Earlier this week, Kazakh media reported claims that Kazakhstan would debut at Eurovision 2018. This set Eurovision fans abuzz, wondering if the 43 acts competing in Lisbon would become 44. But now the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has clarified: this isn’t happening.

The news of a Kazakh debut reportedly stemmed from Bagdat Kodzhahmetov, the director-general of local broadcaster Channel 31.

Tegri News reported the television executive as recently saying, “Today we received an answer from Portugal, according to which we will take singers to the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2018 to take part in the qualifying round first, and in 2019 to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.”

But in order to participate at Eurovision, a country must be a full member of the European Broadcasting Union or — in the case of Australia — an associate member who is specially invited to participate.

Kodzhahmetov claimed to have this sorted too. He told KazInform, “Channel 31 took the initiative, so we became members of the EBU. In case the Kazakh performer wins, the next Eurovision will be held in Kazakhstan.”

But is this true? In a statement to ESCToday, an EBU spokesperson clarified the situation. They explained:

Channel 31 Kazakhstan has indeed expressed interest in becoming a Member of the EBU and hence participate in the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, since Channel 31 is outside the European Broadcasting Area and is also not a member of the Council of Europe, it is not eligible to become an active Member of the EBU.

So we’re not going to see Kazakhstan competing on stage in Lisbon. We’re not sure why Mr Kodzhahmetov seemed so certain this was going to happen, but sometimes that Eurovision fever can’t be stopped.

Another Kazakhstan broadcaster, Khabar Agency, has been an associate member of the EBU since 2016. Likewise, this does not give them the automatic right to participate at Eurovision, however, the EBU could choose to invite them alongside Australia.

But another option exists for Kazakhstan to make it to Eurovision. As the country is located in Central Asia, it is fully eligible for the upcoming Eurovision Asia contest. No broadcasting union membership is required to join, so Channel 31 — which does not belong to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union — could make its Eurovision debut at Eurovision Asia.

Until then, Kazakhstan will have to make do with having been represented at Eurovision by Bulgaria’s 2017 act Kristian Kostov, whose mom is Kazakh.

What do you think? Would you like to see Kazakhstan invited to participate at Eurovision? Should Channel 31 focus on Eurovision Asia? Share your thoughts below!

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Exceeder
Guest
Exceeder

I can’t believe people are still complaining about Australia, they’ve broadcast it over 30 years longer than many countries in ESC have existed plus their culture is distinctly European. Kazakhstan is not European at all, it’s central Asia (not even western Asia like Israel Armenia etc)

Sabi
Guest
Sabi

Kazakhstan’s culture is related to Russia and Turkey (Both ESC countries), palso Kazakhstan is a UEFA member and they are aplaying to becoming Europe Counsil member since almost 20 years. Isn’t enough? + they had brodocasting anually ESC since 2007.

Australia in ESC its just show double standars that EBU veiws had oth others!

ShA
Guest
ShA

Kz is Eurasia. If u look at map you will see that one part is in Europe and the other is in Asia. There is a city, Atyrau in KZ, there is a bridge over Zhayik there connecting Europe and Asia. So it is Eurasia which means Europe and Asia!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Kazakhstan should be able to join because they are inside the border between Asia and Europe, 10% of Kazakhstan is in europe AND 10% of russia is in europe so thats why they should be able to be in the contest. Australia is far from Europa, Kazakhstan is more european than Australia (Geograpichly) I think in 2019 they could join possibly.

Escfan96
Guest
Escfan96

Like Australia weren’t enough…..

AstanaCalling
Guest
AstanaCalling

I can see that happen…

Kazakhstan calling,
here are the results of our voting:

12 points to Russia
10 points to Azerbaijan
8 points to Armenia
7 points to Belarus
6 points to Georgia
5 points to Moldova
4 points to Ukraine
3 points to Malta
2 points to San Marino
1 point to Montenegro

Sabi
Guest
Sabi

You forget add likely 8 -10 points to Turkey (if ever dare to comeback to ESC again) because Kazakh people are Turkish too and their links are strong!

Ron
Guest
Ron

@Astanacalling – Lol Kazakhstan would never give a single point to Armenia. They are Like Azerbaijan 2.0. But yea they would totally vote eastern bloc otherwise.

Sabi
Guest
Sabi

@Ron, actually Armenia & Kazakhstan are good friends and in Kz few Armenians live here and have an active life in that country, but the Kazakh’s won’t give a lot of points to them every year.

fastfoodmusiclover
Guest
fastfoodmusiclover

why is ebu so anti-eurasians?

