Jessica Mauboy Australia Semi Final Two Eurovision 2018

Michael Ebeid, the CEO of SBS Australia, has defended Jessica Mauboy after a historian compared her to an escapee from the fictional Wentworth prison.

On Monday John Kennedy O’Connor told RN Breakfast that Jessica’s performance was “dreadful”.

“I think the joke about Australia being in Eurovision is now over,” he said. “There was enormous delight and welcoming when you came in as this once-off special guest. I think your welcome has now been rescinded and I don’t say that with any glee.”

“I’m sorry. I thought, actually, she’d escaped from Wentworth and been let on stage. It was dreadful. She was describing herself in the media as Australia’s Beyonce. Clearly she’s never seen Beyonce.”

The comments come after Jess — one of the pre-contest favourites with the song “We Got Love” — placed 20th in the competition. That left many Australian fans — myself included — in complete shock. The 2014 interval act, who has won over millions with her charisma, kindness and stunning voice, placed fourth in her semi-final.

SBS CEO Ebeid was not amused by O’Connor’s harsh words, and he clapped back on Twitter, saying the “crabby historian” holds “irrelevant” views.

Australia’s worst result

The 20th place finish — the result of coming 12th with juries and last with televoters — is Australia’s worst finish since it began competing in 2015. It also marks the country’s first finish outside of the Top 10.

It’s not all bad news. Looking more closely at the results, there was moderate support by the juries with two countries — Denmark and France — awarding the Australian 10 points each. The televote was more troubling, with “We Got Love” receiving just nine points in total (with those points coming from Malta, Denmark and the United Kingdom).

Paul Clarke, the Australian head of delegation, has nothing but praise for Mauboy, who endeared herself to both press and fans with her natural interviews and overwhelming warmth.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t score higher with the public vote, as by any standards Jessica was one of the best singers of the night,” he said. “I’m very proud of her, she couldn’t have represented us better, and I thank her for her generosity of spirit. In my eyes and the eyes of Australia she was a total winner, a total star”.

As an associate member of the EBU, Australia does not have an automatic spot at Eurovision. Instead it must be invited by the Eurovision host broadcaster to participate ahead of each edition. Time will tell whether Israel extends the offer for 2019, but most pundits assume it’s a given.

What do you think of Australia’s poor result at Eurovision? What went wrong? And do you agree with O’Connor’s comments…and delivery? Let us know in the comment section down below!

Read more Australia Eurovision news

Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

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142 Comments on "Australia: SBS CEO defends Jessica Mauboy against “crabby historian” following 20th place finish"

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Alex
Guest
Come on, most nations have their ups and downs. Portugal took forever to win, and this year they came last in the grand final. Germany got 0 points or at the bottom for the past couple of years and they came 4th. It’s ESC, not the bloody UN! Get over yourselves! Australia is one of the few nations in the world that doesn’t really have any natural enemies, how can anyone honestly say ‘Europe hates Australia’? I spoke to an Australian after the competition saying how basic the performance and song was, and he was like ‘well she didn’t get… Read more »
Lev
Guest

That woman was terrible head to toe. Had she not been backed by the juries and been placed on the weakest semi ever, Australia would have not qualified this year, as it should have not qualified in 2017.

RichUK
Guest
I really enjoyed her live performance, she showed grit and determination, a true performer. The whole message of the song is so relevant right now. Still one of my favourites of all the songs. I agree the position of the song in the final score doesn’t really matter as the quality of the songs this year was very strong in my own opinion. Somebody had to end up 20th with the results, though i am really sorry it had to be Jess. I personally believe she deserved a better score. I am still proud of her. Jess did her best!
sue
Guest

Jessica seems such a nice girl! I really like her but let’s face it..her perfomance was very weak and song was, nothing special

Marx
Guest

The song was great, one of the best pop tunes of this edition, indeed. Her performance during second semi was way better. I think she was very nervous in the final.

Dony
Guest

I’ve been a Jessica fan since she debuted solo. I own all of her albums! That said, this was a mess. Bad vocals, bad outfit, bad staging. Song was cute but generic in the same was UK’s was, but nothing elevated the song. It had potential, maybe a top 10, but after I saw it live I thought it deserved Australia’s worst result

srulik
Guest

it’s ok to come dead last with the televoters/juries. it’s ok to be in the bottom 5. it’s ok to have a good song with good performance get lost in a year packed with good songs and performance. it’s all ok because Jess did her best, no doubt about it. australia should continue to participate as long as broadcasters invite(Israel and Austarlia have good relations so it’s a given they will be invited).
the only thing that was not ok was the dress….Barbara Dex award major contender.

