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The Road to Eurovision 2022: Sheldon Riley (Australia)

It’s April and we have less than 60 days till the annual Eurovision contest that will happen next month. Get excited! If you don’t know what Eurovision is, I wrote a detailed post about the contest a couple of years ago. I am back with my series “Road to Eurovision”, predicting who will win this year’s contest. Each day, I will feature a song from one of the countries. Then, I will make my own predictions of who will make it to the finals and win the competition. Good luck to those who are competing!

You can check out my commentaries on past years:

2021 | 2019 | 2016

Let’s get started!

Sheldon Riley’s “Not the Same”

Sheldon Riley’s “Not the Same” is representing Australia in this year’s Eurovision. The track tackles the issues of discrimination and exclusion, something that Sheldon Riley has experienced firsthand. He wrote the lyrics in 2015 and based them on his experience of being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, living in public housing, and questioning his sexuality. This is what the artist had to say further on the content:

“Not The Same” is the story I never thought I’d ever feel I’d be able to tell. Written from the memories of a child who at age 6 was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, growing up in public housing, moving from home to home, unaware of my sexuality, among a deeply religious family. A path already laid that I would never be able to properly understand or interact with other people.

I actually wrote this song back around late 2015, I had sent myself the lyrics on my old Facebook account. It was more of a poem back then though, reflecting on how far I had come, recently having come out to my family and feeling so free to speak my mind more and more each day. I have always connected to Darker Disney Animations, characters that were perceived to be different, evil, misunderstood, and weren’t given a chance to explain parts of themselves that they ultimately couldn’t change. Maleficent, Cruella DeVille, Ursula. It probably explains my dark aesthetic…

The song is really a gift back to anyone who might be in my position when I first fell in love with Eurovision. Regardless of gender, sexuality, race, financial position, trauma, color, age, shape or size. You’re ‘Not the Same’ but you’re not alone.

The thing that really strikes listeners is the vulnerability behind Sheldon Riley’s vocals. Listeners can hear it, especially at the very end as he climaxes with such emotion. But throughout the song, Sheldon Riley’s vocals are powerful with rich tones that tug at the listener’s heartstrings with how the artist commands them, first quiet and then explosive. The instrumentation is simple as the vocals that set the song’s motions forward.

I think Australia took a page from Switzerland‘s playbook from last year’s Eurovision as “Not The Same” features minimal instrumental but powerful vocal performance. But, it works for the artists and the country as it will move people while being a solid track. Because of this, “Not The Same” will go to the finals!

My Eurovision 2021 Predictions

Here are my predictions for this year’s contest. These are my own opinions and I am not getting paid or endorsed for them.

First Round

(Note: I changed my prediction for Intelligent Music Project after a week of thinking about the song. I think they will be going to the finals as the song grew on me.)

CountryMy Prediction
Ronela Hajati (Albania)Finals!
Citi Zēni (Latvia)Finals!
Monika Liu (Lithuania)Will Not Go Through
Marius Bear (Switzerland)Will Not Go Through
Last Pizza Slice (Slovenia)Will Not Go Through
Kalush Orchestra (Ukraine)Finals!
Intelligent Music Project (Bulgaria)Finals!
S10 (the Netherlands)Finals!
Zdob și Zdub and Frații Advahov (Moldova)Will Not Go Through
Maro (Portugal)Finals!
Mia Dimšić (Croatia)Will Not Go Through
Reddi (Denmark)Finals!
Lumix featuring Pia Maria (Austria)Will Not Go Through
Systur (Iceland)Finals!
Amanda Tenfjord (Greece)Finals!
Subwoolfer (Norway)Finals!
Rosa Linn (Armenia)Will Not Go Through

Second Round

CountryMy Prediction
the Rasmus (Finland)Will Not Go Through
Michael Ben David (Israel)Finals!
Konstrakta (Serbia)Finals!
Nadir Rustamli (Azerbaijan)Finals!
Circus Mircus (Georgia)Will Not Go Through
Emma Muscat (Malta)Will Not Go Through
Achille Lauro (San Marino)Finals!
Sheldon Riley (Australia)Finals!

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The Road to Eurovision 2022: Sheldon Riley (Australia)

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