The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 40 competing songs in Eurovision 2022. Next we review Australia, who have chosen Sheldon Riley with “Not The Same”.
Did we all share the same opinion? Read on to find out!
Sheldon Riley – “Not The Same” (Australia Eurovision 2022)
Review: Sheldon Riley – “Not The Same”
Sebastian: If there’s one thing that can be said about “Not The Same”, it’s that it feels uniquely Sheldon Riley. A deeply personal retelling of his struggles, it’s an epiphany and cathartic release that changes the tone of the operatic ballad from one of pain, to one of healing and strength. “Not The Same” is a punchy, well-produced ballad of feels universally felt by many across the globe, packed tightly in three minutes. On the face of it, the solo-man-singing-ballad is a familiar scene in 2022, but Sheldon, both visually and aurally, stands out from the pack.
Pablo: “Not The Same” has a lot of thought put into its lyrics and music, and it’s not short on the pathos, which they need to keep an eye out for so it doesn’t delve into excessive histrionics. Its story-style structure may pose a problem, however, as the song doesn’t hit hard until halfway in. While it’s not a genre I listen to often, it’s a commendable effort. We’ve seen Australia catapult OK entries to an incredibly high level before, and this song has the vocal and substance to be done justice on stage.
Oliver: In visions of Alexander McQueen and Yohji Yamamoto, Sheldon Riley is the fashion icon of the season. The Australian presentation is an entirely intimate experience, sharing a story that every queer youth can relate to. Sheldon’s voice is impeccable; “Not The Same” is crafted to show the full extent of his dynamic range, building to a gorgeous climax in the middle eight. Though slightly repetitive in its lyrics, this only echoes the poignant sentiment: the quietest people must shout to be heard.
Robyn: Here’s the thing – I really like Sheldon and I am in awe of his expressive and powerful voice. But I don’t enjoy “Not the Same”! The performance shows off Sheldon’s voice, but the song lacks hooks and the title lyric becomes a little too repetitive. This is a song contest after all, and it would have been more effective to put emphasis on the song itself, rather than treating it as a “notes get votes” talent show type of act. But I appreciate that Sheldon is putting his heart and soul into the performance and he will surely make Australia proud on stage in Turin.
Natalie: I have so much respect for the message of this song. Sheldon Riley is a young and deeply talented artist. However, I have to completely agree with all the criticisms out there. I’ve never seen a more concrete definition of pretentious. The mask is supposed to represent autism but as an autistic person, the fact that it’s made of jewels seems really tone-deaf to me, and defeats the purpose of the message. The heart is in the right place, but it misses the mark for me.
Australia Eurovision 2022 ranking
In the Eurovision 2022 Wiwi Jury, we have 18 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3.5 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.47/10
What do you think of Australia’s Eurovision 2022 entry? Share your own score and review for Sheldon Riley’s “Not The Same” below!
It hurts being this right.
Sheldon tanked and tanked HARD. His vocals at the start of the final were so off. No wonder nobody voted for him.
The only public votes he got were from Azerbaijan…. And they scammed votes and the EBU modified them!
Australia will do better next year! WE PROMISE (that’s if SBS doesn’t stack the Jury again).
I am Australian, and I really want to get behind our entry, but here’s the thing.. this song is my #38, and I feel nothing. The lyrics and the meaning mean a lot to Sheldon, but to me. I find it the whole song boring and I can’t listen to more than 30 seconds of it. There do seem to be fans of this song, but I am not 1. For me, it’s 1.5 out of 10..
Unfortunately, the initial level of “impressed” I was by all things Sheldon Riley and his actual talent, absolutely fades away every time I listen to this song. It’s pretty dire. It starts off with this dramatic opening, an opening that is clearly the best part of the song and has more drama in it than the actual climax. It’s completely backwards. After this sparse opening, that’s actually quite well-done, the song gives Sheldon no support in terms of interesting instrumental touches, leaving him to do all of the lifting by himself. Unfortunately, his vocal prowess is absolutely held back by… Read more »
Robyn couldn’t be more right.
In fact, this his song should be called: “It’s all the same”
Everything feels forced in this entry. It is difficult to connect when he yells that were not the same 50 times. The forced crying doesn’t help either since he belts again shortly after as if he wasn’t about to break down. Also, the outfit is there purely for the purpose of having a dramatic outfit, it doesn’t add anything
I second this!
stunning song, bags of pure emotion, very gorgeous vocals, maybe the best male vocalist of this year, yes being controversial but i find him better more unique than Sam or Ochman
Sheldon, please post using your own name only!
