Sheldon Riley at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest
Sound ánd Beauty
This is Sheldon Riley
Open about his sexuality and Asperger's
National Eurovision competition in Australia
The song: 'Not the Same'
Based on his own teenage Facebook post
Honored to sing for Australia
Inspiration: Conchita Wurst
Costume for Eurovision
Designed by Alin Le'Kal
Mask
An impressive act
Fashion icon
What are Sheldon Riley's odds?
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Sheldon Riley at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

He made a big impact at the opening night of Eurovision week in the Italian city of Turin. Sheldon Riley, the Australian candidate for this year's song contest, looked stunning on the turquoise carpet.

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Sound ánd Beauty

Here we can admire the outfit in its entirety, with Turin's Palace of Venaria as a magnificent backdrop for a great fashion show. The 2022 Eurovision's motto is 'The Sound of Beauty' after all!

(Image: EBU / Sarah Louise Bennett)

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This is Sheldon Riley

Sheldon Hernandez (his given name) was born in March 1999 in Sydney from an Australian mother and Filipino father. By the time he was 16, Sheldon became an active participant in the talent shows: first in 'X Factor Australia,' then in 'The Voice Australia,' and also in 'America's Got Talent.'

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Open about his sexuality and Asperger's

The Australian singer makes no secret of being gay and of having been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at age six. In fact, the lyrics of his Eurovision entry emerged from the time when he was learning to accept and express his unique character.

(Photo: EBU / Andres Putting)

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National Eurovision competition in Australia

Riley competed in the national competition 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' in February 2022 with a remarkable appearance. He wore rhinestone masks on stage and the red carpet, and he donned a big gown for his performance.

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The song: 'Not the Same'

While at first glance, his performance seems to be mostly about breaking gender stereotypes and representing the LGBTQ community, the lyrics are about being authentic in general, Riley told Eurovision.

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Based on his own teenage Facebook post

At age 15, Sheldon had been dealing with Asperger's, his family's strict religion and their modest means, and in response to these challenges, he had written a note to himself on Facebook: "You're not the same, and that's ok."

 

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Honored to sing for Australia

"Later on, I opened my old account and found this post, and thought, 'this has to be a song'!" he told Eurovision. "And now it’s the song representing my country, and I couldn’t be more honored."

(Photo: EBU / Nathan Reinds)

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Inspiration: Conchita Wurst

One of Sheldon Riley's idols is the winner of the 2014 edition of Eurovision, Conchita Wurst. He loved how she broke all the rules of what a woman or man is supposed to look like. "It was everything that I wasn’t allowed to watch. That was the moment that changed my life. There could be a little kid out there who’s watching me, and it would mean the absolute world to know that I’m just showing something that’s a bit different."

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Costume for Eurovision

Riley's costume for Eurovision is an indispensable part of the performance. "The dress weighs 40 kilos," he told Eurovision. "It’s so heavy, and so big, with hundreds and thousands of crystals. No airline wanted to take it, it’s so extra! It’s like a wedding dress, but bigger!"

(Photo: EBU / Andres Putting)

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Designed by Alin Le'Kal

Australian designer Alin Le'Kal, from Melbourne, made the nearly 40-kilo dress. It has 90,000 pearls, crystals and feathers, the Daily Mail reports.

(Photo: EBU / Andres Putting)

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Mask

To visualize the message that people should be "unapologetically" themselves, he decided to wear a mask on the stage. "A lot of us hide behind masks and would love to come out as who we want to be," he told Eurovision.

(Photo: EBU / Andres Putting)

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An impressive act

At some point in the song, Sheldon takes off the mask to symbolize that he is 'coming out as himself.'

(Photo: EBU / Nathan Reinds)

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Fashion icon

Sheldon Riley has been known as a fashion icon in the Australian pop scene. He wears spectacular glasses and (mostly black) suits and dresses.

(Photo: Riley and Zac Tomlinson at the premiere of 'Hamilton' in Sydney, 2021)

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"A dream come true"

When he won the national Eurovision contest, Sheldon was overcome with joy. "If I’m getting emotional, it’s because I’ve made a dream come true," he told the international website of Eurovision.

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What are Sheldon Riley's odds?

Eurovisionworld has put together all the bookmakers' odds for this edition of the Song Contest. They estimate that Sheldon Riley could make it to a 12th spot out of 25. Still, it is not unthinkable that the Australian star proves them wrong, blows the voters away and reaches a much higher place in the end.

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