LiGhts
Guest
LiGhts

Off the topic, but I think it would be amazing to have “like” buttons. You get what I mean?
Happy Christmas, btw.
Greetings from Azerbaijan.

D
Guest
D

If Australia is allowed to compete then Kazakhstan should as well. They’re a hell of a lot more European than Australia is.

Nikos
Guest
Nikos

I wouldn’t mind Kazakhstan to participate, although they are essentially the furthest I’d be willing to stretch the boundaries (sorry Kyrgyzstan lol).

A possible solution for Kazakhstan, move a broadcaster from Astana/Almaty to Atyrau. You still won’t be in the EBU boundary, but you are way closer, and then you have a MUCH stronger argument which could allow the boundary to expand eastward like it did for parts of Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq.

St. Claus + MC
Guest
St. Claus + MC

My favourite was Inis. But I am happy Albania tries something different this year. Hopefully they will keep it in albanian and do not kill the song with revamp. :p Good luck

St. Claus + MC
Guest
St. Claus + MC

lol I am sure this comment shouldn’t be here. I am sorry

azaad
Guest
azaad

Politically, Kazakhstan makes Azerbaijan look downright Scandinavian…

Given that ESC Asia looks to be a distant possibility though in terms of success, just let Asian countries into Eurovision proper. Despite your feelings on Australia participating, you can’t deny that objectively that they send far better songs than the likes of San Marino.

N.N.
Guest
N.N.

We don t need another ex Soviet union country in Eurovision, who will gave points to ex URSS contrie.I also hope.that Australia last participation in Eurovision will be in They start eurovision journey with Jessica.and they can finish with same singer.

Marcus (Day One)
Guest
Marcus (Day One)

Australia on the other side of the planet is invited to participate but a country with 20% of its land in Europe (Russia is mostly in Asia BTW) and a massive interest in the contest isn’t alowed? As much as you argue you can’t say Australia deserves a special invitation but a more European country isn’t allowed to compete. It’s likely that SBS pays a large fee with Sony music providing the money and likely a deal with the EBU. Whereas Kazakhstan would only provide the EBU with a normal participation fee and encourage private broadcasters in country’s that no… Read more »

Magpie
Guest
Magpie

Kazakhstan really wants to join. Could it have been possible to come up with some sort of compromise?

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I’m going to be a bit controversial now. (You have been warned.)
The way I see it now, with the creation of Eurovision Asia, Australia’s broadcasters should switch to the Asia event for 2019 onwards. This is purely for geographical reasons, with a view to one day creating a ‘World Song Contest’.
Likewise, Kazakhstan has its Eurovision Asia outlet, and this is fine if one day the ‘World Song Contest’ dream happens. We’ll all be singing together one day. 🙂

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I agree with you – except it shouldn’t be up to SBS to “switch”. When Eurovision Asia is up and running, the ongoing invitation from the EBU to participate should be withdrawn. It’s not up to the broadcaster to decide.

Also, the idea of a World Song Contest is not appealing to me. It would make the Eurovision final but a mere heat, a stepping stone to the “ultimate” victory. Nah.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I don’t agree with you. Then why don’t you write to kick Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia and Israel out of the contest for your ‘purely geographical reasons’ too ? They’re not in Europe. If we have to make Australia withdrawing from ESC for that stupid reasons, then we have to do the same for the countries that aren’t europeans !

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

That’s alright. I was trying to be polite by not mentioning those other countries. 🙂 But if you’d prefer me to be harsher, just ask.

Jay
Guest
Jay

No, thank you. Sorry. I’m gonna be softer now.

I just think that the argument used of ‘Australia doesn’t have to be in the contest anymore, ’cause it’s not in Europe’ is stupid. ‘Cause many countries like Morroco or those I noticed above participate or participated to the ESC while they’re geographically not european. And I wanted you to know that.

Anyway, I like your dream of a ‘World Song Contest’. It would be fun and would link more people world-wide between them. 😉

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Thanks. I replied in detail, but technology cut me off. Ah well.

Jo
Guest
Jo

Not that I’m saying that Australia should withdraw, but there’s a huge difference between them and those countries that you mentioned above. They are within the EBU zone, so there’s no problem for hosting ESC, having conferences, etc. Baku was already a bit too far in 2012, and logistics always requires a lot of money. This is a big issue for Kazakhstan as well.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

Yeah, but few countries are closer to Baku than let’s say Oslo. Bulgaria, Russia, Israel, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Greece, Turkey… And Reykjavik is far far away, but I think no one would have a problem with them hosting it.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Couldn’t Kodzhahmetov have just been talking about Eurovision Asia instead?
Or maybe he was confused about the membership requirements?
This appears to me as a strange set of statements that create more questions than answers.

