How This Year’s Eurovision Australia Decides Competition Is Different

From Dami Im to Kate Miller-Heidke, some epic names in music have represented Australia at the coveted Eurovision Song Contest. And as dedicated fans would know, there's quite the selection process involved to choose who waves the Aussie flag at the spectacular celebration of global music.
In recent years, the Eurovision – Australia Decides event has been held to allow local artists to show fans what they've got and a public vote then decides who will progress to the international event.
The first three contestants for the Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022 competition have now been announced, and not only are they familiar names to avid music lovers, but they each have unique stories and represent diverse communities, which is so important given Australia's multicultural mix.
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Former Australian Idol contestant Paulini Curuenavuli, 2016 The X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace, and musician Jaguar Jonze are in the running to be Australia's next Eurovision rep.
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Isaiah Firebrace
Eurovision fans will have déjà vu seeing Firebrace's name in the lineup, as the 21-year-old Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man has already represented Australia on the international Eurovision stage in 2017.
But having him return to the competition is a reason to celebrate. Not only has he developed as an artist in the past five years, but having First Nations representation on a global scale is always an opportunity to welcome.
"I’ve grown so much as a singer, a performer and as a person since then and I’ve definitely got unfinished business," he said in a statement provided to Refinery29 Australia.
Fijian Australian Curuenavuli said she's particularly excited to be involved after the music industry suffered significantly during forced lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Eurovision to me is like the Olympics for singers!" she said. "It brings together so many countries and cultures – and while it’s a competition I see it as uniting much of the world through music.”
Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for G'Day USA
Paulini Curuenavuli
Meanwhile Jonze, born Deena Lynch, has her own important story to tell through her music and activism. The artist of Taiwanese-Australian heritage has been a leading voice in the #MeToo movement in the local music industry, as well as an anti-racism advocate.
During a time when we're still working towards better female and culturally diverse representation in music, it's important to have women like Jonze and Curuenavuli up on stage.
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In a recent interview with Refinery29 Australia, Jonze said she believed Australia is "still so behind compared to other parts of the world" in terms of progressing towards greater racial equality, and representation within the arts.
"For so long, I had felt I had needed to whitewash myself both as a person and as an artist to be included and receive recognition," she said.
"At some point when I free up my emotional capacity, I hope to be able to do more to encourage an inclusive and safer environment for the next generation of Asian artists."
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Jaguar Jonze
The opening night show for Eurovision – Australia Decides will be held on Friday, 25 February on the Gold Coast, where a jury will initially cast their votes.
Then a live televised final will take place on Saturday, 26 February where the public get their say and the winner is announced.
There will be more contenders revealed in the coming weeks, but the first three names are a promising nod towards embracing our diverse talent that deserves to be seen, recognised and celebrated.
Eurovision – Australia Decides 2022 airs on SBS and SBS On Demand on Saturday, February 26 at 8:30pm AEDT. Tickets to attend the live shows are now on sale and can be purchased here.
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