Australia’s Kate Miller-Heidke has qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest’s grand final following a high-energy semi-final in Tel Aviv.
Her operatic rendition of Zero Gravity, a song about her experience of postnatal depression, saw her flying through the air atop a pole, flanked by two backing vocalists.
“Before [the announcement] it was like, shit, shit, shit, and afterwards it was like, thank f—,” a laughing Miller-Heidke told Nine newspapers in an backstage interview after her performance.
Brisbane-born Miller-Heidke will join performers from Greece, Belarus, Serbia, Cyprus, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, San Marino and Slovenia in Sunday’s grand final.
Finland, Montenegro, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Georgia and Portugal all failed to progress.
While half of the votes in the semifinal were cast by a professional jury, the other half came remotely from viewers.
Australia joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 and has scored consistently well each year but never won.
Since rehearsals began in Tel Aviv last week, Miller-Heidke’s performance has been the subject of increasing interest.
Watch Miller-Heidke’s gravity-defying performance:
Iceland’s Eurovision Song Contest entry Hatari made a shocking semi-final debut as they performed in leather and latex against a backdrop of pyrotechnics.
The techno-punk group attracted much attention in the lead-up to this year’s contest on Tel Aviv, Israel, with their darkly energetic track Hatrio Mun Sigra (Hatred Will Prevail).
They received the night’s loudest cheer, combining dance music, heavy rock and pop in front of an international audience at the Expo Tel Aviv.
Britain, as one of the “big five” countries, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, is already assured of a place in the grand final.
Last year’s winner, Israel, also does not have to qualify via the semi-finals.
The 10 finalists going through to the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday are:
— Eurovision (@Eurovision) May 14, 2019
The 37-year-old singer told Nine she was surprised by the brutality of the Eurovision process.
“Some amazing acts didn’t get through, I am so devastated about Tulia from Poland and Conan from Portugal, both of whom I thought did world class performances,” Miller-Heidke said.
“They’re my mates as well so that’s a bit sad,” she added. “It’s ruthless, this game.”
Entrants from 10 more nations will compete in the second Eurovision final on Friday.
The second final will screen on SBS on Friday from 5am (AEST), with the final from the same time on Sunday.