Jawnbc
Guest
Jawnbc

About 20% of Kazakhstan is geographically in Europe. About 0% of Australia is.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Haha, yes. At the moment. 😀

Jo
Guest
Jo

OMG! I’m glad you warned us. I just looked up… I didn’t know that big island was Greenland!!

Tony
Guest
Tony

I want Kazakhstan to debut ?? I hope they get the chance to do it.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Can’t believe some people think it’s better to have Kazakhstan in Eurovision instead of Australia.

Yes, let’s invite a second Azerbaijan to the contest – full of corruption and run by a dictator. Then, they too can take advantage of breaking every rule in the book and get away with it.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I definitely see your point, but it could be argued that corrupt countries like these are the ones with broadcasters most in need of a union, to help defend themselves… – at least in theory, I guess.

That is the primary function of the EBU after all, not the contest. Mission statement : The EBU is devoted to making public service media indispensable. We support and strengthen public service media, provide first-class media services and offer our Members a centre for learning and sharing.

KESC
Guest
KESC

“Eurovision is a SONG contest, and it’s all about MUSIC” ~ Samra Rahimli, 2016

Ron
Guest
Ron

Yep, that’s why they should have thrown her country out of the contest after 2009. But, we all know it’s never all about the music – it’s mostly about the music and some benjamins from oil.

St. Claus + MC
Guest
St. Claus + MC

Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are kind of problematic countries in Eurovision. Especially Armenia, they caused much more controversies in the contest and disrespected some of the rules and of course they got sanctioned. I mean, it was just last year when their representative raised the flag of the disputed region in the middle of the show like “We don’t care”. Also in 2015 they had a song with political message and they weren’t even trying to hide it unlike Jamala. But of course the biggest controversy the both countries had was in Esc 2009. Armenia had some monument’s picture on… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

@St Claus – I love how you twist the facts. Armenia is no angel, but Azerbaijan has literally broken every rule in the book. In 2009, they literally cut the transmission of the Armenian entry, then blocked out their voting number and then those people who voted for Armenia by following the performance order were interrogated by the country’s ministry of defense. Also in 2009, Azerbaijani postcard showcased a monument in Iran yet they got away with it. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 Azerbaijan was involved with rigging juries in smaller countries and supplying individual groups with cellphones and SIM… Read more »

St. Claus + MC
Guest
St. Claus + MC

Thats absolutely wrong imo. If any of these countries has to get kicked out of the contest, then it has to be both of them. They are in this together and both of them caused enough troubles in the contest. But of course none of eurofans want that happen, because both of them send amazing songs to Eurovision every year and that is what matters the most. I don’t get why you are taking sides, makes no sense seriously. I am sure both nations are very good and I want to believe that all they want is peace. But obviously… Read more »

Escfan96
Guest
Escfan96

I personally do not want any of them participate in Eurovision anymore. I am bored of them and their Nagorno-Karabakh. ._.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

I rather see them in Eurovision than Australia… Hope they’ll get invited

brennan
Guest
brennan

okay so basically because kazakhstan is less ‘european’ than australia, even though it’s an associate member with a high level of interest in the contest, there’s always going to be an excuse keeping it out

k but to my american ears that sounds a little bit racist

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Right, this was the mistake in inviting Australia in the first place. I admit that Australia have sent nothing but high quality – but if they’re invited, why not anybody and everybody else? You are right – there is no valid reason to exclude Kazakhstan or anybody else.

The reasonable rule of entry was eradicated with Australia’s continuing participation in 2016 – there is no line anymore. As great as Dami Im is, she was not worth this – if longstanding rules mean nothing, then basically anything goes.

Matt
Guest
Matt

They do have more European connections than Australia considering that part of their land area is in Europe and their football federation is in UEFA.

James
Guest
James

Kazakhstan’s e tirw land area falls iutside the Europera broadcasting area. Thw farthest that it xould reach would be the Caucasus mountains Nd only a third of Russia, mostly from west of the Urals.

KESC
Guest
KESC

If Australia can participate, why not invite them as well? I’m sure they would bring something original, in comparison to some other countries.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I hope they do get invited like Australia which, in the end, is in the same situation.

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

They could make make it a switching invitation. One yeard Australia, next Kazakhstan, next Morocco. Just have one guest per year and go switching between all the interested parts. That would make also the invited nation do something of quality, as their next turn wouldn’t be up in another 4/5 years .

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Why don’t we have both? 🙂