Among reports and wild speculation that Australia would be returning to Eurovision using a new selection method, broadcaster SBS and producer Blink TV have officially announced they will be embarking on a national final titled Eurovision: Australia Decides.
The event will be hosted on the Gold Coast, Australia’s sixth largest city and recent host of the Australian television awards The Logies and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The local competition will allow for any songwriter in Australia to enter, with the best songs shortlisted and paired with high-profile performers. Both published and non-pubished songwriters can submit entries, with submissions to be made to the SBS Eurovision website before November 4.
Entry rules are similar to the rules seen in most national finals across Europe, with songs not to exceed three minutes, to be an original composition and not have been made publicly available. Entry does, however, rule out the long-seen tradition of Swedish composers entering a foreign national final, as songwriters must hold an Australian citizenship or be an Australian Permanent Resident.
The winning song/singer combination will be determined by a mix of a jury and TV audience, with the jury casting their votes from each singer’s rehearsal performance on February 8. Television audiences will get their vote during the national final broadcast on February 9.
The event will be held at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, which has previously played host to the Gold Coast auditions for The X Factor Australia, as well as serving as the accredited media centre for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Only metres from Gold Coast’s stunning beaches, fans and performers will no doubt be able to soak up the sun and a mojito or two – a taste of what many Eurovision fans will be tasting at Eurovision next May in Tel Aviv.
Australian Head of Delegation and producer of of Blink TV Paul Clarke told Australia’s Fairfax Media that the change in tactic is hoping to uncover a new breed of songwriter:
“We’re hoping to uncover songwriters that have not yet found their way into the spotlight. We really want to champion songwriters and we’re very proud this is a competition which is about original songwriting.”
This marks a significant change from SBS’ previous internal selection process – with the network previously working exclusively with music label Sony BMG and, more recently, working with songwriters DNA Songs from 2016 to 2018.
Australian Eurovision commentators Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst hosted an official announcement from a typically rainy Gold Coast, with Joel saying the national final is going “to be massive”. The pair will also host the televised event on February 9.
The pair were joined by 2016 Australian Eurovision representative Dami Im who performed an acoustic version of “Sound of Silence”. Dami, who hails from the state of Queensland, was “over the moon” that the national final would be held in her home state.
Will Australia’s change from an internal selection to national final guarantee Australia a better result at Eurovision in 2019? Who would you like to see enter the national final? Let us know in the comments below!