ESC 2023 Song Review: “Promise” by Voyager (Australia)

Disclaimer: I am an Australian citizen and resident. I’m sure I have some biases here.

1) The Result

Sheldon Riley’s “Not the Same” was a very jury-friendly ballad with limited televote appeal. It qualified for the final quite comfortably, but ended up in 15th place with almost all of its points coming from the juries.

2) The Process

The plan was to hold another Australia Decides national final, but the weeks went by without any sort of confirmation by the broadcaster SBS, and eventually it was announced that there would be an internal selection. It remains unclear as to why Australia Decides was cancelled, but in any case the chosen act were Voyager, who finished runner-up in Australia Decides 2022.

3) The Artist

Voyager have been on the Perth music scene since the late 1990s. They’re usually categorised as progressive metal, but it seems that the band considers themselves to be a hybrid of a few genres, of which metal is only one. They’ve released several albums and have toured Europe enough times that the local metal scene should be somewhat familiar with their work.

4) The Song

Mix synthpop, rock and a bit of metal, and you’ve got this song. It keeps progressing from the fairly low-key beginning, shifting about without losing focus. The lyrics can be a bit vague at times, but convey the sense of finding solace in others, with some indirect references to the covid-19 pandemic.

5) The Verdict

I was torn between Voyager and Jaguar Jonze in last year’s Australia Decides, so I’m very happy to see at least one of them getting their chance at Eurovision.

There aren’t many metal albums in my collection, but I love this. I’d be disappointed if this didn’t at least qualify, but I’m under no illusions about its chances in the final. Somewhere from 11th-15th is most likely the best Voyager can hope for.

And look, if this is the end of the line for Australia at the contest, I’d be sad about that. I only managed to make it to the 2020 edition of Australia Decides (also the year I was meant to go to Eurovision itself), and I was hoping to return to the Gold Coast to experience the thrill of a national final again.

My ranking: 2nd