Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest

Well, this is exciting news right!? I don’t think anybody expected that Australia is going to be competing in this years Eurovision Song Contest. There was a brief undercurrent of rumours that they might be in this years show after they got to perform in the interval act last year but for the most part, these rumours were brushed off as one of the classic Eurovision myths.

Here is a little video clip to watch to understand it all a bit better.

So, we are looking forward to May. Not only will there be the 39 countries participating that we knew of already but Australia will be joining them and will automatically enter the Grand Final. This brings the grand total of entries to a rounded off 40 and in the final there will be a total of 27 songs competing. How on earth are we going to get through all of that?

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So anyway, I present to you my opinions on this breaking news and what I think it could mean for the future of the Eurovision Song Contest.

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SBS is the broadcaster who will be involved in Australia’s participation in Eurovision. They have been broadcasting the contest for over 30 years (mainly re-running the BBC broadcast on a delay) and in 2009 they started sending two commentators to each show to broadcast back to the Australian public. It’s well known that Eurovision is very popular in Oz, so popular in fact that they have fans that travel far and wide to come every year to see the contest live. The last two times I have been to the contest I have met some wild fans from Australia and even New Zealand who were very dedicated to the show and loved everything about it. As each year goes on, the contest gets more and more popular in Australia. Last year for example, the contest was seen by 3 million people. That may not seem an awful lot, but think of it like this. That is 3 million people who have turned on their TV to watch the contest at 4-6am in the morning depending on what time zone you are in. I can imagine this year that number is going to at least double.

So why is this happening? The Eurovision Song Contest is celebrating it’s 60th contest this year. They are even putting on a special anniversary show in London this year to mark the occasion and I am happy to say I will be going as well. There is a lot of celebration in the air and the EBU (the organisers of the contest) have agreed to invite Australia to compete in the 60th edition as a wildcard entry. What this will mean is that Australia will bypass the semi-finals completely but will get to vote in both semi-final also. There are going to be a lot of Aussie votes flying around and it seems that they will be doing a 50/50 vote like what the participating countries do, 50% coming from the juries and the other 50% from the public via tele-voting.

It has been said that this is a “one-off” move and that from next year everything will go back to normal. In case Australia was to win, they would co-operate alongside a European country to present the 2016 contest in an Australian way. I would hope that if this was the case, the European country would be the second placed country so that it is all fair. The “one-off” element is interesting to me though, because will it really be a “one-off”?

Let’s face facts. Australia got a special invite last year to be part of the interval act in the second semi-final. They also found a singer and wrote a brand new song to be performed. The singer in question was Jessica Mauboy who is arguably one of the most famous Australian singers around. Last year was meant to be a one off event but yet here we are a year later saying the same thing. It seems like this is some sort of experiment from the EBU to see how it would work to have countries outside of the European zone participating as well. The fact they are competing is suddenly creating a lot of buzz worldwide and excitement in the homeland. The Australian public are obviously going to get right behind this and support their entry and I can imagine there will be a big audience. Are they really going to let all of that go next year if things were to go back to normal, I don’t think so.

What I see happening is an expansion of the contest as we know it today. Worldvision perhaps? You may think I am talking bonkers but it would make sense. Eurovision in itself has become tired in certain areas and needs a bit of a refresh, this is exactly what I think the EBU can see wanting to do to spice it up a bit and make it much more of an event. I see this year as being that experiment in action to see what happens.

Whatever does happen though, let’s all remember one thing. It is just a show. A grand show at that but it’s not about politics (although certain people would make you think so) but about celebrating a night of song, glitz and glam and the fun factor of watching the voting come in. Yes there are a lot of neighbouring votes but it really bothers me when these are put down to be politically encouraged votes as that is not the case. I would put it down to being culturally similar and sharing the same taste in music which sparks the votes between neighbouring countries. With that being said, who will Australia vote for? I can imagine they will be a lot more unbiased than we would automatically think.

So, who is going to be the entrant for Australia this year? My personal choice and what I would dream to see is Dannii Minogue taking the stage. She is due a comeback, she has been recording new music recently and she is well known to European audiences. The Aussies are extremely competitive and whoever they decide to pick I know they will bring it with all guns blazing.

Dannii would make a great entrant though, right?

What are your thoughts? Who would you like to see competing for Australia on May 23rd? Comment and subscribe people!

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