Junior Eurovision is on the move in Australia. The 2017 grand final will no longer be screened on long-term Australian Eurovision broadcaster SBS — instead it will shift to children’s channel ABC ME.
Both broadcasters confirmed the move today in an announcement. SBS and ABC are Australia’s two public broadcasting television networks, and both are associate members of the EBU. SBS has been screening the Eurovision Song Contest since 1983 and has broadcast the Junior Eurovision Song Contest since it began in 2003. However, SBS does not have a dedicated children’s channel.
Junior Eurovision previously screened on SBS 2 also known as SBS Viceland. The channel was known for its adult-focused programming, which many felt was an unusual home for the family-friendly Junior Eurovision.
ABC ME is a digital channel with programming aimed at school-age children, which the broadcasters say will be a better match for Junior Eurovision.
Marshall Heald of SBS was full of the spirit of JESC when he said, “This is now a great opportunity to reach a youth and children’s audience not available on SBS, to encourage more young Australians to get behind our performer, embrace the fun of the contest, and the spirit of unity and learning about different cultures which Junior Eurovision inspires.”
ABC ME presenter Grace Koh will make the trip to Georgia and will report from the scene. She’ll later be joined by commentators Pip Rasmussen and Tim Mathews for the grand final in November.
The grand final will be broadcast on a delay, screening at 7:30pm (AEDT) on the day of the show. Now that Junior Eurovision no longer uses a public televote, Australian fans will not have to wake up early in order to support their favourite show.
Australia will also compete in Junior Eurovision 2017. Today’s announcement doesn’t give any clues as to who will be making the journey to Georgia, however the ABC has ensured fans the announcement will be made “at a later date”.
Australia’s entry will still be organised by Blink TV with Head of Delegation Paul Clark — the team behind Australia’s previous entries in both Eurovision and Junior Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest will remain broadcast on SBS.
Australia at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Australia made its debut at Junior Eurovision in 2015, where The Voice Kids Australia runner-up Bella Paige performed. She placed eighth with her song “My Girls”, co-written with Delta Goodrem.
Last year Australia was represented by The Voice Kids Australia winner Alexa Curtis. Her song “We Are” placed fifth.
While The Voice Kids Australia supplied Australia’s previous two acts, there was only one series made, which screened in 2014.
Due to the national language requirement, Australia is one of only three countries currently competing in Junior Eurovision who are able to perform in English. However, unlike the Eurovision Song Contest, performing in English does not hold a strong advantage at Junior Eurovision.