Lordi974
Guest

Mmmmm it would be between Australia, FYR of Macedonia, Belgium and even Austria.

selle
Guest
Most Australians could not care less about Eurovision the entrant and the outcome. This is a total press beat up. Aussies would prefer the press focus on important issues that actually affect them and consider Eurovsion as light entertainment. The press and vacuous talking heads on tv try to push its importance and how there is a good chance of Jess winning. Having said that, I doubt Jessica called herself Beyonce. She’s is quite modest when interviewed. I don’t think she was at her best during the competition and her choreographer, stylist and manager should bear some responsibility for an… Read more »
Azotman
Guest
Bonjour l’Europe, Je suis d’accord avec la majorité des avis sur cette page. Lorsqu’on a un mauvais résultat, on a un sentiment de persécution. Ceci est bien souvent à tort. La chanson de l’Australie n’était pas mauvaise mais le niveau était très relevé cette année. La France a terminé à la dernière place avec Twin-Twin et je me suis dit sur le moment “l’Europe ne nous mérite pas !”. On a vu depuis Amir, si la France présente quelque chose d’intéressant, les votes reviennent. L’Allemagne a gagné avec Lena et a fini mal classée par la suite. L’Autriche a gagné… Read more »
Lordi974
Guest

Je partage le même avis. D’ailleurs il tenir compte de nombreux facteurs (actualité politique, pays sélectionnés, mise en scène, promotion en Europe avant le concours). En 2016, j’ai la conviction que l’Ukraine allait gagner vu le conflit avec la Russie et ce peu importe la chanson. Ou du moins battre la Russie. Ce dernier par contre est condamné à perdre tant que le régime restera autoritaire. Le mot d’ordre parmi les fans est de ne pas la laisser gagner.

esc1234
Guest

French are so pretentious that even in an english website they write in french. Lol get over the fact that english is the globla language, french are not

Lordi974
Guest

So what? Is that forbidden to speak French. I was answering to Azotman. Moreover, French is with English one of the 2 official language of Eurovision so NO it’s not a problem to speak French here a website about Eurovision, unless the admin sent us a warning. Sorry if French is not a “globla” language according to you.

Richard Hunter
Guest

Historians never seem to say anything intelligent when they’re asked to comment on contemporary events.

Tommy
Guest

Australia needs to stop talking it personal….all countries experienced some great and bad results……you cannot always do great….and not with a bad song…..i enjoyed the song, but im not surprised it did so badly…..and it doesnt mean anything bad abt jessica! It was very good year……and this song didnt stand out…..yes…it seems.like juries always put australia a bit up in their votes…
But come one…there were 43 countries! U came 20th!!!!

selle
Guest

Australia isn’t taking it personally – this is just media over-exaggeration and speculation. Actually the media hype probably put too much pressure on her which clearly didn’t help. Most Aussies wish Jessica well and don’t mind if we compete or not.

Apple
Guest

For the televise, you only get points if you finish in the top 10 for a country’s televoters, right? So between Australia, Cyprus, Israel, and Finland, it woupd be crazy for them all to do consistently well. It’s.a sad fact, but if every country’s televoters had her 12th just like the juries she would have received 0 televotes. I don’t think doing poorly with televoters means much

Azotman
Guest

Bonsoir à tous,
Le peuple européen s’est exprimé (dernière et 26e place au télévote), c’est l’heure de dire au revoir à l’Australie. C’était sympa, mais leur truc c’est plus le rugby et les kangourous. 4 années de suite ça suffit, pourquoi ne pas inviter un autre pays la prochaine fois, Chine, Etats-Unis, Mexique, Afrique du sud, Mongolie…
Ils n’ont qu’a s’organiser un concours avec la Nouvelle-Zélande, les Samoa, Fidji, Tonga, Japon, Indonésie. En plus, ils auraient moins de problème de décalage horaire ! Merci, Merci d’être venus et… au revoir.
Bisous.

