As a Eurovision super-fan. I often get asked questions about Eurovision. Why does no one vote for the United Kingdom? Isn’t it all about politics? Why does Israel enter? In 2015, a new question joined the FAQs. Why is Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest?
And alongside this, so many other questions! What would happen if Australia won? Why don’t other non-European countries enter? Should the USA have a place at Eurovision?
I have attempted to condense facts for you below.
Australia and the Eurovision Song Contest
Australia first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, and have entered every year since then.
Alhough they have only been in the contest for a short time, Australia have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, placing in the top 10 at four out of five contests.
Australia’s best resulted happened in 2016 when Dami Im finished 2nd in the contest. The Sound of Silence has since become a favourite with Eurovision fans.
In 2019, Kate Miller-Heidke combined operatic pop with interplanetary staging catapulting Australia to a top 10 finish.
So it’s safe to say that Australia have made an impact on the Eurovision Contest in a very short space of time.
So why is Australia in Eurovision?
Is Australia in the European Broadcasting Area?
In a previous post, I explained why Israel takes part in the Eurovision Song Contest. In this I explained that being a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is a prerequisite for participation in Eurovision. Any country within the European Broadcasting Area can join the EBU, which includes some countries on the outskirts of Europe.
But Australia is thousands of miles from the European Broadcasting Area, so this isn’t the reason why the country participates in Eurovision.
However, the Australian broadcaster, SBS is an affiliate member of the EBU.
Australia’s History With Eurovision
Eurovision was first broadcast in Australia in 1983 and immediately pulled strong viewing figures. These viewing figures grew with each passing year, gradually building a cult following for the contest on the far side of the world.
In 2010, Australia started it’s own televote and the Australian public could vote for the first time. Although the points did not count towards the Eurovision results, they indicated how Australia would have voted and allowed Australians to interact with the contest for the first time.
As recognition of The country’s long and lasting love for Eurovision, Australia were invited to perform at the Eurovision Semi-Final in Copenhagen in 2014. Jessica Mauboy took to the stage and wowed Europe with a new song called ‘Sea of Flags’. Jessica Mauboy would go on to represent Australia at Eurovision in 2018.
2015 was the Eurovision Song Contest’s 60th birthday. To celebrate, Australia were invited to participate for the first time. This was to be a one off in recognition of Australia’s love for all things Eurovision. If Australia won the contest, they would be invited back to defend their title in 2016.
Australia proved how seriously they take Eurovision by sending one of their most successful musical stars, Guy Sebastian. With the song ‘Tonight Again’ Australia finished respectably in 5th place.
It was announced that Australia’s participation would continue in 2016 and Australia have participated in every contest since.
Australia’s participation was announced on a year by year basis until 2019, when it was confirmed that Australia will take part in the Eurovision Song Contest until at least 2023.
What would happen if Australia won Eurovision?
One of the perks of winning Eurovision is that the contest visits the winning country in the following year. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your nation and promote your culture to the rest of the world.
So does this mean an Australian win at Eurovision would take the contest into the southern hemisphere?
In the event that Australia wins the contest, the Australian broadcaster will co-host the contest with a broadcaster in the EBU. The Australian broadcaster SBS has confirmed that Germany would be their first choice, followed by the United Kingdom.
So what about other countries? Will the USA be joining?
Australia entering the contest has opened the debate about whether other countries should be invited to join Eurovision. There are many other countries who broadcast the contest including China, Canada and the United States. Does that mean that these countries will be invited to participate?
It’s looking unlikely. At present, no plans have been announced for any additional nations to join the Eurovision Song Contest. Although other nations broadcast the contest, no other nation outside of Europe has the same love of Eurovision that Australia does. The broadcasting on the contest in the USA was cancelled on 2019 due to low viewing figures.
However it has been announced the the Grand Finals of Eurovision will be available in the USA on Netflix from 2020 alongside the Eurovision Movie starring Will Ferrell. Again this could open the door to a larger audience for the contest. in the USA.
Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor for Eurovision, refused to rule out the participation of the United States but was clear that the American version of Eurovision would need to be established before this happens. These comments received a mixed reaction from Eurovision fans.
In 2020, Jon Ola Sand will end his time as Executive Supervisor for Eurovision. Could this open a door to other countries joining the contest?
Only time will tell!
So that’s why Australia are in Eurovision!
I hope that has answered the question! Let me know if you have any more questions in the comments section below.
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