In my most recent post, I highlighted why Australia shouldn’t participate as a competing nation at Eurovision. Afterwards I thought to myself, “Why can’t Australian singers represent other countries in Eurovision?” It turns out I was a little late to the party and other countries have been borrowing artists from Down Under for decades!
It all started in 1974, when British-Australian superstar Olivia Newton-John competed for the United Kingdom with the song, “Long Live Love”. She placed a respectable fourth place, losing out to ABBA’s “Waterloo”. Since Eurovision, Olivia has had an enormous film and television career, and is perhaps best-known for Grease and Xanadu. She recently opened the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
The following year in 1975, the United Kingdom sent the band The Shadows with their song “Let Me Be The One”. The song came second behind The Netherlands. A lot of people don’t realise that the lead singer of The Shadows at the time, John Farrar, was born in Melbourne, Australia. John Farrar also served as a backing vocalist for Cliff Richard in 1973!
Then came, arguably, the most successful man in Eurovision history — Johnny Logan. Not many people realise that Mr Eurovision was born in Melbourne. He represented Ireland twice as a singer, in 1980 and 1987, and won both times. He also composed Linda Martin’s entries for Ireland in 1984 and 1992, and came second and first respectively.
The use of Australian artists went a little quiet for a few years, until the United Kingdom chose Brisbane-born Gina G to represent the country in 1996 with the upbeat dance track (and my personal favourite), “Ooh Ahh… Just a Little Bit”. The song finished eighth, losing out to Ireland. The song went on to have huge commercial success throughout Europe, Australia and the USA, and was even nominated for a Grammy in 1998 for Best Dance Track! YAAASSS!
Australia’s presence in Eurovision went quiet for ten years, until a lady by the name of Jane Comerford led a little group called Texas Lighting to Athens in 2006, representing Germany! Their song “No No Never” finished 14th with 36 points, well behind Finnish metal band, Lordi.
Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb
The most recent time Australia had any representation in Eurovision was in 2009, when two songwriters by the names of Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb co-wrote a song called “This Is Our Night”, sung by Sakis Rouvas for Greece in Moscow. The song was a hot favourite leading up to the contest, finishing a solid seventh place.
Australia has also shared a little love with Junior Eurovision. In 2008, a young Melbourne man by the name of Bobi Andonov represented FYR Macedonia with the song “Prati Mi SMS”. The song came fifth, losing out to Georgia. Since then, Bobi has entered Australia’s Got Talent and has gained a large fan base throughout Europe, Australia and the United States.
So, Australia has been competing for years! And has never dropped outside of the top 15. A solid effort, if you ask me.