Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke has been voted into the grand final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after a dazzling performance at the first semi final.
The 37-year-old Queenslander took to the stage in Tel Aviv, Israel about 6am AEST on Wednesday to belt out an operatic rendition of Zero Gravity, a song inspired by her experiences with depression.
Miller-Heidke said after her gravity-defying performance she was “absolutely ecstatic.”
“It’s such an honour to be the first artist voted by the Australian public to represent the country at Eurovision and I hope I’ve done everyone proud,” she said.
“Competing on the world’s biggest stage in front of around 200 million people on a bendy pole five metres tall is no small feat.
“But I’ve had an incredible team behind me – and below me – and would like to thank them for their support.
“I can’t wait to be part of the grand final and see what all the other amazing acts are going to bring to the stage.”
The other countries advancing to the grand final this weekend, screening in Australia on Sunday morning and evening, are Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Slovenia and San Marino.
The remaining ten countries, including the big five of Spain, UK, Italy, France and Germany, will compete at the second semi-final on Friday.
I’m calling it. Australia have the best stage show of this year’s contest. #eurovision
— John Lucas (@JLucas86) May 9, 2019
— Alicja. (@AlicjaKozera) May 14, 2019
— Greger fån Borgå (@kivagreger) May 14, 2019
If Australia don’t win this competition then i really don’t know what to say.. #EUROVISION
THIS IS A MASTERPIECE pic.twitter.com/Yi8Pa15BEC
— | ♡ (@HalisGomez12) May 14, 2019
Eurovision legend Dana International returns
Performer Dana International also returned to the Eurovision stage at the end of the semi-final show, 21 years after she broke ground by becoming the first transgender person to take part in – and win – the contest.
Dana performed Bruno Mars’ hit Just The Way You Are, with “kiss-cam” shots of same-sex and opposite-sex couples affectionately kissing appearing on the big screen.
“Love has no religion, love has no race, love has no limits, love is love. We all deserve to be loved,” she said.
In 1998, Dana International won the Eurovision Song Contest, representing Israel.
Her amazing voice and an unbelievable life story changed everything for many around the world.
— Eurovision (@Eurovision) May 14, 2019