Australia sends singer Montaigne to Eurovision with the song ‘Don’t Break Me’
Australia has not missed out on a spot in the Eurovision final since they joined in 2015, with Dami Im’s second place in 2016 being their best result so far. Last year, the Australians decided to organize a national final for the first time with Kate Miller-Heidke as a winner, bringing her country back in the top 10 of Eurovision. Enough reason for SBS Australia to decide to host another round of Australia Decides. Singer Montaigne managed to win the second edition and will represent her country in Rotterdam in May with the song ‘Don’t Break Me’.
The result was a close call, as Montaigne won the jury vote, but finished second with televoters, which was still enough for her to receive the most points overall. 24-year-old Montaigne, born Jessica Cerro, has two albums and a couple of hit singles to her name. She co-wrote her track ‘Don’t Break Me’ together with Anthony Egizii and David Musumeci. The tune could best be described as a mid-tempo power pop heartbreak anthem. In terms of song structure, it seems inspired by the style of fellow Australian hit maker Sia. The chorus is quite the moment with a powerful production and an instantly catchy hook. The verses are understated in comparison, with Montaigne almost whispering/mumbling the lyrics fast paced, which adds to the nervous/on-the-verge-of-a-breakdown energy the track and lyrics channel. Montaigne sings about the moment in a relationship where you realize you are the only one working hard to make it work, but at the same time don’t want to give up on being together.
Montaigne channels the desperate and on-the-verge-of-breakdown energy into the live performance of ‘Don’t Break Me’, with a clown-like styling and an expressive modern dance routine. The moment she is being lifted while she hits around her sing-screaming ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’ is powerful. The one-take camera directing of her performance unfortunately made it look somewhat messy, so this definitely needs work before her performance at Eurovision. The same goes for her vocals in the verses, which were hard to understand live. The big notes in the chorus need work too, especially if she wants to keep dancing around, as she seems to be struggling to do both at the same time now.
As we saw last year, the Australian delegation switched a whole lot of things around to improve the staging of Kate’s performance, so hopefully they can pull off the same this year and we will see them once more in the grand final on Saturday. I would be surprised if Montaigne claims a spot in the top 10 there though, as ‘Don’t Break Me’ is a contemporary pop tune, but might not stand out as much with 25 other songs.
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