Europe’s shimmering annual music competition this year expanded its borders, with Australian pop star Jessica Mauboy taking centre stage at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, as a tribute to our country’s dedicated love for the kitschy, global television event.
Performing for an audience of about 125 million people worldwide, Mauboy performed her song Sea of Flags, especially written for the event with help from Potbelleez frontman Ilan Kdron ,next to the Australian and Aboriginal flags, held by an astronaut, during a break in Thursday night’s second semi-final.
The historic performance in Copenhagen marks the first time in Eurovision history that a non-European country has been asked to perform. To start the segment, which you can marvel at below, Eurovision host Lise Ronne commented that Australia had “begged us” to join in.
“They sent us gifts, seriously they’ll do anything,” she remarked before the camera cut to a group of Australians in front of the Opera House, led by Julia Zemiro, making their case to some serous Danish Eurovision execs.
In true Eurovision form, Zemiro, and her accompanying Australian stereotypes, hatch a plan to make Australia part of Europe by hoisting the entire Australian continent up by helicopter and dropping it on top of Europe.
Thus began an influx of dancers on the Eurovision stage, dressed as lifeguards, AFL players, surfers, shearers, tennis players and giant marsupials performing their cliche-filled and kitschy take on a Eurovision-come-Mardi Gras number.
Mauboy then took over, clad in an all-gold getup, and after dusting off some initial flat notes, rollicked into a high-energy performance, palpably relishing her moment as a dance diva in the global spotlight. Come the end of the number, an astronaut waving a dual Australian and Aboriginal flag appeared beside, declaring, “That’s one small step for Europe and one giant leap for Australia”.
Mauboy told Fairfax she planned to use her Eurovision exposure as a way in to tour Europe. Though, now her part in the competition is over, she says she is rooting for Austrian contestant Conchita Wurst, a drag queen who has been tagged the competition’s “bearded lady”.”Oh yes, I’m really good friends with Conchita,” she said. “What’s so amazing about her, about Eurovision, is that it allows you to be the artist that you are and take a bit of a risk.”
SBS will broadcast its 2014 Eurovision package, which includes the two semi-finals and the finale, between May 9th and 11th. Mauboy’s performance will be shown during the second semi-final on May 10th at 8:30pm with a documentary following Mauboy’s Eurovision journey from Darwin to Denmark screening just before at 7.30pm.
Watch: Eurovision Song Contest: Down Under (Interval Act by Australia: Jessica Mauboy)