Third top 5 finish in a row for Australia with Isaiah?
The life of Isaiah Firebrace changed completely in less than a year’s time. The 17-year-old auditioned for the Australian version of the X Factor in 2016 and went on to win the whole thing. He dropped his debut album with covers and one original single, ‘It’s Gotta Be You’, which since has charted in a few European countries as well. Early March it was announced that Isaiah was internally selected by broadcaster SBS to represent Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest. He will perform the song ‘Don’t Come Easy’ in May in Kiev.
There must be quite a bit of pressure on the shoulders of the young pop star as he follows up two top 5 finishes for the country. Australia entered the contest for the first time in 2015 with Guy Sebastian’s ‘Tonight Again’ (5th place) and last year they came dangerously close to a win with Dami Im’s power ballad ‘Sound of Silence’ (2nd place). The same songwriting team as last year, DNA Songs, is responsible for 2017’s Eurovision entry and they have been working with some of Australia’s biggest pop stars, like Delta Goodrem and The Veronicas, before. Isaiah’s ‘Don’t Come Easy’ might not be as instant and in your face as ‘Sound Of Silence’, but it is a well produced, contemporary sounding power ballad with a big soaring chorus, that could well impress both the juries and the televoters. Sonically both the tone of his voice and the style of the track remind me of Sam Smith, which in itself already seems to be a recipe for success.
If his X Factor performances are anything to go by, he will sing the hell out of this song in a live setting. He is an endearing performer with some serious vocal power. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of European televoters will fall for him, although he does have some fierce competition in the young heartthrob category from Bulgaria’s Kristian Kostov. With the bookmakers, Australia currently holds a steady position in the top 10 and that seems about right if you ask me.
UPDATE – Review on semi final performance
17-year-old Isaiah’s vocal performance was far from perfect as he missed some of the big notes and the act with the treadmill looked way too cartoon-ish and was hugely distracting. The song proved to be good enough to make it into the final, but Isaiah will have to work hard on his act to even come close to Australia’s previous two results.
UPDATE – Review on final performance and results (9th):
This year Australia is the country that divided the juries and televoters the most. While he surprisingly was voted into the top 5 by the juries, the televoters only handed him two points. Admitted, his vocals were a lot stronger than during the semi final, but the act with the treadmill still looked as silly and cartoonish. I think ‘Don’t Come Easy’ is a beautiful composition, but definitely not one of the five best of this year and a place in the top 10 thanks to the juries, was a bit more than what this performance deserved. Well done to the young Isaiah though, who took his chance to show Europe how good his voice actually is!
Check all Eurovision 2017 reviews: Albania – Armenia – Australia – Austria – Azerbaijan – Belarus – Belgium – Bulgaria – Croatia – Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – FYR Macedonia – Georgia – Germany – Greece – Hungary – Iceland – Ireland – Israel – Italy – Latvia – Lithuania – Malta – Moldova – Montenegro – The Netherlands – Norway – Poland – Portugal – Romania – San Marino – Serbia – Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – Switzerland – Ukraine – United Kingdom