It is sometimes easy to forget just how popular the Eurovision Song Contest is outside of Europe, but nothing could be a clearer indication of that global appeal than the presence in the competition of an Australian performer. Kate Miller-Heidke will lead the Australian challenge at the 2019 contest with her song Zero Gravity, becoming the fifth Australian act to enter the competition since that nation was first invited to take part back in 2015.
And she has a strong record to uphold. Australia finished fifth in 2015, and although they didn’t have to qualify for the final that year, qualification has not been a problem since then. They finished second in 2016 and made the top ten again in 2017. Last year’s twentieth-placed finish was a relative disappointment, but the signs are they could be challenging again this year.
Bookmakers rate Zero Gravity as a 16/1 chance generally, and those odds have been shrinking gradually over the last few days as Tuesday’s first semi-final draws closer. Reaction to Miller-Heidke’s rehearsal performances has been mixed, but the song and the presentation clearly stand out from the crowd and the bookmakers are taking no chances.
As the song suggests, gravity is the theme and Australia have gone for a gravity-defying staging in which Miller-Heidke and her backing singers spend most of the song hovering on swinging poles over an image of the earth. It isn’t something you are likely to forget in a hurry, and the song itself has an uplifting, anthemic quality that will have broad appeal. Qualification from the semi-finals seems assured, and judging by the bookmakers’ odds, Australia’s entry is now closing in on the top five. How far the song can go will depend on the strength of Miller-Heidke’s performance, but there seems to be enough momentum behind it at the moment to suggest that Australia could have a serious contender.