Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022 has kicked off on the Gold Coast with their rehearsal show, where 11 acts took to the stage in an untelevised jury performance. They were loud, brash, in your face, and some on fire.
Our team was on ground to watch the performances both on screen and in stage and have provided their opinion on what they’ve seen.
Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022: Jury Show first reactions
G-Nat!on – “Bite Me”
Sebastian: Wearing complimentary shades of purple cheetah print, G-Nation were fiercely girl power. The sextet are tightly choreographed but equally sharing the stage, with their identifiable personalities projected on screen behind. The chorus drops straight into a dance choreography not unlike something seen by Fifth Harmony, but with a far more urban feel. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but the harmonies are on point and it’s a solid package. The combination of purple and the black staging does swallow the girls a little, but their personalities do outshine their camouflaged appearance. It’s a great opener to the show.
Erica Padilla – “To The Bottom”
Antranig: She won the TikTok wildcard spot with her voice and she used the same weapon to win our hearts in tonight’s show. The staging was minimalistic, which was all it needed to be, allowing Erica’s vocals to take centre stage. Erica looked dazzling in blue, channelling some Jessica Mauboy as she took centre stage. Some of the camera angles were a bit off but that can all be sorted for the live televised show. What matters most is that Erica herself delivered a flawless vocal performance and this could slowly creep up the leaderboard on Saturday night.
Seann Miley Moore – “My Body”
Sebastian: The first to use the LED backdrop effectively, reflecting a moon and water, Seann is draped in a golden sheath reminiscent of a Greek goddess. LEDs then project a Segey Lazarev style mirroring, with 6 Seanns projected in his surroundings. As Seann walks, his movements are tracked by a a beautiful rainbow fabric print. Seann’s consummate professionalism is in full display, and rescues what is a song that, at least aurally, doesn’t quite punch in it’s recorded version. This is the definition of ‘don’t listen to it on Spotify, watch the performance’. His performance may not rescue the song, but it does a good job in showing it at its best.
Charley – “I Suck At Being Lonely”
Antranig: Nobody conveys emotion quite like Charley. “I Suck At Being Lonely” might not be the first song that comes to mind when you think of Australia Decides but Charley’s performance was worth writing home about. This was personal, genuine and raw, with Charley selling the song perfectly. The performance and staging was intimate — Charley makes you forget the rest of the world for three minutes and draws you into her atmosphere. “I Suck At Being Lonely” may not be the most dynamic of songs, plodding along for three minutes without many peaks and troughs but Charley’s performance delivers that, turning what I thought might be a routine journey into a memorable vacation. This is its own moment and it should be appreciated for exactly what it is.
Andrew Lambrou – “Electrify”
Sebastian: Andrew’s staging is certainly not surprising for the genre “Electrify” is – take one part “She Got Me”, and one part “Dance You Off”, but turn up the sexy by a few notches and make it all red. He reveals a black singlet underneath a trenchcoat, as his backup dancers grind all over him. It’s surprisingly better than I expected, and while Andrew definitely channels more the kind of dance moves you see danced at 11pm in a dark nightclub, rather than slick choreography, it’s a polished package none the less. Some obvious nerves will no doubt dissipate by the time of the live show.
Sheldon Riley – “Not The Same”
Antranig: The ending of this performance is, in my opinion, the best moment of tonight’s show. Sheldon performs wearing a mask and by the end of the song, the mask is shed and a butterfly emerges from a cocoon. That moment gave me goosebumps and it delivered the beautiful message of the song perfectly. The lighting wasn’t great for the performance and it felt a bit too dark at times, but hopefully that will be rectified before the live show on Saturday night. There isn’t much going on on stage, with Sheldon standing in front of a series of fans but Sheldon is the main focus and it allows him to stand out. All in all, this was my clear favourite coming here and that hasn’t changed — I just want a few minor tweaks to make it absolutely perfect.
Paulini – “We Are One”
Sebastian: Is there such a thing as Australian schlager? Well, apparently Paulini invented a new genre tonight. It’s been about 20 years since Paulini struck fame on Australian Idol’s first season, and tonight’s performance reminds us that she is a vocal powerhouse that effortlessly delivers any line and emotion. She’s draped in gold and hugs her body beautifully, and she is surrounded by flag dancers who give the performance movement. It’s a shame the song itself isn’t stronger than what it is, as Paulini has such potential as a vocalist. She does her absolute best with it. “We Are One” is the definition of elevation.
Jaguar Jonze – “Little Fires”
Antranig: What could be better than Jaguar Jonze at Australia Decides? How about setting Jaguar Jonze on fire? The staging here was a unique gimmick, the likes of which I can’t really compare to anything. The first portion of the song includes some of the best camera angles of the night, getting up close and personal with Jaguar — or at least the top half of her. Then we get to see the rest of her and the girl is on fire — quite literally. A powerful delivery of the final chorus follows, bringing it all together. This song was not among my favourites coming into the contest but the staging has elevated it to heights I never imagined. A lot of thought has gone into this, putting together a fantastic concept and executing it perfectly.
Evie Irie and Isaiah Firebrace – “When I’m With You”
Sebastian: It’s undoubtable that Evie and Isaiah have obvious chemistry, almost to the point where it seems like we’re watching something a little private! It’s a nice, solid song and both are pretty strong vocally. It’s also the best use of colours on staging throughout the night. However, beyond this, the song is a little Andra Chansen at best at Melodifestivalen – a solid pop song but not reinventing the wheel. The strength is their chemistry, and Isaiah’s smooth vocals are a nice familiar reminder on our screens.
Voyager – “Dreamer”
Antranig: There were some lighting issues for the first 20-30 seconds here, leaving us with little more than a black screen to look at. I trust that they will fix that up before the live show tomorrow. Once we could actually see what was going on, this was a proper party. When we interviewed Voyager, they promised us drama and theatrics and that’s exactly what we saw tonight. There were some great camera effects, a lot of energy on stage and the stadium was properly rocking. “Dreamer” definitely stands out in this group of songs, not only because it is such a different genre but also because it was such a high octane performance. If rocking out for three minutes is your thing, you are going to love this performance.
Jude York – “I Won’t Need To Dream”
Sebastian: It’s hard not to love Jude. His smile is absolutely infectious, and his song is one of the ones that actually took the audience to a different world with LEDs. Opening with a classic theatre curtain, Jude plays the piano before jumping on stage and dancing and twirling to the etherealness of his song. On most other artists, you might say to turn it down a little, but you really just want Jude to keep going and feeling his oats. It’s adorable and you can’t help but to feel proud.
Who do you think should win Australia Decides? Who are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!