It’s the Asia-Pacific Eurovision spin-off that’s been under development for almost two and a half years. But now it seems organisers are no closer to staging the debut of the Eurovision Song Contest Asia. The EBU has confirmed to fan media that ESC Asia is “still early in the development process”.

Despite speculation that the Asia-Pacific version of the song contest would debut in October 2018, the EBU has confirmed that the contest organisers are still developing the concept. Speaking to fan site ESCXTRA, an EBU spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Work on bringing the Eurovision Song Contest to Asia is still ongoing and EBU are working closely with the organisers to help them bring it to fruition. It’s still early in the development process but once the team are at the point they are able to talk about timings we will be sure to make an announcement.”

This news has come as a surprise to many fans, as it was assumed that progress was substantially more advanced.

While the EBU’s statement has not specifically ruled out Eurovision Asia being held in 2018, the news that the contest is still in the development stages seems to rule out the possibility of a contest being held sometime in the next six months, at least.

The long journey of Eurovision Asia

In March 2016, the EBU first confirmed that SBS — the Eurovision broadcaster for Australia — had signed a deal with the European Broadcasting Union to develop and establish a song contest much like Eurovision, but for the Asia-Pacific region.

At the time, it was expected that the inaugural event would be hosted in Australia at some point in 2017.

Later in 2016, SBS’s content chief Helen Kellie confirmed that the broadcaster was looking at a 2017 launch, but said that 2018 was also a strong possibility.

At that point, SBS revealed the hurdles they faced in organising a pan-Asia-Pacific song contest. SBS had been in talks with broadcasters in China, South Korea and Japan. The talks revealed a series of obstacles, including political tensions between the region’s three big music markets. Chinese law prohibits the broadcast or streaming of South Korean pop music and entertainment.

Blink TV also revealed that they had been in talks with representatives from Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore as potential host cities for the show.

However, in June 2017, a spokesperson for Blink TV shot down any hopes of a 2017 debut. They told Australian media, “The answer is no, it’s not happening until 2018.”

But things were looking positive in August 2017, when the official Eurovision Asia Song Contest website was launched. While no launch date was given for the contest, the site said up to 20 counties would compete in the contest’s debut. Since then, the site has published no further news about the contest and has not been updated since October 2017.

In January this year, Kazakhstan media reported that broadcaster Khabar Agency was in talks with Eurovision Asia organisers regarding participation in the song contest. The Kazakh Ministry of Information and Communications also claimed that Eurovision Asia would be held in October 2018. However, this date was not confirmed by the EBU or Blink TV, and fans have noted that Kazakhstan has previously been a source of unfounded Eurovision rumours.

During Eurovision 2018, things got even more complicated. Chinese broadcaster Mango TV was swiftly banned from broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest after they cut two performances from the first semi-final. Mango TV had blocked Ireland and Albania’s performances, as they respectively showed a same-sex couple and visible tattoos, content not permitted on Chinese television.

This raises the issue of how Eurovision Asia could involve performances from countries with strict broadcasting regulations alongside those with more liberal codes.

Broadcasters from the following countries are said to be interested in participating in Eurovision Asia: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea and Vanuatu.

What do you think? Are you surprised at the lack of progress with Eurovision Asia? When do you expect the contest will have its debut? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Read more news on Eurovision Asia here

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Josh
Guest

Plot twist! It NEVER HAPPENS! That seems to be the most likely case at this point!

Jake
Guest

I wonder if Israel will participate in both contests XD

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
Guest
Boycott Jerusalem 2019

I think they should take an inside-out instead of outside-in approach to introduce Eurovision to Asia. Let Australia host it’s own national song contest among the states, then expend to the other Oceanic states and later to the rest of Asia.

Eastman
Guest

Maybe Blink TV (which I understand is a fairly small production company) needs to prove their worth by first hosting an Australian national final. Like how Georgia got the JESC 2017 hosting after their massive national final earlier that year.

Juan Cena
Guest

The only logical reason for a Eurovision Asia is because the main competition can’t really get that much larger. There were 43 countries participating in 2018. If every European country (excluding Vatican City), plus Georgia, Armenia, Israel, Azerbaijan, and Australia, that would be 54 countries in the contest

. I’m doubtful the ESC could handle 60 or more countries participating in the current format. Maybe 60’s the limit, but that would mean 30 entries per semifinal.

PP77
Guest

EBU rules for Eurovision in past few years is limit of 46 countries in contest. That means 2O countries in 2 semi plus Big 5 and host in final. We had 52 countries in Eurovision including Yugoslavia nad Serbia and Montenegro. I
what wull happen if 50 countries want to enter. do we have pre contest like in 1993,1996 ,or rules between 1993 and 2004.

