With the final of the Eurovision Song Contest upon us, Paul Clarke, Australian The SBS Creative Director answered the following questions for TV Tonight:
What is it like on the pitch and how is Liverpool different from previous years?
PC: Liverpool is perfect for the host city. Really friendly, great musical tradition, and you don’t stumble on the local language to get things done this year (sometimes the Scouse accent can sound foreign though… many Europeans struggle to understand the locals, who think it’s fun! )
How is Voyager received by the Eurovision family?
PC: Really, Voyager has been very warmly received. They have covered almost every song in the contest on their social media and the fellow artists love them. They are also recognized here, there and everywhere in Liverpool, with fans stopping them for a chat and a few photos. It seems like this year we’re really with each other and we’ve hugged each other in a way we’ve never been before.
Can you tell us about the staging of their song?
PC: Well, it’s a mid-80s Toyota convertible – Danny’s a huge fan. I think there’s a narrative about moving on from your issues to tie into the lyrics of the song, but that’s probably just a hoon.
What was it about Promise that got them chosen as our representatives for 2023? Our first band ever, discuss!
PC: Voyager won the popular vote by a mile to Eurovision: Australia decides, but lost narrowly to Sheldon Riley. After Eurovision in Turin, we had what I called a “friendship safeguarding meeting” and asked if they would come up with a song for us to consider. An early version of Promise has arrived and is getting better and better with each iteration. I love the song. I think he has the best guitar solo and the best keytar solo ever on a Eurovision trace. It’s great that they are a metal band. It just shows a different side of Australian music, and they are absolutely brilliant musicians.
Can you now explain why the Australia Decides didn’t happen?
pcs: Eurovision: Australia decides comes together as a result of different levels of funding. Some of these have changed and we have fallen short. Unfortunately, we’ve run out of track.
Who do you perceive as our greatest competition and a dark horse?
PC: Looks like the Scandies: Norway, Sweden and Finland. An external hope is the really, really, handsome Marco Mengoni (Italy). If he looks into the camera, be careful!
2023 is our guaranteed last year at Eurovision, has there been any discussion about Australia returning?
PC: It’s a live discussion that we will resume once this year’s event is behind us.
There is some talk that SBS may find it difficult to afford their next contract. Can you clarify?
PC: I don’t think the licensing costs for Eurovision they are something like the other big music formats. For now, we are focusing on Voyager’s upcoming performance and will resume discussions with the EBU once this year’s event is over.
Fingers crossed for so much success, have you dreamed of big plans if we win?
PC: I think about it regularly. It will be quite stately, and the connections to the host and the comedy will be laconic, in keeping with our sense of humor. We will have a great year when that happens.
Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 2 live at 5am AEST Friday on SBS*
Eurovision Song Contest Final Live Sunday 5:00am AEST on SBS*
* Voting www.esc.vote (20 votes per person, 65c per vote).
Replay on SBS (no voting):
Eurovision: Semi-final 1 19:30 Friday
Eurovision: Semi-final 2 19:30 Saturday
Eurovision: final 19:30 Sunday