Confirmations for Eurovision 2018 are rolling in, but we’re yet to officially hear if Australia will be invited back for another year. However, rumours are starting to build up suggesting that not only has the EBU invited SBS back for 2019, but the land down under will select their act with some sort of national final.

Last year, Australia confirmed their participation in mid-August. This year, we still haven’t heard whether the EBU’s Reference Group has again approved another guest invitation for Australia to participate. But rumours suggest this is exactly what has happened.

But not only does it sound like the EBU associate member has been invited back again, it also seems that this year Australia will introduce a national final to select their act.

The news surfaced on Twitter, in a tweet from journalist Dean Arcuri. Reporting from the opening of the AGMC National Conference, he noted that outgoing SBS CEO Michael Ebeid had suggested that “Australia will get to have a say in who we send to next years comp”.

Earlier in the week, Australia’s Head of Delegation Paul Clarke left some intriguing comments in a public Facebook group. He said there was “some good news coming”, but that he was unable to say anything more.

This isn’t the first time the idea of an Australian national final has been raised. Last year Paul Clarke spoke of his wish for an Australian national final. He told a fan blog, “We want our own national final, our own competition that can lead up to a winner for Eurovision.”

Clarke also mentioned that SBS had spoken with schlagermaster general Christer Björkman about sharing his Melodifestivalen expertise with Australia. Clarke said, “We talked to Christer Bjorkman about coming to Australia.” He explained that Australia wanted Björkman to help them set up a national final.

The speculation around a national final also follows calls from Australians — both Eurovision fans and casual viewers — for SBS to involve the public in the selection of Australia’s song for Eurovision.

It remains to be seen whether public broadcaster SBS will have the resources to stage a national final on the scale of Melodifestivalen. The Swedish national final — a six-week touring arena show — is a costly production that no other country’s national final matches on scale.

However, Australia may take inspiration from more economic national finals. Britain’s Eurovision: You Decide is a one-night affair featuring six competing acts. It was most recently held at the iconic Brighton Dome, which has an audience capacity of 1,700.

Even more budget-conscious is the format the Czech Republic used earlier this year. They avoided a live show entirely and involved the public through an online vote. Music videos of the six competing acts were released online and fans then had a three-week voting period.

Australia has been an invited guest competitor at Eurovision every year since 2015. Their competing artists have all been internally selected singers with a background on television talent shows and signed to Sony Music.

Australia’s best results at Eurovision came in their first two years. In 2015, Guy Sebastian placed fifth with his funky number “Tonight Again”. The following year, Dami Im won the jury vote and placed second overall with her power ballad “Sound of Silence”.

However, Australia’s luck hasn’t been as strong in the past two years. Last year in Kyiv, Isaiah‘s “Don’t Come Easy” placed ninth overall, but the entry received only two points from televoters, boosted by 171 points from the jury.

In Lisbon, Jessica Mauboy‘s “We Got Love” was last in the televote with just nine points, but also benefited from a more sympathetic jury vote with 20 points. The song finished 20th overall.

Australia’s poor televote results in recent years suggest that SBS might want to get the public involved in the song selection process to help ensure Australia enters a song that will appeal to the public televote as well as expert juries.

What do you think? Should Australia involve the public in their song selection? What sort of selection should they use? Share your thoughts below!

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Kim
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Kim

We need to involve the public and ditch DNA .their song writing is one step up from advertising jingles I’m afraid.We have such great songwriters here and the best way to show case that is to have a competition and get singers interested in these independent song writers.This formulaic way of song writing is so old school it started back in the 80s and it sucked then so SBS hurry up and do it and do it this summer so we don’t have to watch the cricket tennis or golf on the free to air Chanel’s not all of us… Read more »

Mark
Guest
Mark

I do believe Jessica received 90 points from the jury, not 20.

Kim
Guest
Kim

I really don’t care how many points she got the song was meh and so was the year befores Ditch DNA

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

This is what they should’ve done in 2017. And I hope Azerbaijan does the same thing too.

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[…] Gerücht: Australien soll wieder eingeladen werden und es soll einen australischen Vorentscheid geben. Quelle: wiwibloggs [Link] […]

Eurovisionary
Guest
Eurovisionary

If I were SBS, I’d keep Björkman faaar away from my national final.

Mark
Guest
Mark

They just need to ditch DNA. Why use the same songwriters three years in a row?

Eastman
Guest
Eastman

So SBS’s priority is now on running a national final? More evidence that Eurovision Asia is never ever going to happen.

Percival
Guest
Percival

I think it’s also worth mentioning that Australia has some really strong talent that aren’t exactly big names as of yet. Our music taste is also actually quite different from what you normally see on Eurovision -sure, we like camp, but remember that Aussie artists such as Peking Duk, Gang of Youths, Vance Joy, Tame Impala and Flume have all had domestic (and international) hits for their respective genres of music. In fact, the youth here are very passionate about our indie artists now that Spotify and YouTube are now things, it’s just that our mainstream radio has been so… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

I understand the concern about the possibility of a novelty act getting the ticket, but if SBS has avoided this kind of entry on internal selections, they can still do that while organizing a national final. Australia has so much potential in Eurovision and the last 2 entries were so bland. This could be the way to shake things up. At least they should think about what Finland has been doing, It would be better than nothing.

Rose
Guest
Rose

If they do they should send something that isn’t safe. That would be nice.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

I was torn about Dami Im. On the one hand, her song and her performance were a 100% generic industry product. On the other hand, I still liked her more than Ukraine and Russia that year. And her audition video on that talent show she competed in where she was wearing those cat stockings was so lovely. So very lovely.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Both Bulgaria and Australia have used the same songwriters since 2016 for all of their entries. Time to mix things up. Maybe someone up-and-coming can bring something real to the table. Or something that is just 99% generic instead of 100%. That would already make a world of difference.

