Earlier this week Montaigne confirmed that she and the rest of Australia’s Eurovision team will not be traveling to Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. And now, in an Instagram live chat, the “Technicolour” singer has given a fuller explanation.
“SBS hired an independent risk assessor to try and figure out if it would be safe for me and the delegation to go overseas from Australia,” she said. “Ultimately they said it wasn’t. It was their job to find any kind of option that made sense for us to go and they couldn’t.”
She stressed that she doesn’t have any animosity toward the broadcaster, which, like everyone else, is operating during an unprecedented global crisis. Their goal — and Montaigne’s — is to protect not only themselves, but also their fellow Australians.
i regret to inform you all that i will not be travelling to rotterdam for eurovision this year. I WILL still be participating remotely. we will send my performance of technicolour from australia. #SBSEurovision #ESC2021 pic.twitter.com/bifSTfr4jC
— Montaigne (@actualmontaigne) April 20, 2021
“I have seen a few people sort of coming off a bit mean to SBS. Obviously in their eyes it is SBS that is depriving me of the experience when the truth is it’s a pandemic and Australia doesn’t have any Covid cases at the moment.”
“We wouldn’t want to bring anything back — that would absolutely suck…it would suck to be the people who, like, brought coronavirus back to Australia. There are so many situations that could have gone wrong…in the process of going to Eurovision, rehearsing and going to the hotel.”
Australia has won plaudits for its tough restrictions which have kept Covid cases down compared to Europe. It shut its borders to non-residents on March 20 of last year and instituted a mandatory two-week quarantine for returning residents a week later.
According to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, which has been tracking cases from the very start, Australia has confirmed just under 30,000 cases and around 910 deaths since the pandemic started. Compare that to The Netherlands, which has recorded more than 17,000 deaths and around 1.5 million cases.
Australia’s population is around 25 million, making it larger than The Netherlands, which is home to around 17 million people.
Paul Clarke, the Creative Director in the delegation and Director of Blink TV, told Ausssievision:
“We are hugely disappointed, we worked so hard to make it happen and look at a pathway where we could be safe…It’s been a mutual decision with the network, our production company and Montaigne and her management.”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Head of Delegation told the Australian site:
“We’re incredibly sad… mainly for Montaigne, two years in a row she doesn’t get that chance to have that experience.. .There’s no one reason, you can’t pin it on any one reason, we did an extraordinary amount of work… (we looked at) what are the challenges we need to overcome…. and there was quite a number of challenges to get from this side of the world to the other side of the world in the middle of a global pandemic.”