Kate Miller-Heidke has secured her place as Australia‘s representative at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, notching a dominant vote tally at the nation’s first televised decider.
The Brisbane singer’s mercurial performance of Zero Gravity was powerful enough to secure both the evening’s audience vote of 87 points and the jury vote of 48 points. That total of 135 – which was amassed during Australia’s first ever public vote on potential Eurovision contenders – was good enough for a truly historic win.
Miller-Heidke’s performance was defined by an absolute belter of an operatic note, but her dramatic aerial staging – which saw a swaying dancer hoisted metres off the ground – may have helped, too. Classic Eurovision stuff, that.
Electric Fields and Sheppard rounded out the top three.
The show flaunted Australian talent before the contenders even took to the stage. Australian Idol alum Casey Donovan started the show with her take on Guy Sebastian’s Tonight Again, which Sebastian took to a #5 place at Eurovision in 2015. Dami Im, who charged to a #2 finish at the 2016 contest, capped the show off with a solo piano performance of Sound Of Silence moments before the final announcement.
While thousands of fans filled the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre, the event was not universally supported. Around a dozen protesters representing the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement demonstrated outside the venue, calling for artists, fans, and SBS itself to wind back its support of Israel’s hosting duties.
BDS argues that international artists should avoid touring Israel due to its occupation of Palestinian territories. While the movement has successfully called on acts like Lorde to pull out of Israeli concert dates, an SBS spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN the network would carry on with its planned broadcast of May’s Tel Aviv event.
“SBS respects and supports the right for people to express their views,” the network said in a statement.
“SBS has been proudly broadcasting Eurovision for 35 years and we will continue to do so in 2019 because of the spirit of the event in bringing people and cultures together in a celebration of diversity and inclusion through music.”
As it stands, Miller-Heidke will represent Australia on in Israel from May 14.Image: Chris Hyde / Getty Images