Australia will used a taped performance in order to compete at this year's Eurovision Song Contest, it has been confirmed.
As part of the contest's back-up measures for 2021, every participating country has been required to pre-record a performance that can be used in the event that they are unable to attend the ceremony in Rotterdam in person next month.
With less than a month to go until the semi-finals take place, Australia has become the first country to announce that it will not be travelling to the Netherlands, meaning that the taped submission from their entrant Montaigne will be played to audiences instead.
Josh Martin of Aussie 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.
"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."
Montaigne, who was reselected to represent Oz after the 2020 contest was cancelled, added: "Naturally, I'm sad that for two years in a row I have been unable to participate in the live spectacle of Eurovision.
"My partner and I had been discussing what video games we would bunker down with in a hotel room in Rotterdam between rehearsals for the final event, and we were excited about it.
"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."
She added: "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."
Montaigne is due to compete in the first of the semi-finals on May 18 ahead of the grand final on May 22.