Underwhelming as Australia send Guy Sebastian to Eurovision 2015

05 March 2015

Call it excessive hype and anticipation, when Australia chose its representative for the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna this year, expectations were for a major name or someone fresh and exciting. With Guy Sebastian, we got neither. I can’t recall ever being as underwhelmed by any announcement for anything – ever. It’s like winning a holiday and being told the destination is a worm farm in Wagga Wagga. No offence to Wagga Wagga or worms, they have their place in society. Equally, no offence to Sebastian. He can perform live, and should present a decent song. It’s just all a bit ho-hum and lacks real imagination.

Guy Sebastian, Australia, Eurovision 2015

Guy Sebastian will perform for Australia in Vienna. Source: SBS

A big name would have been someone like Sia. Someone fresh and exciting was Dami Im. Both were the most popular suggestions going around, with Dami Im the most popular of all, and the more realist chance. Potentially she’s Australia’s Katy Perry, with the added appeal of an interesting back story and an infectious personality. Until her name began to surface, I knew little of her. Checking a few songs and performances, I was hooked. The sentiment for Dami echoed on many other Eurovision blogs – ie: the passionate fans that generally know a Eurovision star when they see one, knew Dami would be a great pick. If only Jessica Mauboy hadn’t performed last year, she’d have been a really worthy candidate too. In contrast, Sebastian’s name was barely mentioned anywhere.

Reaction to Sebastian is split. Ignoring the 30% that don’t want Australia at Eurovision at all, of the rest, 70% are happy with the decision, 30% disappointed. If you do add the resentment against Australia, it’s almost 50/50 divided. Credit that Sebastian’s talent is not being questioned, it’s merely the lacklustre nature of the decision.

More worrisome is Sony’s partnership with Australia’s ESC broadcaster, SBS, which started last year when Sony sponsored Mauboy. It severely limits the potential artists, particularly if there’s a commercial motivation in mind. Sebastian released an album recent enough that a song off it could be performed at Eurovision and he fit a specific profile that somehow saw him trump the likes of Dami Im, Delta Goodrem, the Veronicas (whoa!) and Samantha Jade. Those five artists were really the only viable options for Eurovision from the Sony stable and at least three of them would be superior choices than Sebastian.

For example, the Veronicas would have blown the Eurovision stage apart and generated a massive buzz. Delta, who might have been too divisive given the “tall poppy syndrome” hatred against her in this country, would have enchanted Europe with her sumptuous melodies and exquisite voice. We already know Dami Im would have mesmerised with her exotic style and powerful vocals. Whereas Guy? Yup, all a bit dreary. While it’s nothing unsavoury, doubts linger that purely artistic merit was not the primary selection criteria, and that’s a shame.

Sebastian has been around since 2003 when he won the first ever Australian Idol. He’s built himself into a legitimate performer, and released eight albums, precisely zero of which I could name. He’s a tried and tested formula, and that is part of the problem. Every Australian has made their mind up about him. He won’t invigorate the viewing audience unless he produces some amazing song, and is unlikely to get anyone other than rabid fans out of bed at 4am* to watch him perform.

The broader issue is whether Europe will like him. He’s certainly capable enough, has had the success, and is unlikely to embarrass Australia. It’s one of reasons he was probably chosen for Eurovision, rather than for trying to appease as many locals as possible. He’s also dull enough not to win, ensuring Australia’s “one year only” participation proves exactly that and preventing a headache for the organisers next year.

From his eight albums, I can recall precisely zero songs. Not even a melody can enter my head. The stuff I’ve seen and heard, it’s mostly that insufferable hip-hop style of stuttering pop or sleepy ballad. There’s very little melody, almost like a funky jazz style. Indeed, it seems most of his stuff is improvised gibberish. Since his Idol days, the biggest change I note is a reduced volume of hair and greater range of tattoos. Call me naive if he’s done other more interesting stuff, then I hope it surfaces on the Eurovision stage with an exciting performance that will prove me wrong. That’s the respect we should give all Eurovision artists, Guy Sebastian included.

