Australia may be as far flung from Europe as a continent can get, but that hasn’t stopped the land down under from being eligible to take part in Eurovision.
The annual song contest is being hosted in Copenhagen, Denmark this May, and for the first time ever, Australia is set to be part of the gloriously kitsch proceedings where a wacky array of pop stars from across Europe put on their glitziest performances, battling it out for pop song supremacy.
While Eurovision 2014 will feature an Australian representative, it’ll only be as a special guest performer. Though not officially part of the competition finals, the European Broadcast Union has invited an Aussie to be part of the event in honour of our country’s obsession with the music contest, as News Ltd reports.
SBS, who has screened the song contest for over 30 years, has selected Jessica Mauboy to represent Australia. Though Aussie singers have appeared to represent other countries across Eurovision history (such as Olivia Newton-John’s 1974 entrant ‘Long Live Love’ for the United Kingdom), Mauboy’s appearance will mark the first time a representative from Down Under is appearing as an official Aussie ambassador.
The ARIA-winning Mauboy’s Eurovision “de-butt” song will be a new track written with Ilan Kidron (of The Potbelleez) during the second semi-final of the competition. The as-yet untitled song is described as an “up-tempo” number that reflects her indigenous heritage as well as resonating with international appeal, says the singer. “The song speaks of ancient dreaming but I also wanted to convey a message that whatever country you represent, you have to bring that culture to the next generation…”
“The song speaks of ancient dreaming but I also wanted to convey a message that whatever country you represent, you have to bring that culture to the next generation,” the 24-year-old performer and Sapphires star explains of the as-yet-untitled tune, which will be performed in front of a television audience of more than 180 million people worldwide.
Enlisted to aid Mauboy’s part in one of the world’s biggest music productions is regular SBS hosts of the Eurovision contest, Sam Pang and Julia Zemiro, with the latter RockWiz host hyping, “I think Europeans will genuinely lose their minds when they see Jess perform. They’ll be thankful she isn’t competing that is for sure.”
In an additional marketing push, the entire process is also being documented by SBS for a TV special titled Jessica Mauboy’s Road To Eurovision, to be screened on 10th May, the night before audiences around Australia gather their nattiest observers and cultural commentators around the telly for the Eurovision 2014 finals on 11th May.
Mauboy’s interval performance will become between Eurovision 2014 participants, such as French trio Twin Twin the “perfect example of the YOLO generation“, Belarus’ maraca-wielding Teo, and Austria’s bearded drag queen contestant, Conchita Wurst (… you couldn’t make this stuff up).
The Eurovision contest has thrown up (pun intended) plenty of memorable performances across its 58 years, including ABBA cementing Sweden’s pop dominance with ‘Waterloo’ in 1974, Canadian warbler Celine Dion bringing home victory for Switzerland in 1988, and 2012 Spanish entrant Pastora Soler being urged by her fellow countrymen ‘not to win’ because it’s too expensive to host the song competition.
The undisputed highlight however has to be the 2006 contest, when the OTT comp was dominated by ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ by Finnish costumed metal band Lordi (not to be confused with a certain 17-year-old New Zealand songstress). Relive the masked horror band’s finest
hour three-ish minutes below.