Michael Ebeid, the CEO of SBS Australia, has defended Jessica Mauboy after a historian compared her to an escapee from the fictional Wentworth prison.
On Monday John Kennedy O’Connor told RN Breakfast that Jessica’s performance was “dreadful”.
“I think the joke about Australia being in Eurovision is now over,” he said. “There was enormous delight and welcoming when you came in as this once-off special guest. I think your welcome has now been rescinded and I don’t say that with any glee.”
“I’m sorry. I thought, actually, she’d escaped from Wentworth and been let on stage. It was dreadful. She was describing herself in the media as Australia’s Beyonce. Clearly she’s never seen Beyonce.”
The comments come after Jess — one of the pre-contest favourites with the song “We Got Love” — placed 20th in the competition. That left many Australian fans — myself included — in complete shock. The 2014 interval act, who has won over millions with her charisma, kindness and stunning voice, placed fourth in her semi-final.
SBS CEO Ebeid was not amused by O’Connor’s harsh words, and he clapped back on Twitter, saying the “crabby historian” holds “irrelevant” views.
Luckily the people who matter in Europe all love having Aust in the competition and this crabby historian’s views are irrelevant on every level. Aust is proud of Jessica and her performance in what was a tough year and g8 competition. https://t.co/cFhbDGZFDv
— Michael Ebeid (@michaelebeid) May 14, 2018
Australia’s worst result
The 20th place finish — the result of coming 12th with juries and last with televoters — is Australia’s worst finish since it began competing in 2015. It also marks the country’s first finish outside of the Top 10.
It’s not all bad news. Looking more closely at the results, there was moderate support by the juries with two countries — Denmark and France — awarding the Australian 10 points each. The televote was more troubling, with “We Got Love” receiving just nine points in total (with those points coming from Malta, Denmark and the United Kingdom).
Paul Clarke, the Australian head of delegation, has nothing but praise for Mauboy, who endeared herself to both press and fans with her natural interviews and overwhelming warmth.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t score higher with the public vote, as by any standards Jessica was one of the best singers of the night,” he said. “I’m very proud of her, she couldn’t have represented us better, and I thank her for her generosity of spirit. In my eyes and the eyes of Australia she was a total winner, a total star”.
As an associate member of the EBU, Australia does not have an automatic spot at Eurovision. Instead it must be invited by the Eurovision host broadcaster to participate ahead of each edition. Time will tell whether Israel extends the offer for 2019, but most pundits assume it’s a given.
What do you think of Australia’s poor result at Eurovision? What went wrong? And do you agree with O’Connor’s comments…and delivery? Let us know in the comment section down below!
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Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)