* SBS is NOT promoting any live coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest this year, prefering to stick with its usual practice of ultra delayed time slots of Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. It’s not time to panic, because SBS did show live last year’s SF2 with Jessica Mauboy, albeit at very late notice. While they might do the same trick again, it is a concern that a live broadcast is not being promoted at all. How can Australians be expected to vote? Or get excited? Get serious, SBS!

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35 responses to “Underwhelming as Australia send Guy Sebastian to Eurovision 2015

  1. Wow your ignorance is amazing, Guy is an amazing artist and has more than enough credentials and song writing ability to go on Eurovision. Seen him in concert, highly entertaining.

    • That’s why I mentioned his career stats, and that he is accomplished and capable, and that I’ll give him the respect he deserves by listening to his song and watching his performance.

      The stuff I’ve heard from him over the years doesn’t do it for me. His song at the press conference left me as listless as ever. He said that song would be his Eurovision choice if allowed. I despair.

      Look, we all have our favourites. Even though music is personal, don’t take it personally if others don’t hear the magic you do. I still look forward to his song and will him a chance.

  2. Ha. Another disgruntled Dami fan. And this one masquerading as a serious music writer. Get a life. I guess you also haven’t of Battle Scars. The second highest selling Australian artist song in Australian music history. 9x platinum. Second only to Gotye’s 11x platinum one and only hit song. And it went platinum in the US to boot. Of course Guy has had seven other songs go multi platinum in Australia too. Not just platinum. No. Multiplatinum. One 5x platinum, three 4x platinum and a triple platinum and two double platinum. No other Aussie act has managed that many multiplatinum songs. Not Kylie, not Delta, and certainly not Dami. You must spend your life with your head in the sand like an ostrich. I wonder how Guy managed to get 24 ARIA nominations if he is as you put it “it seems most of his stuff is improvised gibberish.” So sick of the haters today. Go jump of a cliff.

    • It sounds like you’re one over protective fan. That’s ok, and thanks for adding his accomplishments. Read the reply to Sue and the article properly. I’ll give him a chance. I’m not disgruntled, only underwhelmed, like so many others. I’ve also not had one friend, family or colleague like the decision. You need to accept this rather than act so jealous.

      • “I’m not disgruntled”. Really???? “There’s very little melody, almost like a funky jazz style. Indeed, it seems most of his stuff is improvised gibberish. Since his Idol days, the biggest change I note is a reduced volume of hair and greater range of tattoos.” Sounds pretty disgruntled to me. And very insulting from someone who really has no idea going on this this bit.

        “Sebastian released an album recent enough that a song off it could be performed at Eurovision…”

        Fact 1. The Veronicas released an album on exactly the same day as Guy. And as even the lead single was released after the cut off date all their songs from that album would be elligible.

        Fact 2. Dami Im is in the process of writing and recording her next flop album, so would have songs available as well.

        Fact 3. Samantha Jade is releasing an album next month, so also would have songs available.

        Fact 4. Delta has been writing and recording her next album for at least a year and will be releasing a song from it for the Neighbours reunion next month. Again, plenty of songs to choose from.

        And exactly why would I be jealous. Jealous of what? Dami’s underwhelming career. Hardly. You are the one who comes across as jealous. And bitter as well. I am just sick to death of people like you bagging someone who is supremely talented, and has proven it again and again with sales, sell out concerts, kudos from actual musicians in the industry and awards. And who has managed to stay a success in the music industry for 12 years since he was discovered on a talent show. Most Idol contestants have long gone, or are singing at the local RSL club.

        Incidently Sia wasn’t interested. And I actually wish Guy had refused as well. Having watched some of the Eurovision crap over the years he is WAY too good for it. As for who chose the act. SBS chose him, not Sony.

    • So you’re telling me Sony could have chosen any of those other exciting artists and instead went for boring old Guy?

      Thanks for those corrections, as another reader noted. I was confused with the Veronicas with all their delays and should have researched Dami Im. Delta’s album is too distant, and Samantha Jade’s has a “TBA”.

