Isaiah Firebrace will be the third Australian to compete in a Eurovision final after making it through his semi-final in Kiev. (AP: Efrem Lukatsky)
Australia will compete in Sunday’s Eurovision final after Isaiah Firebrace grabbed one of the 10 qualifying spots from Wednesday’s first semi-final.
The result maintained Australia’s 100 per cent record following Guy Sebastian’s pass to the final in 2015, and Dami Im’s qualification last year.
Firebrace was the third performer of the night with his song “Don’t Come Easy”, but he appeared nervous and had some vocal problems toward the back half of the song.
When the votes from the juries were added to those of fans voting from home, however, he made it into the top 10.
The 10 countries to qualify, announced in no particular order, were: Moldova, Azerbaijan, Greece, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Armenia, Australia, Cyprus and Belgium.
Portugal’s Salvador Sobral — singing the stripped-down ballad Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Both Of Us) and Sweden’s Robin Bengtsson, performing the uptempo pop number I Can’t Go On — went down big in the hall, and are expected to challenge in the final against hot favourite Francesco Gabbani from Italy.
The biggest surprise was the failure of Finland — seen by some pundits as a dark horse to win the contest — to make it through to the 25-song final.
The second semi-final will be held on Thursday morning (AEST), with 10 more countries going through.
Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom — known as the “Big Five” — automatically qualify for the final.