Bring back Montaigne (I adored Technicolor), this does nothing for me I’m afraid, but I respect the sentiment. I’d prefer it to not have been repeated quite so many times however.
She should definitely come back, not because of the songs (I didn‘t like both) but to experience the Eurovision stage. Being part of it, thousands of miles away is nothing compared to be on stage.
Technicolour deserves to stay in NQ-land! Heck, it should never have been sent to Eurovision at all.
But I do feel for her! Robbed of the Eurovision stage TWICE! I’d happily send her again if she comes up with another Don’t Break Me (MINUS the Mr Mime outfit tho).
Sometimes i think that wiwibloggs has been hijacked by hidden American fans who force their PC culture and cancel culture on everyone else. Just look at how many opinions here are downvoted to death.
As if I’m supposed to like this boting kitch just because the singer is autistic and gay.
Wiwiblogg management – its time to rethink the downvote button. Maybe replace it with a “flag” button to alert spam and unapropriate content. We’re all sick and tired of this “AlWaYs Be PoSiTiVe” approach.
Like, even Robyn herself had to coat her review with so much compliments and apologies, god forbid, she might offend the feelings of a (gay and autistic) singer, IN A SONG COMPETITION.
The song is not impressive, but the performer is.
Thank you Robyn for your review! Exactly my opinion on his entry
My only hope is that Australia shuts its borders again and he can’t leave the country. That and the Internet crashes so we can’t transmit his performance.
Don’t get this song. Awful kitsch and boring. Terrible entry.
My thoughts too. Soooo boring and all that crying. Zero points from me
The song is basic as so are the lyrics but it has something raw and pure in it, in a way that sounds honest and not too pretentious (maybe a little over dramatic, specially when he cries…). Sheldon’s voice surely elevates the song, it’s so powerful! The looks help to round up the package. This is jury bait and I believe we are before one of the possible winners of the jury vote, or at least top 5. Australia lands on my 6th place: 3. Denmark (7.75) 5. Portugal (7.75) 6. Australia (7.5) 9. San Marino (7.25) 12. Serbia (7.25)… Read more »
The crying wasn’t actually part of the performance, its was just him. I’m sure that will be moderated for the semi.
I hope they feed him enough Xanax that Australia isn’t embarrassed with his stage weeping! I wanted his mask to cover my embarrassment!
This is the only song I cannot keep listening till the end. The oversinging is unbearable.
Yes! Cut about 30 “we’re not the sames” out and it becomes barely tolerable!
7/10 I feel like 7 is the perfect score for this entry, the song is good but it’s not outstanding and to me doesn’t have a unique quality about it which I like to see at ESC? Despite that I do love how personal this song is to Sheldon and i’m sure the performance in Turin will be powerful!
No truer words
This is the worst song we’ve ever sent. I’m embarrassed to be Australian. Zero points in the semi would be too high of a result.
Completely disagree. For me, this is one of the best, if not the best song we have ever sent.
Haven’t you heard Dami and Kate’s songs?
Gosh, even Jessica, Guy, Isaiah and even, ahem, Montaigne!
This song is far superior to Montaignes and Isaiah’s. But doesnt compete with Kates, Damis or Guys songs.
Whilst I still think the song is poor and Sheldon is the wrong choice…. After listening to SF1, Australia would easily qualify in this final.
Sheldon better hope that SF2 is just as poor if he wants a chance to qualify.
OMG his vocals are amazing!
Just like Poland and Azerbaijan, an underwhelming entry propped up by a very good singer. It’s alright for the first half or so, but then it just begins to drag on and on, the theatrics keep it somewhat interesting for the full 3 minutes, the song itself is just not engaging enough. Quite disappointing, since you’ve had acts like Electric Fields, Didirri, Jaguar Jonze and Voyager in your NFs and you haven’t managed to send even a single one of them…
There are two problems, the first being only five jurors. The second being the small voting public; they don’t represent the Australian public. We need a demoscopic jury.
Some PLEASE get Mark a job @ SBS!!
Well, Voyager actually won the televote if I recall correctly, so the voting public did what they had to this year. I fully agree that only 5 jurors accounting for 50% makes it really unbalanced tho, they should bring that number up to 10, especially for ESC itself which suffers from the same thing.
Yes! SBS would never give up their iron grip on selection.
Okay, so let’s get this out the way first. Australia knows how to stage. This will be a moment. Its kind of like Serbia in that it is a performance piece. The plus side is it will be coherent on the night in 3 minutes. The jury bait is there, but the hinge factor will be if enough people connect with the message. That can be hit or miss but I think its universal enough. Regarding the mask, and not connecting enough, we have acts that keep theirs on the whole time and doesn’t seem to be an issue, but… Read more »
26.Australia – Obviously an amazing voice with a really emotional song and a visual gimmick. This could be a ‘Proud’.
