Mauboy steers Australia to Eurovision Final
AND we are in. Jessica Mauboy has advanced Australia into the Eurovision 2018 grand final for the fourth consecutive year.
The We Got Love pop princess made the cut in the second semi-final in Lisbon with a confident and crowd-engaging performance, managing to fill the cavernous stage with her force of personality and undisputed vocal power.
The 10 countries to make the cut in the second semi final were Serbia, Moldova, Hungary, Australia, Ukraine, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia and The Netherlands.
Mauboy faces a monumental challenge to win the contest with Cyprus's fiery Eleni Foureira, Norway's polished pop prince Alexander Rybak and Israel's quirky loop queen Netta the popular frontrunners.
Rivalling Rybak for the young female vote is Sweden's Benjamin Ingrosso, who cites the Bee Gees as the inspiration for his falsetto disco number Dance You Off.
Other strong contenders from Mauboy's second semi included Denmark's Viking hipster Rasmussen and his hairy men with the rousing Higher Ground and Moldova's DoReDos with their hyper Eurovision moment which combined window props and comedic cheekiness.
Already in the grand final from the first semi were Cyprus, Israel, Austria, Lithuania, Finland, Albania, Ireland, Bulgaria, Estonia and Czech Republic.
The 20 semi-finalists who made the cut join the Big Five - Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the U.K. - along with host country Portugal who all are guaranteed a spot in Sunday's grand final.
While Mauboy has waxed and waned among the predictions, the down-to-earth Darwin artist has charmed the Eurovision family, winning hearts among fellow contestants and the judges media room.
The Eurovision hosts crossed to her after her performance, offering her a Portuguese tart as a riff on the fact the show is broadcast early in the morning in Australia.
"It's the first time I've had breakfast with that many viewers and it's a couple of hundred million," Mauboy joked.
The Australian pop star and actor has built in strength through the rehearsals and proved to be one of the most popular acts with the audience at Altice Arena who enthusiastically supported her performance by clapping and singing along.
Ahead of Thursday's jury show as she was preparing to launch into We Got Love, the audience started chanting Jessica. That love from the crowd was repeated again during the televised semi-final today and clearly affected this seasoned live performer who broke script during to shout out "sing" to the fans a few times during her act.
She advanced to the grand final courtesy of the jury votes collated from Thursday's non-televised performance combined with the fan votes registered after the semi-final on Friday.
The grand final will air on SBS on Sunday from 5am and is repeated from 7.30pm.
Kathy McCabe travelled to Lisbon as a guest of SBS.