Asiavision: SBS looking to start contest a year early in 2017

Two years and twice in the top five: Australia’s Eurovision history might be just starting, but it’s already looking very impressive. Dami Im eclipsed Guy Sebastian’s heights at Eurovision 2015, nearly winning the 2016 contest and dominating the jury vote in an absolute landslide. That degree of success seems to have spurred the Australian broadcaster SBS on, as they’ve now confirmed they have plans to bring the first ever Asiavision contest forward a year to 2017.

In comments made to news.com.au, Helen Kellie, the broadcaster’s content chief, said that Dami’s success “renews our confidence in the idea that this is a big brand”. Initially, SBS were hopeful for a 2017 launch but a first contest in 2018 was also a strong possibility. Thankfully, SBS have been doing a lot of work to start preparing already and things are looking up for an earlier start.

Kellie also revealed more details about the first edition and the groundwork for the contest. Asiavision is still just a tentative name, first of all. SBS has also been in talks with broadcasters in China, South Korea and Japan to form a reference group, with the possibility of India also being part of that same group. We are all for some K-Pop vs. Bollywood action on the stage, y’all!

The first edition might not be quite on the same scale as Australia has got used to at Eurovision, however. The plans are set for a final with only 12 countries – which would put the contest more on a scale with some editions of Junior Eurovision as an equivalent. SBS have, however, received “lots of interest” from their regional partners with regards to the contest, which is surely a good sign going forward.

There was also praise for the EBU from Kellie, who said that they have been “incredibly supportive” of SBS’ efforts so far. Eurovision Event Supervisor, Sietse Bakker, spoke to us prior to Eurovision 2016. In that interview, he said that there is even a possibility that the winner of Asiavision could go on to Eurovision itself as a representative for the region:

Are you excited about the progress being made with the Asiavision contest? Would you be happy to see a smaller first contest if it meant a 2017 launch? Let us know down in the comments section below.

Photo: Courtesy EBU