Radek
Guest

Complètement d’accord avec toi!
Totally agree with you!

Lordi974
Guest

Un concours asiatique (Eurovision Asia) est en préparation. Je pense qu’ils vont y concourir et quitter le concours original. Je n’ai rien contre l’Australie mais inviter plus de pays (hors-Europe) réduit les chances des pays européens en siphonnant des points.

Kiwicelt
Guest

If she had brought her semi final performance she would have done better, her finals performance was weak and the staging was very poor. Personally I never liked the song but she won me over in the semis just to lose me again in the final. Real shame as I think she was one of the most charismatic performers who knew how to work the audience and stage.

ted
Guest

great pop song, great singer. staged badly and in an unflattering costume.

Koen
Guest

Australia has been overrated even in this edition. Jessica deserved to be 24th, while in 2017 they did not deserve to qualify at all!

Jo.
Guest

This won’t be Australia’s worst result for too long. They will eventually fail to qualify, unless EBU calls SOS jury.

*Edit: Just to point out that she beat Russia, Poland, Serbia and Romania with the public vote in the semi-final, so Europe does not hate Australia, as many probably think.

Anti-Jo
Guest

Shut up you stup!d Italian c*nt! Hope your family die tragically! Your mum is a fu*king wh0re and your dad is a sub human species! No one ask you your opinion b*tch!

Anita
Guest

@wiwibloggs – do you recognize this and do something about it please! I would hope you did more blog-moderation by deleting or blocking, whatever.

David J
Guest

@wiwibloggs, this comment is not acceptable, moderate please! And anyone who has this much of a deficit in human decency or moral fiber should not be allowed to comment again…ever!

Simon H
Guest

How has this comment been allowed to remain????????? come on Wiwibloggs please do something about this urgently, it cannot be condoned

Anth0888
Guest

I strongly suggest wiwibloggs add a ‘report comment’ function – so unacceptable comments can be flagged, so the admin can address misconduct (theres nothing like this at the moment which is surprising), as comments like this are unacceptable.

AngieP
Guest

I don’t think there is any prejudice against Australia. It’s just that they don’t have the best song every year.
Personally, I had my concerns about Australia taking part at Eurovision, but I’m fine with it. Look back at 2016, Australia was 4th in the televote, which means many people voted for Australia. Juries tend to push Australia (which is wrong). People instead don’t care and vote who they like most. They just didn’t like it.

Yankee
Guest
As an American, I see Sweden, UK and Australia’s music scene a few leagues above of the rest of Europe. European music is sh*t and dated and they don’t know it. They are at least 5 years behind America. From the comments below, the Europeans seem to be so smug about their little circus show and worry Sweden, Australia And UK expose how bad they really are. My friends and I are watching the Eurovision the first time this year and it is a perfect drinking game. The things we say about each participating country this year should probably not… Read more »
Caliope
Guest

Just because it is a circus, Europe does not send their top talent to this contest. You fool yourself thinking Europe is 5 years behind, you just are not looking at the right place. Plenty of good artists if you want some recommendations.
Alan walker, kygo from Norway. Martin Garrix and Afrojack from Netherlands. Swedish house mafia. Daft punk and David Guerra from France. Just look it up and one back here after with an educated opinion.

Jo.
Guest

I guess you don’t want to hear the things Europeans say about America too lol.

Yankee
Guest

Sure but America is the leading the music scene in the world so what Euroepan say is just don’t matter. It’s just jealous. Until you can produce something descent then we talk. Hahahaha

Marie
Guest

Troll. Based on your English, I guess that you haven’t even been in the US.

Caliope
Guest

So you watched Eurovision and found your way to an Eurovision blog to post how s*it music is. Right.. You loved every bit of that, bet you even downloaded the Moldavian song

Tilo
Guest

Of course, the jeolousy argument comes up again, as so many times. Hey Davve/Sara you have to step your game. Nobody is buying it anymore. Go to some IKEA store and eat some meatballs with feaces to get some “inspiration”

L'oiseau
Guest

I have to agree with you. It sounds and probably is quite racist. Anyway, I doubt you know anything about the European music scence. Actually, there is not “a” European music scene, there are at least 43 music scenes. So, it is so much richer than the American music scene. Besides what one hears in the States in mainstream radio is extremely poor musically. So, you are in no position to judge European music at all.

