The opulence, the splendour, the absolute grandeur that is the Eurovision Song Contest is upon us for another year, and with it all the treasures that European music has to offer. But along with the usual array of the weird and wonderful, this year’s music spectacular featured a performance from a small island nation in the Pacific know as Australia. Yes, after years of being gleeful spectators, we finally, at long last got a chance to participate in 2014. Well, kind of.
NOTE: There’s some mild Eurovision-related spoilers here. Nothing relating to the actual contest. But if you’re keen on waiting till the weekend broadcasts to check out the Australian bit, look away now.
As the event paused to collate the votes coming in from all across Europe in the second semi final, our very own Sapphire Jessica Mauboy hit the stage in front of a massive live crowd, along with a viewing audience somewhere in the vicinity of 20 million people. And she Tore. Shit. Up. Looking an absolute (euro)vision, Mauboy belted out a rendition of her song Sea of Flags, which is now bound to receive quite the boost thanks to the performance.
But it wasn’t Jess that was the real main event for our great, proud nation on Europe’s biggest stage. Leading in to Mauboy’s melodies was a video package led by Eurovision’s SBS host Julia Zemiro, in which she led a fleet of helicopters that dragged continental Australia (with a tethered on Tasmania flapping in the breeze) all the way over to Europe so as to properly allow us to take part.
What followed was a parade of parochial national pride the likes of which have not been seen since the Giant Kangaroos-on-BMXs incident at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics closing ceremony. Rather than playing it cool or keeping things classy, the stage went full Eurovision, with every piece of national iconography that we hold dear on display.
Surfers? Check. Giant koalas? You bet. Sydney Swans players? Got it. Backpacking bushmen with giant fuck-off beers? Hell YES.
It’s everything you’ve ever hoped and dreamed an Australian entry into Eurovision could be, all rolled into one glorious cringe.
The delayed broadcasts of the Eurovision Semi Finals and Final are being shown at reasonable times on the SBS at 8:30pm tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.
Photo: Ragnar Singsaas via Getty Images.