Yes it’s Eurovision time again! Australia was allowed to compete for a second time in 2016, and we entered popular singer Dami Im. Dami was born in South Korea, and grew up in Brisbane, where she studied music and became a piano teacher; her first public performances were as a gospel singer at Christian youth camps in South Korea.
Fame came for Dami when she won X-Factor Australia in 2013 and received a recording contract. Her self-titled album went platinum after debuting at #1 in the charts, as did the single from the album, Alive. Since then she has released two more albums, the second one going gold, and her albums also chart in South Korea. Apart from her other recognitions, she has been named the cultural ambassador for her home town of Logan City.
Unlike Guy Sebastian, who was given automatic entry into Eurovision as a special guest, Dami had to compete for her position at Stockholm. Would she get through? (nail bite, nail bite). Yes of course – she gave a stunning performance which earned her a standing ovation and thunderous applause from the crowd. Australia thus became one of the countries to win a place in the finals, and was immediately tipped as a strong contender.
In the finals, it looked as if Australia was going to win in a landslide victory, as the juries from each country thought Dami had given the best performance. However, when the televotes from the audience came through there were several upsets: countries given little encouragement from the juries stormed ahead in the audience vote, while some which the juries had judged a solid performance were suddenly flailing.
In the end, the Ukraine’s Jamala won with a haunting political song, while Australia came a close second with Dami Im’s power ballad Sound of Silence. Russia, which was the favourite to win, came in third. Australians were allowed to vote in Eurovision, and as you aren’t allowed to vote for your own country, they mostly voted for Belgium – perhaps influenced by Dami picking it as one of her own favourites in the competition.
There’s been lots of complaints about Australia being allowed to compete, but at the very least we’ve proved we have what it takes to do well at Eurovision without needing special treatment, and can be popular with both juries and audiences.
It’s not known yet whether we will be invited back for Eurovision 2017, but in any case SBS has another card up its sleeve. They now have the rights to produce their own version of Eurovision for the Asia Pacific, and the first one may be launched in Sydney next year. Not coincidentally, China broadcast Eurovision for the first time in 2016.
It’s interesting that the United States also broadcast Eurovision for the first time this year, because Justin Timberlake was selected as a surprise interval act. As that’s how Australia joined the Eurovision glamour train, pundits are wondering if the United States will be the next nation to be invited to compete. Grab your sequins and thicken your skins, would be my advice – it will be a bumpy but fun-filled ride to the finals.
Dami is an Anglicised form of the Korean name Da-Mi, meaning “of great beauty, very beautiful”. The name is pronounced DAH-mee – Dami Im’s fan base is called The Dami Army, which makes the pronunciation obvious. By coincidence, dami is also a Korean vocabulary word, a verb meaning “to put in”.
Dami’s name demonstrates the usual pattern for Korean names: a one-syllable family name, and a two-syllable personal name (of course in Korea Dami’s name would be Im Da-Mi). Dami’s surname Im is the equivalent of the English name Forest or Woods, so her name altogether makes for a very attractive image.
Dami is a name that works well cross-culturally because it is used by Europeans as a short form of girl’s names such as Damiana. The name Dami is used in Nigeria for both sexes, short for names such as Damilola, meaning “God has rewarded me”. It also seems familiar to English-speakers as we have similar-sounding girl’s names such as Demi and Dani.
An international name suitable for an Australian woman performing on the world stage!
Dami received an approval rating of 79%, making it one of the highest-rated names of 2016. 36% of people loved the name Dami, while only 4% hated it.