Tilo
Guest

Another interesting technique of the Swedish troll, which goes by the names of Denis, Davve, Sara and many others: Inpersonate foreign people to make the same point: Sweden (and its musical colonies) are the empires of the world. The only positive thing is that if this troll spends time behind his cheap IKEA desk, then we are safe… Better than integrating a Nazi camp for which he obviously has tendencies for.

NickC
Guest

I hope she does not win Barbara Dex Award, because Waylon truly deserves that honor….I hope Dutch and Belgian fans who vote primarily for BD award will not overlook their own.

Joe
Guest

If you ask me, it’s Ari’s to lose…

Caliope
Guest

I actually voted Ari lol
But now that you mention it, Waylon was pretty bad too

Truth Teller
Guest

That truly is the only the only contest where he can hope to get some votes.

Jo.
Guest

Waylon, Vanja and Sennek get my vote.

Anti-Jo
Guest

You are a piece of sh*t and you eat sh*t everyday! That is why you only love sh*t!

Jo.
Guest

It’s not me who has that in the mouth lol.

Simon H
Guest

Again another comment that needs removing, are the Wiwibloggs moderators asleep ?????

NickC
Guest

Tough choice indeed. Sennek was pretty bad too.

Alison
Guest

What went wrong? She just wasn’t very good. Simple.
I found that her performance came off as erratic rather than energetic and the song is completely middle of the road.

Truth Teller
Guest

She sucked in 2014 and she wasn’t the best this year. However, this year, I think it wasn’t so much her fault but that awful stage director and whoever wrapped her in that tinfoil sabotaged her. It did not look good. But honestly, it feels pretty unfair that she did worse than the Australian dude last year. He should have ended up so low, not her.

Caliope
Guest

He got a pass last year because it was their first fluke. Europe gives only 1 free chance, then you have to prove yourself
But agree, last year performance was worse

Yodenman
Guest

I love the song…I am not ashamed to say that I have actually downloaded it. However, I have to be honest and say that her staging and indeed vocals were a real mess. She seemed as though there was no structure to the dance routine, too much make it up as you go. She didn’t look at her best either…her stylist should be taken to task over that terrible look. I thought she had rolled out of a nightclub.

Sylvia
Guest

I guess looking back it wasn’t that bad, but in the moment it felt wrong. I wish I had voted for different songs, the show was crazy packed with energy, there was no time to reflect and compare, you kinda just vote for the most impactful song

Andrea
Guest

Her dancing might have not been like Eline’s but she was entertaining to look at. So much postive energy and happiness!

Elin
Guest

Talk about the song and the performance. If she is from Australia doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if they chose to sent a sertan kind of songs if those songs are typical songs people in that country like.

Preuss
Guest

I honestly found Australia and Jessica’s performance one of the best of the night – I don’t know why everyone’s criticizing it so much really. The parts with the drums and then the high note is the highlight for me of ESC 2018, but I’ve always found it weird why they didn’t show that part during the recap…? That this song and performance was ranked dead last by Europe is a shame.

Caliope
Guest

I got love for Jessica, but no love for that song.
Sorry people said that about her performance, very insensitive and hurtful words.
Congrats on sending one of your top talent artist, but get rid of that songwriter

Kim
Guest

This was a really strange entry. I really enjoyed the SF2 performance and thought it was a potential winner, however the Saturday night performance was in a different league. For some reason I didn’t enjoy it and I couldn’t believe how much I was originally looking forward to the performance again.

Tania
Guest

Australia must leave enough with the love between Sweden and them.People are sleeping when its live so a group of people vote for the countries they want maybe they get paid for that(having Sweden always first says alot).Jessica is a sweet girl iam sorry but all the australian singers must know that europe wont vote for them they get the spot of a european country in the final and plus that they get soooooo pussed from juries every year that most fans want to puke over them.EBU wants u only for the money.

Rasmus
Guest

So even if you like Australias song the most, you would not for it because its Australia? why even have a competions then if everyone thinks like that? Then your favourite coutry can send 2 dogs barking and it will get your vote instead.

Elin
Guest

Way are you suggesting Sweden pay Austarala. Why spred such rumor. You don’t think Sweden get enought hate allready? What country are you from?

