Australian broadcaster SBS has confirmed reports that it is “exploring options” in regards to its participation at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. This follows claims that fellow public broadcaster the ABC is no longer involved as the host of Junior Eurovision in Australia.
While SBS is the home of Eurovision in Australia, since 2017 Junior Eurovision has moved to the children’s channel ABC ME. The channel was considered a better fit than the more mature SBS Viceland network that had previously screened Junior Eurovision.
However, it seems things have changed. Earlier this month, Spanish-language Eurovision blog Eurofestivales reported that the ABC was no longer involved with Junior Eurovision.
The blog also claimed that SBS was exploring options in regards to its future participation.
Wiwibloggs reached out to SBS for clarification. A spokesperson responded, saying:
“The [Eurofestivales] report (regarding SBS exploring options) is correct. We continue to explore options regarding participation however have nothing further to add at this time.”
Will the COVID-19 pandemic affect Australia at Junior Eurovision?
While Australia has been a regular participant at Junior Eurovision since its debut in 2015, SBS is yet to RSVP for Junior Eurovision 2020.
This has led some to speculate whether the COVID-19 pandemic may have posed some challenges for the Australian delegation.
Australia currently has strong restrictions around its border. Australian citizens are unable to leave Australia and travel overseas, with border restrictions not expected to be lifted this year. However, exemptions are possible. If Australia’s Junior Eurovision act was able to prove that their “travel is in the national interest”, then an exemption could potentially be granted.
And while SBS could potentially take a year off from Junior Eurovision, it is possible that they may instead look at ways to participate remotely. This could allow the team to stay in Australia rather than risk travelling to Poland in the midst of a pandemic.
Australia has already made changes to its selection process for Eurovision 2021. Rather than using national final Australia Decides, 2020 winner Montaigne has been internally selected for 2021. There’s no word on how her song for Rotterdam will be selected.
In addition, Australia has a new Eurovision Head of Delegation. Earlier this year, Josh Martin was confirmed as the new HoD, replacing Paul Clarke who will remain as Creative Director.
Junior Eurovision 2020 is due to take place in Warsaw, Poland on 29 November. The event will be held at a large television studio, rather than a usual arena-type venue.
What do you think? Would you like to see Australia at Junior Eurovision 2020? Should they participate remotely? Tell us your thoughts below!