      Those are my impressions of Guy’s music. I was underwhelmed by the selection, not disgruntled. There’s been no spamming my twitter of an injustice. I accept it and now wait for the song.

      You’re jealous that there’s people that don’t share your passion of Guy Sebastian. You need to be realistic that music is very subjective and personal, and if you don’t have your rampant biases confirmed, it doesn’t mean launch into a tantrum.

      Yes, maybe Guy is too good for Eurovision. No doubt the Veronicas were, and probably Delta too. Most Australians think Eurovision is a joke, something to be mocked and ridiculed, which is the reason I believed established artists would avoid it, leaving it to someone ascending. That’s why Dami Im made sense to me. It’s nothing against any artist in particular.

      The selection criteria was not transparent, so we will never know. It looks increasingly likely a key factor was not to win it. Guy is good enough to perform well and dull enough not to excel. He’ll get niche votes for a mid-table result, and I believe that’s the ideal outcome for the organisers and SBS. I don’t think they really want to deal with Australia co-hosting next year.

      • Just a quick comment before I quit your sad ugly little site. You don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word jealous going on your interpretation here. Your usage of it here “You’re jealous that there’s people that don’t share your passion of Guy Sebastian” really has me scratching my head.

        Jealous – feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages.

        Exactly how does the word make sense in that sentence. May I suggest an update in your English skills. Perhaps starting with primary school English. My kids seem to have a better understanding of that word than you do.

  3. As far as Guy’s name not being mentioned anywhere. He was the favourite on the betting sites in the last week. Guess you don’t have your finger on the pulse as much as you think you do.

    • I didn’t know about Sony’s partnership with SBS, so that limited potential artists, probably to the point of certainty to Guy. The betting sites would have been aware. I built my analysis to reaction to Dami’s name, not fans spamming social media. Even then, the lack of public support confirms the tepid nature of Guy’s selection. Maybe Guy’s fans were not that interested in him at Eurovision. You tell me.

    • There you go. So you’re defending the selection of one artist whose fans don’t want him there over that of another artist whose fans do want her there? That’s rich. This was all part of my analysis into thinking Dami was the better choice: fan support and being fresh and exciting. Because Sony and SBS went for dull old Guy, that made the decision underwhelming.

    • Natbelle…
      I stumbled across this blog by accident while looking up eurovision, reading all the comments and wondering the whole time why you are being so nasty and hateful. I don’t know who this “Guy” or Dami is so i did a quick research. Apparently this Guy person has over 13 years in the industry, and Dami has about over 1 year after X factor? … yet you compared her as if she has had over lifetime of the music industry. The thing is she’s not even that bad, from what you said, I thought she was teenny kinds of artist with lots of autotune, but she actually has a really good voice, especially in that one Purple Rain video…which led me to wonder why you hate her so much? I mean you don’t even know her personally…

      I get that you’re a Guy’s fan or whatever, but calm yourself. The author seemed respectful enough to reply to you and all you do was accusing him of being jealous and disgruntled? huh? The only person with his/her butt hurting so bad was you. One advice: Go outside, get some fresh air and stop being so butt hurt. Sitting on the internet all day could result in butt hurt.

      One last thing: Since you have kids apparently?, I assume that you are old enough to know that people have their right to voice their opinions. If you can’t respectfully disagree then don’t say anything at all, assuming you’re a grown up and all. No one needs to know about your crappy attitude.

  4. And just for the record, the only comments I have seen about Dami have been from her rampant fans on facebook and twitter. So busy making comments about how much they love her, about how much Sony mistreat her and how much they want her to perform on Eurovision or anywhere else they can think of for that matter, they actually forgot to buy her last single and album. The single never charted, and the album only charted for three weeks. Of course that could be because she doesn’t have many fans anymore. Just a few people making lots of noise.

    • So Sony’s influence is more dubious. To me that sounds like giving the girl a chance, whereas Guy has established himself and doesn’t need the Eurovision stage. This was part of the main reason I liked Dami as a choice: she’s on the ascent. Eurovision is the perfect stage for such an artist. You need to accept that such a preference is not a sleight against other artists.

