Ahead of the ten acts taking the stage tonight in their bid to represent Denmark in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in May, it might surprise many to learn that a ‘Copenhagener’ has already qualified for the final.
Jessica Mauboy, who became the first Australian solo artist to ever perform in Eurovision here in Copenhagen in 2014, when she sang during the interval, is returning to compete once again.
Australia is mad about Eurovision and the selection of Mauboy is a great recognition of the country’s efforts to enter the competition, as her performance in Copenhagen really paved the way for Australia’s entrance as a competing country from 2015 onwards.
In 2014, Jessica made history when she was invited to perform as an interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, being the first non-European solo artist to do so. This time, she’s competing for Australia and a shot at Eurovision glory.
A wondrously joyous event
Responding to being selected as Australia’s contestant for the Eurovision Song Contest, Jessica Mauboy said: “Eurovision is a wonderfully joyous and unique event. It brings together over 40 diverse countries and cultures under one roof to unite us all in music. It shows how much the power of song can transcend differences. I will sing my heart out for Australia, I’m so proud to be officially representing my country and a little bit nervous – mainly about the stress of the dress!”
Jessica is one of Australia’s most successful female artists. She is a proud Indigenous woman from the KuKu Yalanji people (on her mother’s side) and with Timor-Leste heritage from her father. Her musical journey began in 2006 with Australian Idol (an Australian talent show), and since then she has sold over 3.4 million units globally, achieved five top 10 albums, 15 top twenty singles, four ARIA accredited Platinum selling albums and has won two ARIA Music Awards from 24 nominations. Her songs have been streamed globally 158 million times and her videos have been viewed globally 37 million times.
Her performance in Copenhagen in 2014 was recognised by the Australian Head of Delegation to Eurovision, Paul Clarke, who said:
“Jessica Mauboy’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen 2014 opened the door for Australia to compete at Eurovision – before the great moments of Guy, Dami and Isaiah there was Jess, who touched the hearts of the Eurovision directors and proved just how talented our vocalists are. Since then we have always wanted to give Jessica a shot at the competition, and this year the stars aligned. We can’t wait to develop a great song and stage production with Jessica and her team, and recreate her Eurovision style as a galactic soul diva.”
A great track record
The 2018 contest will mark Australia’s fourth year of competing in the contest, following a remarkable record of three top ten finishes, with Guy Sebastian’s fifth place in 2015, Dami Im’s second place in 2016, and Isaiah Firebrace coming ninth in the 2017 contest, which was held earlier this year in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Since joining the competition, Australia’s results of 5th, 2nd and 9th put Australia second only to Sweden over the past three years. While Australia has only competed in Eurovision thrice, many Australians have competed for other countries, including Olivia Newtohn-John for the UK in 1974 and Johnny Logan for Ireland in 1980 and 1987.
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest television music competition and in 2017, the Semi Finals and Grand Final attracted 182 million viewers worldwide and reached more than three million Australians – many who have had to get up early to watch the shows.
The above article first appeared in the CPH Post Australia supplement in January 2018.