As the nation wakes to the news that Australia has shifted dramatically from a competition favourite to 20th place in the Eurovision Song Contest grand final, many will claim we were robbed.

Certainly, it was perhaps the most intensely competitive year in the better part of a decade, and Europe's voting was unpredictable and erratic as traditional voting blocs split apart and scores went in every direction.

But for the 28-year-old woman who represented Australia on stage and by her own admission sang her heart out, robbed is too harsh a word.

"I don't feel that at all," singer Jessica Mauboy said in the aftermath of one of the most dramatic finishes to Eurovision in memory.

Fronting the media after the grand final in Lisbon, Portugal, Mauboy spoke elegantly and with grace, about the disappointing result for Australia and about her pride in Australia's presence in the iconic competition.


"We have done eight shows throughout the lead-up and in every one I have given my best and done all I can in terms of my process and my focus," Mauboy said.

"Mentally and physically I have done the best of both, going strong in my vocals, going strong in my routine, going strong with the audience and the crowd."

"I really, honestly felt like I gave my all and sung my heart out as much as I could."

Jessica Mauboy said she gave it her all in the finale.

Photo: AP

On the final tally, the competition was won by Israel, with Cyprus, Austria, Germany and Italy forming the balance of the top five.

Having come in fourth place in the second semi-final, Australia's slip to 20th place overall is surprising, reflecting a number of things including Eurovision reclaiming its eccentricity over the growing trend of popular music in the competition.

"There was incredible hype, it was so intense [and] by the time I knew it I was on the edge of my seat in the green room with the Australian delegation," Mauboy says. "The hype around it is incredible."

"I don't know what to think really," Mauboy added. "I did all I could in terms of the performance. You give it your all and you wait for the results at the end."

Netta from Israel wins the 63rd annual Eurovision Song Contest.

Photo: AP

In a gracious gesture, Mauboy paid tribute to the competition's winner – Israel's Netta – and said she deserved to win.

"Netta deserves it, I met her in Israel and I knew then she was such a strong woman," Mauboy said. "To see her up there so empowered, as a female artist and musician, it was really, really gorgeous."

Mauboy said she believed Australia had a strong future in Eurovision.

"To think Australia is now part of [this], we're representing each other, we're competing, we get to write and deliver songs on that stage," she said.

"Getting to the final was all I could think about … and I felt like I won anyway to be there."

Australia's head of delegation Paul Clarke said Mauboy had performed "brilliantly".

"Australia can be proud of the way she performed," Clarke said. "I think Jessica won a lot of hearts and sold a lot of records."

Clarke said that the result was a reminder of the unpredictability of Eurovision.

"I felt in the room there was just this incredible sense that she performed … that was the best performance I have ever seen her give," Clarke said.

Clarke, left, said Australians should be proud of Mauboys performance.

Photo: Michael Idato

Mauboy said she was unaware of the stage incursion in which a serial stage pest surged onto the stage and yanked the microphone from UK entrant SuRie.

The stage invader was intercepted the microphone was returned to her hand a moment later and, as she resumed her performance, cheers erupted in both the arena and the adjacent press centre.

"I had no idea about that until I entered the green room and I was told by the Australian delegation [what had happened]," Mauboy said.

"I really feel for her," Mauboy added. "It's one of the scariest moments for anyone who is up on stage by themselves and someone comes at you. You almost don't know what's going to happen."

But Mauboy paid tribute to SuRie's perseverance.

"She grabbed that mic and she kept singing on and that's her courage, that's her bravery," Mauboy said. "She is really strong and I am really proud of her."

The semi-finalists, including Australia, advancing to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Photo: Andres Putting

Mauboy said the next step for her was to continue making music.

"Doing my thing, singing, gracing different stages and this is just one of them," Mauboy said. "There is more to come."

"I felt strong, I felt empowered," she added. "That stage, it makes you work, but it also empowers you and lifts you. I sang my heart out."

The grand final of the 63rd annual Eurovision Song Contest will air tonight at 7.30pm on SBS; the two semi-finals and grand final can be replayed via SBS On Demand.

The journalist travelled to Lisbon courtesy of SBS.

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Michael Idato

Michael Idato is a Senior Writer based in Los Angeles for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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