I agree with Robyn.
I think Robyn is far too generous.
Someone clearly bribed Robyn to vote so high.
The others… well, they must have been listening to Dami Im!!
I like this song a lot, mostly due to the fact I relate a lot to Sheldon. I’ve been in a similar position as he was, and therefore I do find this song hitting me quite hard. Vocally Sheldon is one of the best male vocalists of the year, and I like the way they staged this in Australia. I hope Sheldon will gain the support he needs to go far in Turin, and I hope he does well. It’s an 8.5/10 for me
The song is trash. Australia apologises. Please don’t kick us out of Eurovision. We’ll do better, we promise.
Actually, we are proud of this. As an Australian, we are not the same as you.
We’re not, stop lying
We aren’t proud.
It was the SBS-management-stacked Jury that got him through.
I hope people who thought the song’s lyrics were repetitive make the same criticism when it comes to Estonia’s two word repetitive chorus and mark it down as well.
Atleast Estonia’s song is memorable
big vocals alone don’t cut the mustard. Compare with Ochman..another great singer but with a memorable product. I personally find this song too introspective and dirge like..shades of Growing Up is Getting Old..again.
Growing up is getting old had much more interesting production and lyrics IMO. His voice is amazing(!!), but I wish he had a better song. Still think he will qualify though
this song’s main purpose is showing off big vocals. it’s extremely repetitive and it’s overdramatic for the sake of it. at least it has relevance for its artist, which ranks it 39th in my top, just above azerbaijan – which is the same song but with no soul to it.
13. Australia: At first I was quite sceptical of whether I like this entry or not. The song can seem repetitive sometimes and it surely could have been better. But what makes this entry stand out is Sheldon’s wonderful voice on the one hand, and his way of interpreting the song on the other. He really lifts the song with his talent. This kind of entries has been done before, which is the reason why I think he won’t win in the end. But a high place in the final is pretty much expected.
34. Australia – Sheldon Riley – Not the Same – 5/10 – this song lives and dies on its emotional connection to the audience and sadly I find it all a little predictable and forced. I feel like I am listening to someone demonstrating to me how complicated the notes are that they are singing rather than someone who is trying to connect with me as their audience. Reading about Sheldon’s autism gave me a new understanding and respect for the performance though as it is possible he struggles with human connection. I admire that the lyrical content wants to… Read more »
I think it is sad that Australia have managed to take somebody with an incredible and relevant backstory, something that should add authenticity to the song and make it comes across in such a melodramatic and contrived way.
6.47? It’s a beautiful song! Suzanne should be fired from wiwibloggs.
She should be “fired” from Wiwibloggs because she has an opinion different than your own? Are you alright, friend?
Cancel culture in action.
it’s called an opinion, genius, but I guess you’re one of “those” fans
Never before has a Eurovision song so perfectly illustrated my own personal life. I know I’m “not the same,” but I also know I’m not alone. This type of piano-based melismatic writing is exactly my own forte, and Sheldon is an expert at performing it expressively. N.B. For the purposes of this review, I have used the studio version of the song, not the live version. The Chorus melody is very special to me, and it is the core part of this song. It’s haunting, full of drama and pain, and literally “not the same” as most other song melodies.… Read more »
Another beautiful review, Purple. 🙂 I may imagine how powerful these lyrics must be to those who went through anything that reminds them of it. While there are elements I’m on the edge with here, I am mostly quite positive about the song. It leaves me different impression each time. It’s quite arresting, both visually, and for its haunting piano orchestration. One aspect that might be that ”missing piece” to make this perfect for me is that ending. It really feels like if after a show-stopping bridge, it just expires. It’s quite an inverse deescalation from what dramatic ballads usually… Read more »
Interesting point, though I wonder whether that is because the story isn’t finished. Whether that comes through is another thing for people to decide.
Also, yes, the melody on “through those, oh, who’ve broken inside” is my favorite part too. It cuts deep.
And I do feel connection with this song. Some of my personal experiences could be relating to it. It’s lyrical content is very strong. I wish that this ending wouldn’t bother me so much, so that I could place it even higher. Still, it’s a good song in my book.
You’re always giving me fantastic insights. Thanks again for that! From a regular non-musical-educated point of view I must agree with your last point, it looks too whiney, screamy and repetitive when if it has something that I like, although I cannot explain what. Overall of the 3 male ballads, this is the one I prefer, though I couldn’t care less if none progresses to the final (of course I know it won’t happen!)
