Australia’s hopes for a sixth straight entry into the Eurovision grand final were dashed as Montaigne was eliminated from the competition at the semi-final on Wednesday.

Montaigne’s Eurovision performance took place in Rotterdam on Wednesday morning Australian time in Eurovision’s first semi-final in two years. The competition is being held after a logistical and emotionally challenging 18 month build up following the cancellation of the 2020 competition for the first time in Eurovision’s 65 year history.

 

ARIA award winning Montaigne, real name Jess Cerro, knew she and the rest of the Australian team behind this year’s entry were facing an uphill battle and acknowledged as such in a tweet after the results were announced, 

“Babes, look. I knew this would happen. We were at a severe disadvantage,” she wrote. “But it’s okay! I’m proud of the song and glad I got to share it with you on the Eurovision stage.”

Australia was first invited to be part of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 to mark the 60th anniversary of the contest. While it was initially stated that Australia’s presence would be decided on a year-by-year basis, the invitation doesn’t look to be rescinded any time soon, with an announcement in 2019 that Australia will be part of the competition until at least 2023.

And we’ve had a pretty impressive run until this point with five grand final appearances from five entries. Montaigne failed to qualify, the first time that Australia will not find a place in the Eurovision finals.  Though Montaigne cannot be blamed for the results this year..

Montaigne’s Eurovision performance was the only remote one

The huge disappointment and disadvantage of not being able to travel to Rotterdam to perform live, a fair enough decision SBS had to make citing travel concerns amid the pandemic, certainly takes away from the impact of the performance. Montaigne was the first contestant in the history of the competition’s 35 years and the only contest of 16 on the night to perform remotely.

The performance was recorded in Sydney back in March under strict “Scenario C” protocols devised by the organisers of Eurovision. The performers were given one hour to get three takes, with the best one being sent as the entry with the “live-to-tape” performance shown on a big screen in the auditorium to a live audience of 3500 people.

The proof of that disadvantage is in the results on the night with the 10 spots available in the next round going to Malta, Norway, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Cyprus, Sweden, Belgium and Ukraine.

Even Australia’s bookies weren’t convinced about this year’s prospects, listing the odds of Australia winning the competition at 300-1!

Montaigne has been busy!

Montaigne has had a busy couple of years, in spite of the pandemic and was featured on the Sydney cover of the Star Observer back in November last year, giving a wide ranging interview including talking about her decision to sign an open letter last year by activist group Pride In Protest, calling to block police and corrective services from participating in any upcoming Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the WorldPride event in 2023.

 

Eurovision Grand Final on May 22

For the grand final event, to be held on the 22nd May, a total of 20 acts from the semis will join performers from the “Big Five” countries; Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom – so named because since 2000 (and 2011 for Italy), they’ve had direct entry into the grand finals of Eurovision, thanks to their generous financial contributions to the European Broadcasting Union.

Favourites for the win from the first round of semi final contenders include Maltese singer Destiny, whose musical inspirations include Lizzo, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion and the first act to get through to the semis, Norway’s singer TIX who sang his song “Fallen Angel”, aptly staged with clouds of dry ice and huge white wings completing the look.

A couple of bookmakers’ favourite to win also made it through to the grand final as part of the “Big Five” with Italian rock band Maneskin and French singer Barbara Pravi strutting their stuff at the grand finals on Saturday.

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