Australia, alphabetically, serves up the first of what will emerge as a theme in 2022: the introspective sadboi. I hadn’t seen the copycat style from last year’s Contest being a male Victoria from Bulgaria, but here we are.
International talent show alumnus Sheldon’s song is a well-represented theme at Eurovision: the pain of growing up the outsider turning to triumph on the international stage. It chronicles a journey that will resonate with many of us who, whether gay, geek, or chronically uncool, have made the same voyage from exclusion to self-acceptance, and found ourselves embraced by this funny little Eurovision community we’ve found.
The song is dark, stark, and dramatic. Sheldon’s social ostracism is illustrated by a dazzling face covering of jewelled strands (it’s not meeting FFP2 standards but it’s a heck of a lot more glamourous). He also sports a fascinating gender-busting outfit. Inevitably there’s a walk to the front of the stage (ever forwards into a new, emboldened life) and a denouement where the mask is finally lifted, a moment of genuine liberation for Sheldon as it’s here his voice cracked with emotion in the Australian national final.
Sheldon’s written on his social media of the absolute joy and pride he feels from having never been taken seriously as the boy that dresses up to standing on the stage, singing his own song, wearing what he chooses. I think we can all get behind that; these moments of personal achievement splashed onto such a massive global platform will no doubt inspire and embolden others who will go on to find their own space within our funny little Eurovision community of ours, and beyond.
But how does this stack up competitively? It’s not a bad example of its genre, and the face covering adds a twist of interest which this will need to stand out. Judging it individually I view it relatively favourably, but it’s in a line-up of 39 other songs, and there’s a good many of them ploughing a similar furrow. Will Europe be ready for a group therapy session by May, or will we prefer to party? I know I’m leaning to the latter.
My marks: 7 points