Another Aussie
Guest

Actually in the televoting this year our favourite song was Israel, last year it was Moldova and in 2016 it was Belgium

Rasmus
Guest

So you guys want Sweden and Australia to not qualify next year BEFORE they have chosen a song? I dont agree on such silly talk. Artists spend a lot of time and money on this and you only vote for a country with a song you dont even like just beacuse you like the country…… thats sad……

Elin
Guest

Dags att hoppa ESC och bara ha mello några år. Önkarr att ingen låtskrivare, koreograf,, dansare, tekniker, osv blandade sig med ESC på väldigt länge. Så jäkla less.
Mello räcker egentligen. Sur idag.

David
Guest

It would be nice yes if they would be punished for being the teacher’s pet. The points they got from the jury vote the last two years is beyond ridicolous. Think about how the other countries feel.

M_K
Guest

I think 20th place [out of 43 countries competing in total] is a fair result for this song. It was nice, but it wasn’t great. The message was very basic and the music lacked some texture and variation, which means that the performance would have had to be spectacular for Australia to make a bigger impression. Jessica is lovely and she’s got personality, but – sorry – she’s not the best dancer and her vocals were a little shaky at some points.

Yaa
Guest

No, # 20 place is not fair enough, she was much lower that that, she came dead lasr in televoting and that says it all! It’s corrupt juries that always push Australia, second year in a row! No other country would have qualified with that act, sorry!

Jordan
Guest

They deserved from tv viewers last place this year and 25 of 26 last year in televoting. Many people saw that EBU baby Australia every year got good draw in semi final, final, and every yeear they are so much overrated in juries points. Same feeling people have for Sweden (because Sweden got only 21 points from televote this year).

Rasmus
Guest

Vote for the song and not the country 🙂

Yaa
Guest

That’s what everyone at home is doing, but not the juries, it seems. There is no negative vote, you only vote- and paying for this-with what you like, and Europe clearly didn’t like this entry, it was mot good enough.

Nathan
Guest

Jessica definitely deserved better! O’Connor is an idiot!

Pollaski
Guest

I don’t think that dress did her any favors, but I overall enjoyed the perfomance. But Eurovision is a tough crowd, and sometimes these things happen.

Anzq
Guest
Just like many here, I really don’t understand what Australia is complaining about. There are many European countries participating that struggle to get televotes every year, and they do not even have the jury support Australia still gets (even if the jury this year was a bit more fair to them). They should be thankful to have qualified to the final every year so far, which is something several European countries can only dream of. If they want to keep participating, they will have to accept that Europeans are not going to vote for them unless they actually send something… Read more »
Grace Cooper
Guest

As an Australian, all Australians I know have said it was a deserved result. The consensus is that it was a mediocre performance with a bad note, terrible staging and a horrendous dress. So I’m not sure where you’re getting the impression that we’re all complaining about it. I have only seen a couple of non-Australians say that this should tell Australians they’re no longer welcome, and, as a result, the delegation and SBS have come back in defence of Australia.

Sabrina
Guest

That can actually be positive for Australia, as long as they notice that they can send things much more exciting to the contest. If it wasn’t for Jessica’s personality (even if her vocals weren’t as good as expected, she found a way to sell it on the semi), they would probably not even qualify to the final this time. The song was very average and the staging wasn’t impressive or ellegant.

esc1234
Guest

i heard somewhere that australians think they are robbed. Well, with that perfomance you are lucky that you are 20th. The word cheesy, is a polite way to describe it…

Christopher
Guest

I love Jessica and the song but the vocals were really bad unfortunately! I watched her dress rehersals and she sounded amazing in the arena but when I watched the broadcasts it was quite painful. I was shocked that Poland didnt get through to the final until I saw it back they also had really out of tune vocals. Very interesting experience to see it both ways this time.

Safiya
Guest

I don’t like the way many people speak about Australian entries – she was 20th and she didn’t get many points. So what? It’s a competition. It happens to everyone. Why do we even talk about it? It seems to me that some people think Australia deserves being in top 10 just because it’s Australia.