Geo
Guest
Geo

They should stick to the internal selection, if that worked for them and were succesful all these years since they’re participating, why changing it? Just send Troye Sivan with a crazy pop-dance song (see how successful Mikolas was for Czech Republic)…

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Seeing as so far it has been one record company controlling the entirety of Australia’s entries, how will the proposed national final actually work? The record company has to date paid SBS’s expenses, so will they fund this final? Will it be exclusively artists belonging to the company or an open competition? Will it be a pre-selected artist singing a selection of songs from their forthcoming album? I think chances are it will continue to be a $$$ promotional slot.

Joe
Guest
Joe

That’s what I like to hear! Australia has been doing a great job and I hope this makes it even better.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I’ll be very interested to see how the Australians do in the televote next year, and the years following. If they continue to get such abysmal results, I think we can safely say that their participation has not been welcomed by the actual EBU member states and their participation should be looked at again. The novelty has worn off.

Jon
Guest
Jon

This is fantastic news, and if it comes true, suggests to me that SBS are thinking in the longer term with regard to Eurovision participation. This wouldn’t be a rumour otherwise, in my view.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Well…SBS can think in the longer term all they like, but without the EBU’s invitation there’s not much point. Their participation is still on a year-to-year basis, and SBS aren’t the ones with the power to change that.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Seven people can vote this comment down, but that doesn’t make it any less true!

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Just think – if SBS does run a live national final, then Europeans will be able to experience what those of us down under have done for years: watching the live stream as a leisurely weekend morning activity!

Mark
Guest
Mark

Nothing leisurely about waking up before the sun had risen.

Mardi. Caines
Guest

Yes

It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's
Guest
It's the BBC's fault, not the UK's

There were rumours last year too, I’ll believe it when I see it!

Mark
Guest
Mark

National Final or not, they’re gonna end up sending another snoozefest.

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

yeah, I’d like to see that. Out of the four internally selected acts Australia has sent, I only liked Guy Sebastian… The rest of them were all a big meh for me. Maybe a national final will bring some more diversity, I really don’t wanna see that swedish clean pop ballad kind of sound from Australia anymore. On the other hand, many people obviously did like that so who am I to tell Australia what to do?

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I’m still haunted by a comment I once saw on the SBS Eurovision Facebook group. It was to the effect of “Why does SBS keep sending all these serious singers? We Australians mainly watch Eurovision for all the crazy kitschy acts, so that’s what we should send as our entry!” In other words, this person wanted to send an Australian Scooch instead of Dami Im.

I worry that people like this will be voting in a national final. But then, it won’t be a problem if there aren’t any novelty acts to vote for.

George
Guest
George

Jury and audience split? And it’s not like novelty acts haven’t done well at Eurovision before. Russia’s dancing grandmas? Lasha Tumbai?

But yeah I hear you! It would be a shame if quality is sacrificed for a kitschy act – which is why there definitely needs to be jury involvement.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Maybe it’s time to get the OG Wiggles out of retirement!

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

exactly :'(((
and I think the way sbs markets it as a big glitter fest with drag queens solidifies in everyone’s minds that it is a joke and that ‘yeah we should send a draq queen or some funny joke band from the 90s!’

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

People write all sorts of non-sense and anyway, the people who watch Eurovision for the novelty acts won’t pick up their phones and vote, they’ll leave it for the fans. Also, I think that the age of novetly acts is pretty much done. “crazy kitch” anyway fails to go to the finals And also, Having a famous singer (or even a good singer) doesn’t mean you’ll do well. As an Israeli, we placed our hopes really high on Harel Ska’at an Mei Feingold and they didn’t deliver the goods in real time, while Nadav and Netta (chosen via an X-Factor… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Bring in the HI-5 gang. I’d live to see them perform in the ESC stage with puppets surrounding them while singing abiut the, wonders of childhood imagination.

Lol

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

They DO realize that an Australian version of Scooch is completely satisfactory with a lot of Euro viewers, don’t they? If it helps to free up a qualifying spot in the Grand Final for another Euro entry, they’d welcome an Australian trainwreck entry,

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Keep the would-be-Scooches as far away from the national contest as possible. They, and the guy who wants to see such a trainwreck at Eurovision, are not serious about finishing in the top-half, let alone winning the whole thing.

Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

I think it is great news. Lots of countries are doing internal selection these past few years. It is making it very boring for the Eurovision fandom as we have to wait until Feb/March to hear the songs of our favorite countries. EBU should do Australia a favor and just make them a permanent participant though. I don’t know who are the members of the EBU reference group are but I’m sure they are not going to be reshuffled soon.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

lol people here still don’t understand why we’re even in the contest
a nf would definitely get more people involved and interested though since everything about esc and australia is done internally, and the show is re-commentated and edited with behind the scenes interviews then played on a delayed time since we’re 10 hrs ahead, having a nf would legitimise our participation further rather than standing from afar and seeing a familiar face pop up for 3 minutes among the craziness

Sav001
Guest
Sav001

They have also been airing it live with commentary at 5am since we joined in 2015.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

yeah and i watch it at 5am but only half a mil people watch it live and 1.5mil+ watch it delayed

James
Guest
James

By Aussie TV standards, are those numbers considered great for SBS?

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

it’s on par with shows like the x factor and the voice

cyprus
Guest
cyprus

So australia will probably begin to send nobodies. I cant imagine stars like guy Sebastian and Jessica mauboy would compete in a national final. Its sad

Paul
Guest
Paul

Does that matter though? Netta was unknown and she won the whole thing!!

Eurovision can be a great way for someone to get a break

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

It’s not the nobodies that the people are hung up over; it’s the potential for trainwrecks entering their national contest and making it to Eurovision.