Beautiful song and singer, one of my favorites
A pretty average and unecessarily over-the-top personal ballad from which the delivery by Sheldon is incredible. Not bad but also not stunning. My 24th place, with a 7.5/10 rating,
Sheldon sounds like the perfect Eurovision contestant: a great vocalist (jury-bait) with a cool sense of style that automatically makes him a memorable figure (televote appeal). It’s a pity that he’s wasted in a song that’s personal to him and grandiose on the surface, but musically uninspired if examined closely. The performance in Australia Decides was also excessively theatrical, especially during the mask removal. Will they tone it down? Though I still see potential here, I won’t lie: this one has been increasingly fading on me. 6.5/10
While I gave Australia a higher rating, we are actually not *that far off* in observations. As I said, each time I hear it, I get a different impression of it. Overall, I respect what he is going for, and I feel like I have to give it points, both for bravery and for uniqueness. Also, I do like myself a big dramatic ballad in a Phantom of the Opera style. And yet… there is something that just doesn’t click with me to finish this potentially winning package in a perfect style. Sometimes I love this song, sometimes I find… Read more »
We talk a lot about growers, this may be the biggest “shrinker” I ever had in Eurovision. The first time I’ve listened to it, having in mind Sheldon’s persona, I thought this could even be a winner. Then the live performance came and I was completely disconnected to with. And the more I listen to it, the less interested on it I get. As you probably know by now, I’m not that into musical theater as you or Mask, so I need something else. In any case, I believe the jury will put him through and it’s not like 2nd… Read more »
I have had some ”shrinkers” over the years too. This year, my biggest shrinker is probably Finland. The review is yet to come, but it is much lower than I thought it would be based on my first UMK impression. Montenegro also considerably fell down my list after serious ranking. Semis this year have an interesting dynamics according to my personal taste. Semi 1 has two of my absolute favorites, but many songs that aren’t that far behind, and a rather big list of very solid borderlines, all of which would have qualified by my taste from semi 2. On… Read more »
I’ve never been a big fan of “Jezebel”, but the song also shrinked a bit with me too. I won’t be able to watch the semifinals live this year, but in case I manage to watch them without knowing the results, I’ll for sure feel very nervous with the first one. Most of my favorites will be there and I fear for at least half of them. While in the 2nd semi, as long Serbia makes it, I’m fine with it, since my other favorites there are locks. If I can ask for more, than I would like Czech Republic… Read more »
Jezebel wasn’t my favorite in UMK either, but the rating just kept on shrinking. It’s still not that bad.
I feel you, as for the event planned months ahead, I’ll perhaps have to miss semi 1 myself. Which is a bummer, considering that I can vote there. 🙁
While my top 3 in semi 1 and top 4 in semi 2 are all predicted to qualify, I am still on the edge. Especially for Serbia, even if I am positive about its chances. It’s just that striking!
Czech Republic is also a qualifier on my list.
Interesting that we are not in agreement on this one, but I do understand your feelings, as they echo what has already been said by reviewers. Specifically, a lot of other music reviewers have been scared off by this song’s roots in horror music and its extremely dramatic presentation. I find this sad, because unlike them, I find this song to be very inspiring and personally fulfilling.
I was suprised with your review (not with the fact you liked, since it always seemed to be something right on your alley), because you pointed a lot of things my untrained ears simply can’t hear. In fact, it was a disappointment when I looked for a version without the vocals to check the instrumental, because it felt too empyt to me. Again, maybe it’s too subtle for someone without a musical education. That said, though I think the presentation is overdramatic, I don’t think Sheldon’s tears are fake as many accused them to be, so I hope he does… Read more »
Since the melody is in the vocal part, by listening to the instrumentation only it is therefore missing most of moments I described. The clashes between the melody and harmony in the Bridge are what really give me the chills. I hope that helps to explain.
I guess that’s one of the problems to me then, that his voice concentrates almost all of the work in the song and it makes it feel like vocal acrobatics without substance. He’s a great vocalist, of course. If they gave this song to someone average, it would be a disaster.
I agree that the excessive use of theatrics make this song seem formulaic. Especially the mark removal before the last chorus is too excessively theatrical that it ends up being not natural. If they tone down these things though the ending product will be a decent ballad sung by an amazing singer and that can give them some points. It will not be a winner but it can finish high.
I still think he can even win the jury vote. But the lack of connection most of the fandom feels to it probably says they can have another televote failure on their hands if they don’t find the right balance with the drama. And it’s not because it’s theatrical, since “Voilà” was also and Barbara became a fan favorite. Maybe we need to see more of his face after the mask removal. The stage in Australia was a little too dark.