Stephanie
Guest

This was the same guy who criticized what Sara de Blue was wearing rather than evaluating her performance when he was a judge in the 1in360 final in San Marino! Jessica’s song was lightyears better than what Isaiah had last year, and I believe Australia is a welcome presence in the contest – their passion for the event is what brought them here in the first place

Melissa J
Guest

I really thought Australia was heading for another Top 10 finish, as I liked We Got Love miles more than Don’t Come Easy from last year. However, this year was very bizarre with televotes: Sweden had one of the best stage shows and it came 4th last with the televote! So perhaps it was just the tough competition this year, or maybe Europe is biased against Australia for sending good songs?

Mark
Guest

That wasn’t a good song tho

David
Guest

No Australia and Sweden had sh*tty songs and were therefore luckily punished by the public, despite being the teacher’s pet. That’s what happened.

Dalth
Guest

Personally don’t think Australia should be in it, Nothing against Australia but from day one i thought it was a stupid idea.I don’t want the EBU turning this into the world song contest, I think 40 odd countries is enough, I miss Turkey and Bosnia get them back in the fold before expanding the contest even farther. Ohh and Slovakia.

Otto
Guest

Don’t get the drama, overall they have a much better track records than most countries. Remember the Netherlands not even qualifying for the Final 8 years in a row? This song was bland, staging crap and voice nothing special. It was still in the Final so stop crying and send a better song next year. Or don’t participate, also fine. In a competition there are winners and losers.

jPod
Guest
I have seen a lot of comments about Australia being robbed, or that we’ve outstayed our welcome. This is false. I’m going to be honest — Jessica Mauboy wasn’t good live. Sure, she had her moments, but her vocals butchered the song. I saw the rehearsals, read the press reviews, and watched both televised jury shows — Jessica didn’t give a good performance. In fact, a number of the press in the press centre squirmed and put their hand to their mouths out of shock during Jessica’s attempt to hit the high notes. However, I will admit that she gave… Read more »
Dalth
Guest

Yeah the performance wasn’t great and the dancing was pretty special lol but probably didn’t deserve last place in televote.

Christopher
Guest

You summed it up perfectly!

Burger
Guest

it was one of those years it could come sixth or twenty sixth depending on what side of bed some of the juries got out of as well as what else is on the stage on the night.

Of course the 11 thousand or so will be wild with applause but they’re less than 1% of the viewers on the television who might have seen something completely different.

Australia’s song cried out for a dancer or two, remeber Sofi Marinova from 2012 anyone?

NickC
Guest

I think it is all staging. She looked below par compared to Eleni/SJB, who obviously put lots of thought, time and money into staging.

Kyler
Guest

It was also SJB who staged Australia

NickC
Guest

Oh, I did not know that! Then SJB obviously was given a larger budget for Cyprus.

Albert
Guest

I am still against Australia being on Eurovision. This is one of the reasons why people do not take the contest seriously. It has been two years in a row that Australia is last in televoting; that might mean something. Australia should retire be able to perform as an interval act in the SF, but that is all.

Rasmus
Guest

I think Australia should be in beacuse they have been fans since the 70s. China,Usa,Canada,Kazakstan i dont want to join. They dont have any relations like Australia does. They did good the first 2 years because they had great songs and singers. Every country have a setback. its normal:)

Grace Cooper
Guest

Yet in 2016, we came 4th in the televote, so I don’t think there’s much anti-Australian sentiment (i.e. you’re on your own, mate). We just sent two rubbish songs in 2017 and 2018.

Heather
Guest
Seems to me that to do well at Eurovision, the act has to be either pure class or pure kooky. We did well with the pure class with Dami Im (well staged, costumed and classy singer). In the last two performances though, Australia has played it safe with a bland song, non-inspiring vocals, and a poorly staged performance. Despite being personally lovely, it was hard for Jess to compete against the slick staging , dancing and gimmicks of other competitors. The performance really didn’t measure up in these areas by comparison. So, the producers need to take this on board… Read more »
ESCviking
Guest

Her vocals were off, that’s why she got 20th place.

Darren
Guest
You win some, you lose some. The same countries can’t get the same good results every year just because of who they are. The 2018 contest really changed that and it honestly felt more refreshing. In 2018 we also had Azerbaijan, Russia and Romania lose their qualification streak, while Armenia and Poland also failed to qualify after 4-5 years of qualification success. I dont see why people are making a big deal out of Australia falling out of the top 10 and not connecting with televoters. It was a ridiculously strong year, most of the Top 10 came from Semi… Read more »