      • And this reply shows how you like to twist things to make your point. I do believe in your original post you thought Sia would be a good idea too. Now she hardly needs the promotion does she? Would have to be the biggest Australian act in the world right now, everywhere in the world, Europe included. So what is it you want? A big act like Sia, or a struggling act who even has trouble selling her music in Australia right now like Dami. No amount of exposure is going to make someone sell if the product they are trying to sell is not wanted by the buyers. Dami isn’t selling because nobody wants to buy her music.

      • Wrong. I said Sia was an example of a “major name”, while later saying she was unrealistic a chance. All major names and established artists don’t need Eurovision. The realistic chances were from the “fresh and exciting” category. Guy’s neither a major name (worldwide) nor is fresh and exciting. Hence, it’s an underwhelming decision.

    • Natbelle, you obviously love Guy Sebastian, he is a great Artist, but Euro vision is about doing something fresh, what is being said is that Artists that have been in the Business for a long time do not do there best at Contests, it really is beneath Guy to do this and should not of accepted. Dami im is fresh and new and needs a step up, her Music is Fantastic, she is incredible and would of wowed them at Euro vision. Guy really does not need this and should of Graciously declined and let some one new in the industry do it. No one is saying Guy is not good, but come on does he really need this. Just think about it. As for Dami ims Career, it has only just started, everyone that listens to her Music say the same thing that she is amazing and need Australia to support her and all new talent.

  5. I mostly agree with your post. One correction would be to what you said here:
    “Sebastian released an album recent enough that a song off it could be performed at Eurovision”
    Last October Dami released an awesome album of 15 tracks each worthy of their own single, and has been writing more new songs since that are yet to be released. Despite her album never being promoted by Sony for some unknown reason, it has been lauded worldwide and even played on US radio stations. Some of the tracks could have been suitable for the ESc, although it is more likely that Dami would have chosen some yet unreleased song that could have given Australia another chance next year. Alas, Sony’s control of the music industry and their insistance on promoting their golden boys over talent have sunk Australia’s chances.

  6. It’s great to see some of Australia’s musicians tweeting their support for Guy. Makes up for some of the trash tweets and sites like yours.

    kylie minogue @kylieminogue
    Way to go @GuySebastian!!!! Backing you ALL THE WAY!!!!

    Megan Washington ‏@WASHINGTONx
    I AM SO EXCITED FOR @GuySebastian for Eurovision! embrace the glitter xxxx

    SINEAD BURGESS ‏@sineadburgess
    Send the strongest Aussie voice to represent the country… makes complete sense to me. @GuySebastian will SLAY it!!

    Now I do not share their excitement. But I do share their opinion of Guy.

    • Of course it is. They’d do that for any Australian artist. Check back at this blog and you’ll see I’ll give Guy a fair chance. If I love the song, I’ll be constantly talking about it. If I don’t, it will be ignored. The issue of his selection his over. Time to look forward.

      Note, part of my style is to use expressive language. Note appraisal of some of the other entries:

      -Dull effort. Improves by the end, if you can stay interested.

      -There’s little substance to it with her whiny voice wailing away most of the time, making for a nauseating experience.

      -That put me to sleep, then suddenly I was jolted back to reality by some yelling.

      -It just goes round and round and round and round. Sorry!

      -One thing I should have done is not check it.

      -I can’t even applaud the song; if they win ESC, I don’t know how I’ll applaud.

      -This is still good for generic, mindless crap! I like.

      -Two listens and it sounds like a whole lot of contrived drama covering a pile of fluff.

      Guy’s “improvised gibberish” doesn’t sound quite so bad, right?

      • You narcastic nasty waste of space you are. You are so full of yourself. A real expert on singers. Can you even hold a tune yourself? Doubt it. I’ve done with you.

  7. THE whole problem with Dami im,s last album is sony would not back the album, i guess dami didn,t strip naked or curse in her song,s so sony gotpissed at her and wouldn,t support her album or video

    • For reasons unknown to everybody but Dami and Sony, the Video for ( the Single) Living Dangerously from Dami’s Heart Beats Album was pulled and so was the Single. She sang it on the Channel 7 morning show and did one signing and that was it. No Interviews and very little airplay and that was mostly in Melbourne.

