JESSICA Mauboy opened her Eurovision 2018 campaign on Thursday with a

fearless performance which channelled Tina Turner in the second semi-final jury show.

Mauboy has been building through 10 days of rehearsals in Lisbon to bring her slay game to the all-important semis.

She was supremely confident on the massive stage, her powerhouse vocals soaring on the made-for-Eurovision pop anthem We Got Love.

Without dancers or props to assist her performance, Mauboy stretched herself with the hip-shaking, leg-stomping choreography trademarked by Simply The Best legend Turner.

 

And there was added Beyonce hair whipping, which Mauboy admits gave her whiplash neck after the first rehearsal.

"I have never done dancing like this so there were a few battles through that first rehearsal and I just kept saying to myself 'it's OK, this is the first one'," she said.

"I love the dancing. I was choked up after each of the next rehearsals

because its really challenging me, I'm kicking my own arse."

A state-of-the-art lighting design and pyro pillars also set off her Eurovision staging.

Mauboy had the crowd in Altice Arena with her from the first note, so much so she broke from script to encourage them to sing along during the final choruses.

The first step in her quest to get into the grand final this weekend was to perform We Got Love for the official juries of the 21 countries performing in her semi.

Jessica Mauboy in Lisbon ahead of Eurovision 2018. Picture: SBS
Jessica Mauboy in Lisbon ahead of Eurovision 2018. Picture: SBS

The broadcast is not shown television but streamed in a secure feed to the juries.

Australia's judging panel features Nine's Richard Wilkins, the ABC's Zan Rowe, comedian and musician Jordan Raskopoulos, hip hop artist L-FRESH The LION and industry executive Millie Millgate.

The Eurovision voting process is a head spin, so here's how it goes.

The jury votes counts for 50 per cent of the total.

The fan vote after Friday morning's televised semi completes the judging and determines the 10 countries to advance to the grand final.

The Big Five - Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the U.K. - plus host country Portugal automatically go through to the grand final but perform during the semis for practice.

The 10 countries to go through from the first semi-final were Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland and Israel.

Jessica Mauboy said she gave herself whiplash during the first rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest. Picture: AP Photo/Armando Franca
Jessica Mauboy said she gave herself whiplash during the first rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest. Picture: AP Photo/Armando Franca

After viewing the jury show in Lisbon, her biggest rivals to make it through include Norway's Alexander Rybak, back after winning the 2009 contest, with the super cheesy, scribbled graphics and fiddle-assisted That's How You Write A Song.

Rasmussen, the striking Viking hipster from Denmark, will attract the spunk vote for his heave-ho chants in Higher Ground.

Moldova's DoReDoS trio of funsters will impress the Eurovision lovers of glitzy kitsch as they act out a cheeky comedic ménage a trois for their song My Lucky Day.

Since ABBA claimed the Eurovision title in 1974 on their way to world domination, Sweden has always been a contender and this year's pop prince Benjamin Ingrosso should make the finals with his Bee Gees-inspired Dance You Off.

And because it's Eurovision, the Netherlands contestant Waylon performing the country rockin' Outlaw In 'Em, with dancers incongruously busting out krump moves, could cowboy his way into the grand final.

SBS will broadcast Mauboy's second semi-final live from 5am (AEST) on Friday and repeat it in prime time from 7.30pm.

 

Kathy McCabe has travelled to Lisbon as a guest of SBS.



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