Gidday mate! Australia will return to participate at Eurovision 2016. The EBU has today confirmed that following Guy Sebastian’s success in Vienna, SBS has again been invited to participate in Stockholm. But this time, they’ll be be going through the semi-finals like most other countries and will have to win over Europe to advance to the final.
Australia’s participation in Eurovision 2015 was said to be a one-off, as part of Eurovision’s 60th anniversary celebrations. But due to the positive reaction from both fans and media, Australia has again been invited back for another go. But the EBU is careful to note, “it is yet to be decided whether Australia will become a permanent participant in the contest.”
And if Jon Ola Sand’s comments are anything to go by, the EBU are thinking globally. He says, “We strongly believe the Eurovision Song Contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event.” Worldvision, anyone?
Last week the EBU reported that at least 41 countries would be participating in Stockholm, leading to great speculation of who number 41 would be. Names like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Slovakia, and even Morocco were thrown around, but in the end it was the thunder from down under that would be country 41.
Australia was allowed back thanks to a unanimous vote by the EBU Reference Group. And as with 2015, if Australia wins, SBS will co-host the show in Europe in association with another European broadcaster.
The decision won’t please everyone. While there are plenty of fans who are very happy to see Australia in the competition, there are others who argue that Australia should not be eligible as SBS is only an associate member of the EBU, and, well, Australia isn’t geographically part of Europe. But hey – Conchita says it’s necessary.
But there’s no doubt that SBS proved in Vienna that they could deliver a high quality song and performance, which must be hugely appealing to the EBU. It’s like having another Sweden in the show.
Despite one theory that the Eurovision rules had provision for Australia to be added to be Big Five, their return entry will require them to go through the semi-finals. There’s no doubt that the Aussies will love the challenge, but how will they fare with no geographic neighbours to count on? Or will they find support from countries with large diaspora communities in Australia? Or young Aussies backpacking around Europe?
Jessica, Guy, …?
Jessica Mauboy was the first Australian Eurovision performer when she sang in the interval show in Copenhagen, then Guy Sebastian came an impressive fifth place in Vienna with “Tonight Again”. But who will be waving the Australian flag in Stockholm?
SBS promised they’d go even bigger than Guy Sebastian. Check out our wishlist of 10 big Aussie names.
What do you think of Australia’s return to Eurovision? Should they get asked back every year? Who would you like to see represent Australia in Stockholm? Share your thoughts below!
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Our video wishlist of Australian acts for 2015