      The Album did chart briefly, but with absolutly no advertising or marketing it wasn’t long before it started to sink down the charts. The Heart Beats album appears to be doing okay overseas but we’ll probably never know the numbers. She’s been getting good airplay in the US (NBC Morning Show has been using Dami’s music) and it’s probably the reason that she said she maybe heading off to the US later in in 2015. I think she’s doing okay in parts of Europe, mostly through word of mouth, obviously enough people know of her since Europeans were really hoping that Dami would be chosen for Eurovision.

      As to that silly Natbelle going on about the number of Platinum records Guy had, who cares. It’s who is best for the Job at hand and in this case I think Dami would of been the better choice, at a different venue I might of gone for Guy!?

      As to Dami’s career. She’s spent a lot of time in Asia so we can expect big things from there in the near future. Korea, Singapore and China and as I said possibly the US.

      Regardless of what Natbelle thinks…Dami is travelling okay and expect a new single which she wrote with Trinity up in Sweden to be released very soon.

  8. Guy is a good, safe, boring choice, you know what u r going to get. A song & voice that will put u to sleep ZZZZ .Thanks SBS & Sony, for showing all that OZ is still so insecure that We choose yesterday’s hero to represent us again. Anyway a bearded woman won last year.

  9. I like Guy Sebastian, he has worked very hard to get himself where he is today, yes he has done well and has a very good fan base and deserves everything he has worked for. BUT Dami im would of been the amazing representative on Euro vision, To say she did not have a song ready is just plain wrong, she has just announced a brand new song written by the Trinity brothers today, this would of been used for Euro vision. This is probably our only chance to show case our brilliance in Music and we have blown it away by being just plain boring Safe. If any one has seen how Dami im blew everyone away with her performances on Xfactor and listened to her MV and CD they would understand that Dami im would of done a far better Job, choose Guy or Dami hmmm who would I choose that would look absolutely stunning and Beautiful on stage with amazing Vocals and presence, its a no brainer, Dami would of totally captivated the Audience. Guy is and and now a has been, Dami is fresh and would of showcased our newest Talent to the world. Damis Album Heart Beats has Beautiful and family friendly music that Sony did not Agree with and there attitude is that Dami will not sell, so why bother, they have backed away from any proper commitment to her Music and have reneged on there agreement to promote her Music, if everyone had a chance to hear her Music they would all be stunned and delighted at the content and understand why we are such ravenous fans that are complaining and crying foul. I suggest before anyone disagrees go onto UTUBE and listen Dami ims Music and Compare it with Guy Sebastians music. which would of done the Job better in sound and visuals.

  10. For an established Australian artist to participate in Eurovision 2015 may not be wise for that artist as it may not be to his/her best interest. It has to be borne in mind that this is a contest and not being there as a guest artist as what J. Mauboy had the honour to be last year. If the selected artist wins it of course its well and good.
    Guy Sebastian is an established artist and need not have to put his ability on the line. So too are the other mentioned artists except for Dami Im who appeared on the music scene just over a year ago.
    Although new to the music scene, Dami Im’s talent as a singer and a performer is awesome and can be verified by viewing the nationally televised X-Factor 2013 show and Carols in the Domain 2014. Her singles and albums are also outstanding.
    SBS as a national broadcaster should have secured the conscent of Eurovision 2015 for Australia to send a contestant there only if it has its own resourses in the first place and not to be in partnership with a commercial enterprise to enable it to do so. This would have given SBS flexibily to select the artist and show transparency in the selection made.
    Now that the artist has been selected, it would be interesting to know whether Dami Im was seriously considered by SBS and partner ie SMA as we now know. From postings which I have read, I am disappointed to note that SMA which is Dami’s Label hardly promote her and her new album. To her fans, the reasons are unknown.Whatever they may be, Dami Im’s chances of being selected would have been stuck on solid ground right from the start.
    Here’s hoping that Guy Sebastian will do Australia proud.

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