Australian act to perform in Eurovision from home due to COVID travel restrictions

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Australia's Eurovision Song Contest act will perform from home when the competition takes place next month, the country's public broadcaster has said.

Montaigne will perform her track Technicolour "live-on-tape" – a pre-recorded performance that will be played out as if it were live on the nights of the competition.

It comes as organisers are yet to decide whether Eurovision performances will be able to go ahead in the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam at all, amid a surge in COVID-19 cases on the continent.

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James Newman on his new Eurovision song

The head of the Australian delegation and the commissioning editor of the country's public broadcaster SBS said: "After a comprehensive assessment, SBS has decided not to send an Australian delegation and artist to Rotterdam for the Eurovision Song Contest this year.

"We came to this difficult decision after considering the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, including the many factors involved in travelling to and from the event from Australia.

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"SBS and Montaigne are appreciative of the European Broadcasting Union's ongoing support for Australia's involvement in the event, and their commitment to ensuring Eurovision continues amid the challenges COVID-19 presents.

Performer Montaigne added: "Naturally, I'm sad that for two years in a row I have been unable to participate in the live spectacle of Eurovision.

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"Despite that disappointment, it is still an immense privilege to be able to participate and compete in Eurovision, in its fandom and its processes, two years in a row.

"I am still absolutely stoked that I can present Technicolour this year, in whatever form my final performance may come in! It's such a beautiful festivity and not even a pandemic can put it to bed. Eurovision will live forever."

Australia is allowed to perform in the contest due to its membership of the European Broadcasting Union – and the competition has mass popularity down under.

The Dutch government has already approved the presence of up to 3,500 fans to attend a total of nine shows in Rotterdam – rehearsals, semi-finals and the 22 May final, if the state of the coronavirus pandemic allows it.

Fans watch German act S!sters at the 2019 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Pic: AP

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Up to 3,500 fans could be allowed in the arena in Rotterdam. Pic: AP

Eurovision is set to take place across the week beginning 17 May, with the EBU previously saying that four scenarios were being prepared for this year's event to ensure it goes ahead.

These range from putting on the full show as normal, to pre-recorded performances with no live audience.

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