Rasmus
Guest

It would be an disaster with over 20 countries in a semi like in 2007, please EBU no more then 20 and only 2 semis. This is not world cup when they are ruining it with 48 nations in 2022. More is not always better.

PP77
Guest

This means that we see another time overrated in juries points EBU baby Australia in Eurovision song contest.

beccaboo1212
Guest

Australia: Bella Paige (if the minimum age is 16)
China: Tia Ray
Hong Kong: Sophy Wong
Japan: EXILE (I swear, Atsushi Sato and Takahiro Tasaki are amazing!) 😀
Kazakhstan: Zhanar Dugalova
New Zealand: Lorde
South Korea: Hyuna

Can’t think of anything for Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Singapore, and Vanuatu. 🙁

Marcus (Day One)
Guest

It makes me think of the Eurovision Dance contest and how it was ‘Postponed indefinetly’ becuase lack of interest.

I was doubtful from the begining that this would go ahead becuase of contest like Turkvision and how they stuggled to even host the contest some years.

A shame really but I think the EBU tried to preasure things to get moving by launching the website and making a big annoucnment.

Loin dici
Guest
I’m kind of skeptic about it. 1. Time range differences in the eastern and western part of Asia is HUGE. The Western countries and the Eastern countries would have a big gap of timing, which doesn’t advantage one of the broadcasting sides. This is also why Caucasian countries would have been better staying in Eurovision (plus, they have been members of EBU for almost 10 years, duh). What about AU and NZ? They were both culturally closer to Europeans, so their place would be better in Eurovision to adjust their taste culturally. 2. It can limit the influences and things… Read more »
Lila
Guest

In a few months we’re going to get an announcement that Eurovision Asia is “postponed indefinitely.” Just watch. I’ve been hearing very little about this contest and the organization seems to be very all over the place. A lot of the countries they’re trying to get to participate aren’t exactly stable or organized, and I can just imagine how difficult it’ll be to get them all on the same page. It just seems like a nice, and unfortunately I can really see this never happening.

Eastman
Guest

It makes me wonder why they jumped the gun and launched the website saying Eurovision Asia was happening if the very show concept itself is still being developed.

CookyMonzta
Guest

Jon Old Sand (who I assume would be the director of this contest as well) reveals a considerable degree of incompetence if he was involved in this gross miscalculation of the EBU’s readiness to put on a show like the ESCA.

Ana
Guest

I’m sure it won’t happen this year and I’m generally pessimistic about this event. I have a feeling that Europeans are more excited about this than Asians. But it’s a shame because I would really like this to happen.

James
Guest

I’m Asian and I truly am looking forward to this.

Ana
Guest

Great to hear (read) it 🙂

Darren
Guest

Well I guessed it would be happening in October, I mean it’s 3 months away and they hadn’t even decided on a host city.
I do hope this happens though, I think it would be a great opportunity to showcase the music and culture of nations that are too far away to participate in the actual Eurovision, or geographically miles outside Europe or EBU broadcasting areas, like Australia.

Curve
Guest

They should stop inviting Mainland China in the contest in the first place. Remember when Soviet Union did not participate in Eurovision?

Eastman
Guest

The Soviet Union couldn’t participate in Eurovision prior to the early 90s because they didn’t belong to the EBU. The Soviet Union and allies had their own broadcasting union, the International Radio and Television Organisation. In the early 90s, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the IRTO was merged with the EBU and all those broadcasters could enter Eurovision.

Curve
Guest

Plus that. Also, Soviet Union was notorious for blocking any Western kinds of music during those times. And now history is repeating itself but it is occurring in a different country now which is in China.

PP77
Guest

Soviet Union and countries from Intervision, broadcast Eurovision sometimes. they broadcast first time I think in 1968

Adam
Guest

‘Eurovision Asia’ still sounds so weird to me.

Jo.
Guest

Probably in the 2020s, if it ever happens.

Alex
Guest

It’s not dead?

Eastman
Guest

I want to know how they’re going to manage having a live show when the Asia-Pacific region spans so many different time zones (11?). If the show started at 20:00 in Beijing, it would be 16:00 in Dubai, 22:00 in Australia’s east coast and 0:00 in New Zealand.

PP77
Guest

We have same in Europe , when Eurovision start in some countries is 20.00, some 21.00, some 22.00, some 23.00 and some 24.00 , in Austrial is eary morning.

Loin dici
Guest

Yet, PP77, the timing gaps on European countries are generally still close to each other (3-4 time zones, AUS not included). Asia and the Pacifics, however, has 10-12 timing zones. It might sound silly for an Indonesian to watch their hero performing in Azerbaijan, for example. Except when the hype is as good as the World Cup, there’s no problem 🙂

Defne
Guest

I, m sad, they should have started anyway, even with 7 countries, like esc in 1956. I don, t know if for ebu is important to start with many countries.