I find this one hard to rank because of the obvious talent on display but, we have to remember, it is a song contest. I really find it hard to imagine people want to put on a set of headphones and listen to this. This went from, at one stage, being my second favourite song in Australia’s selection (which based on how my rankings work, would be close to a top ten-ish position in ESC) to not even being a qualifier perhaps. It’s growing off me to the extent that I just instinctively skip it whenever it comes on my… Read more »
He can sing! He definitely has an impressive vocal range. But songwise this is a no from me. I’m not into these narcissistic and shallow cliche songs that rely too heavily on props and gimmicks to cover up the fact that the song is quite bland. It was written with Eurovision in mind, and to be honest, for a country who’s first language is English and have no voting neighbors, I really honestly expected better from Australia. Especially because last years entry was high class and quite engaging. Sorry Australia it’s a no from me, BUT would definitely welcome Sheldon… Read more »
Sorry, for me this is the worst song of Eurovision 2022. Too bombastic and very very melodramatic. Far too dramatic for my taste. More subtitility please :-).
Suzanne hasn’t given a song higher than a 6 so far ?
AUSTRALIA – Sheldon has a powerful backstory that inspired him to pour his emotions on stage. His story might not be the same as mine or yours, but I think that most of us can connect with feeling different in some capacity. The song has a universal quality of leaving an impression. Visually and sonically, it stands out as extremely theatrical. His vocals are outstanding throughout. The second chorus is an especially great climax, and the bridge adds a new layer of progression, but the final chorus feels too short to properly finish such a dramatic song. There is a… Read more »
I do find the presentation of the song to be far too melodramatic, considering what there is there musically to work with. I also don’t think the lyrical content is expansive enough to justify the facials and body language that Sheldon is putting out there. I get he’s not the same but I got it the first time he told me. There just needs to be more substance to this in order for it not to come across as cynical jury bait. The funny thing is, that listening to Sheldon Riley in interviews, he is an incredibly likeable, captivating personality.… Read more »
I feel like it’s better than Poland and Azerbaijan but not for much. It has some good elements like the production and lyrics but it’s also slightly repetitive, maybe even too pretentious. Not a fan of the mask and the outfit he’s going to have in Turin as well. Australia didn’t pick wisely imo. We had Voyager and Jaguar which were way more interesting, as I see it.
Rating: 6.5/10 (23rd)
Yet another great voice! The song itself……I would listen to it if it would be on the radio…But I wouldn’t put on a playlist… It will qualify, thanks to the juries probably, but I’m ‘ot sure that public will vote for this.
It has to be “not” sure ..
Vocal gymnastics without the essence.
This! If there ever was a vehicle song, one that is designed to highlight the vocal capabilities of it’s singer, this is it… Sadly it’s quite repetitive and it doesn’t transmit anything to me. I think it could be a NQ because many casual viewers won’t connect with it.
One of the songs I would love to enjoy this year: the voice and the message are fantastic, the performance will be great, but I just cannot connect with Sheldon. At all. It really fails to have an impact on me. But I believe this will go through and would deserve it. Good luck Australia!
Australia had the chance to send Voyager to Turin this year- but perhaps they were not quite ready to make that leap of faith into something different. Instead they have chosen a singer with a wonderful voice and the obligatory back story. The performance will be amazing and his voice will shine- but this is a style that is starting to date now- it feels like if it were back in the days when Conchita won, it might have had an impact, but today it feels a little ‘dime a dozen’. Nevertheless, I am sure Australia will be back in… Read more »
Here’s the thing:
I can partly relate to the lyrics and its good that someone rises attention to the whole asperger/autism topic.
But on the other hand, for me, Eurovision isn’t all about the message, it’s mostly about the song and that’s where this struggles a lot. Sheldon of course lifts it up but in my opinion, it’s not enough.
Not to be butthurt but Voyager would’ve got a perfect 10 from me, but Sheldon’s only a 5.5.
Australia – The song overall isn’t my favourite but I’m autistic as well and man, those lyrics hit hard because of my past experiences back when I was a kid. It’s fully theatric and I think it can do really well. Massive props to Sheldon for putting this song out. 8/10
whoops, that was meant to be a 7.5 but sure 8 works (I only just woke up heh)
Yeah as Robyn said he’s got a great voice but there’s no melody, like you can’t sing along to it and it’s just a big vocal exercise of him singing the song title over and over. But the message is good
With respect to Robyn, the Chorus does have a melody. It is just a very elaborate melody. 🙂