(Australian Associated Press)
After more than a decade’s absence, country music superstar Keith Urban will be back in the spotlight at the Australian music industry’s night of nights.
The Grammy Award-winner will host the 32nd annual ARIA awards on Wednesday, weeks after tearfully accepting the entertainer of the year gong at the 2018 Country Music Awards in the US.
Urban last appeared at the ARIAs in 2007 when he won Best Country Album for Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing.
He’s been nominated at the ARIAs 12 times since 1992, collecting another five titles along the way.
This time around, as well as hosting, Urban will perform to an audience of some of Australia’s brightest musical sparks, with his Oscar-winning wife Nicole Kidman also expected to attend.
British stars George Ezra and Rita Ora are also slated to hit the stage.
After spending five consecutive weeks atop the Australian music charts with his single Shotgun, Ezra said he was “honoured and flattered” to be invited onto the ARIA stage for what he describes as a special performance.
Ora will perform on the back of a sell-out European tour and less than a week after releasing her second album Phoenix in Australia.
She recently made UK history for the most Top 10 singles by a British female artist following her latest track Let Me Love You.
This year’s nominations have been dominated by women, with Gold Coast singer Amy Shark and indie pop darling Courtney Barnett leading the charge.
Shark is up for nine awards including Best Female Artist and Album Of The Year while Barnett is nominated for eight awards for her second album Tell Me How You Really Feel.
Both will perform, as well as second-time nominee Dean Lewis who is up for five awards.
His single Be Alright spent five weeks at No.1 on the Arias Singles Chart.
Multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana, who has wracked up millions of online views for her bedroom recordings, has been nominated for six awards for her debut album Flow State.
At 42, home-grown country music star Kasey Chambers will become the youngest female to be inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.