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!