Hate to remind you, but during Eurovision UK viewers won’t be able to vote for representative Michael Rice to win. However, if you’re keen to see the world’s biggest music contest come to our shores, we’ve got a great idea: vote Australia.
Instead of being held Down Under next year, Eurovision rules say that Australia must nominate a European co-host should they win the contest. And although it was previously thought that Germany would be Australia’s number one choice, the UK now has a decent chance of hosting Eurovision if Australia triumph.
At least, that’s according to Aussie entry Kate Miller-Heidke who’ll perform song Zero Gravity at the Eurovision grand final.
“At the moment it’s up in the air between Paris, London and Berlin,” she told RadioTimes.com when asked where the contest will be held should Australia win. “However, it’s a decision that’s out of my hands. But London would get my vote – I lived there for two years previously.”
However, despite Miller-Heidke modestly adding she’ll need “a lot of luck” to win, Australia are now tipped as one of the favourites to top the table in Tel Aviv.
It’s easy to see why. Miller-Heidke pulled off the song’s highest notes strapped to a five-metre pole, using her body weight to sway across the stage in front of two other balancing performers, a gigantic rolling image of Earth’s horizon projected below them.
And yes, if you were wondering, it is terrifying for Miller-Heidke to perform that high up. “It is very scary! I’m five metres tall on a pole specifically tailored for me – my weight and shape – and nobody else can use it!” she said.
“Interestingly, it doesn’t make it harder to sing – although I did still put a stupidly high note in [the song]. Basically, you never want to be too rigid when singing and this takes that away. It’s also a great distraction – I’m worrying about the pole before I come on, not the singing.”
In fact, Miller-Heidke thinks simply getting on stage is actually the scariest part of Eurovision. And that’s easy to believe: before performing, the singer has to run up a ladder with tiny circular rungs, the dress rolled up with Velcro around her, before harnessing herself to the pole’s frame.
Then, when the act before finishes, team Australia only have 30 seconds to wheel all three performers on stage, not forgetting to hand Miller-Heidke a microphone with a giant stick.
And just to make this more impressive, Miller-Heidke has had a relatively tiny amount of time to master this acrobatic show. Although the 37-year-old singer-songwriter has been performing live for decades, she doesn’t have a gymnast’s background. Indeed, during the internal national selection in February, Miller-Heidke performed the song stationary on a platform.
“I loved that performance, but there was something missing,” she explained. “Then me and [the team] sort of drunkenly said one night how great it would be if I tried it out. Next morning I thought ‘f*** it and gave it a go and it just felt right […] It gave me that floaty weightless feeling – between movement and being still.”
It’s this feeling that’s at the heart of Zero Gravity, a track recounting Miller-Heidke’s experience of breaking through postnatal depression, a darkness represented by the “dementor” background performers.
“It’s basically about the depression I had after the birth of my son, Ernie,” she said. “It’s all about that weightless feeling and journey after coming through depression – about shedding that weight. It’s about empowerment when the world comes into focus.
“And the line ‘nothing holding me down’ just felt so good when I wrote it I had to repeat it – a lot. Because, yes, it’s a song about depression, but ultimately it’s meant to be uplifting too!”
The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 18th 2019