Australia’s next representative at the Eurovision Song Contest has been revealed.
South Korean-born singer Dami Im, who burst onto the Australian music scene in 2013 with her powerful voice and flashy costumes, is the representative.
She is seen as a perfect fit for one of the world’s most popular and, at times, peculiar contests.
In the middle of her performance at the Sydney Opera House, former Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst has revealed the name Australian fans have been waiting to hear.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome … Dami Im!”
This year will be Australia’s second as an official entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest.
And after months of speculation, pop star Dami Im has the honour.
“It’s still really fresh for me. I didn’t find out too long ago, and I’m just really excited and honoured to be representing Australia.”
In the lead up to the announcement, the singer spent most of the day at the Opera House shooting interviews and promos.
It is a long way from where she was just a few years ago, when she appeared on the TV singing contest X Factor.
Born in South Korea, Dami Im moved to Brisbane with her family when she was nine years old.
An accomplished singer with a unique personal flair, she wound up winning X Factor.
“X Factor, I guess, was my training ground — week after week, that pressure of learning a new song and performing on live television. It’s a new challenge, and it’s also a test to see how far I can really push myself.”
Last year, under a special arrangement to mark the Eurovision Song Contest’s 60th anniversary, Australia gained automatic entry into the competition.
But this time, Dami Im will have to fight for it in front of an estimated international audience of 180 million people by competing in one of the festival’s semi-finals.
As someone who has run the Eurovision gauntlet and won, Conchita Wurst says the key to being successful is authenticity.
“You have to really believe in what you do. Don’t try to focus too much on what the audience would want or what you think the expectations are. Don’t be like everybody else. Do your own thing. That’s basically the best advice for everybody to have a happy life: Be who you are.”
Dami Im’s song and dance routine remains a secret.
But she says her Korean heritage will offer yet another vision of multicultural Australia when she takes to the stage in Sweden.
“We’ve had Guy Sebastian represent last year and Jessica Mauboy before that. So it says a lot about our country and our diversity, and it’s a good time to showcase that.”
Eurovision 2016 begins in May.