Jessica Mauboy has been chosen by SBS to perform at the invitation of the European Broadcast Union in recognition of our love affair with the over-the-top annual entertainment event.
The contest organisers have become aware in recent years that Australians adore the kitsch grandeur of the performances and production which SBS has screened here for more than 30 years.
They sent out a delegation recently to meet with Mauboy, who wrote a new song with Potbelleez hit maker Ilan Kidron last week to perform in a guest spot during the second semi-final.
While she has yet to decide on its title, Mauboy said the up-tempo song would not only reflect her indigenous heritage but resonate with the European cultures competing.
“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,” she said.
“Every time I listen to it I get another layer of goosebumps, so introducing it to the world is going to be so powerful.”
Her moment at Eurovision will be invaluable in launching her career there with a television audience of more than 180 million estimated to tune in. It is believed her song will also be released online immediately after the performance not only in Australia but throughout Europe. And the Darwin entertainer is hoping her visit may also lead to her first encounter with royalty. “I have a feeling I might get to meet Princess Mary which would be a moment I will never forget,” she said.
SBS hosts Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang will be helping her to negotiate the mammoth production. “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,” Zemiro said. Other Australians who have graced the Eurovision stage but as competitors representing England include Olivia Newton John (who lost to ABBA), the New Seekers and Gina G.
Mauboy will be the first solo artist from outside Europe to perform on the show. SBS has been shadowing the Sapphires star from the moment she discovered she had been chosen to represent Australia and will screen the documentary Jessica Mauboy’s Road to Eurovision on May 10 before the coverage of the second semi-final. The grand final airs on May 11.