami’s vocal annihilation in Stockholm last year, but thankfully Isaiah is able to hold his own and will undoubtedly do Australia proud in Kyiv. Isaiah’s voice is silky smooth, and is definitely giving of some serious Sam Smith vibes. This entry exudes quality, expensiveness and memorability. And I’m confident Australia could go three from three top-five finishes with Isaiah.
Robyn: “Don’t Come Easy” is a serious ballad that not many 17-year-olds could handle. But Isaiah can do it. He infuses the song with soul and delivers the grown-up themes of the lyrics with sincerity. The song’s production adds an electronic edge to the classic R&B ballad style, making it much more enjoyable than a lot of other ballads in the show this year. All that’s left is to see what Australia will do with the staging.
William: Australia has quickly established itself as one of my favourite countries at Eurovision. They consistently deliver the performer and the song. Unfortunately this year the song doesn’t quite reach the heights of the singer. Despite its smooth sound and polished finish, “Don’t Come Easy” doesn’t come easy — it plods along and has a drowsy quality despite Isaiah’s undeniable power and soul. The bridge brings the life I crave, but by then I’m already asleep. Thankfully Australia gets staging and will likely elevate this live.
Angus: People draw comparisons to Adele and Sam Smith as though that’s a bad thing. Wake up people, soulful balladry is huge and Australia has nailed it this year. Dami towered last year in her own way and this soars too. Isaiah’s vocal command is impressive. Admittedly we could do without all that finger-wagging in the music video, but Australia have a knack for turning things out on stage at Eurovision, and this should repeat the success they’ve seen the past two years.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3.5 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.61/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!