Associate EBU Members joining Eurovision are nothing new. Canada took part in Eurovision Young Dancers back in 1987 and 1989. Australia joined Eurovision and Junior Eurovision in 2015 and has never looked back. And in 2018, Kazakhstan surprised everyone by debuting at Junior Eurovision.

Despite the country’s success at the junior contest, the EBU has continually dismissed suggestions that the Central Asian country will join the adult version. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped Khabar Agency — one of the largest networks in the country — from lobbying year after year to be a part of the party.

A news feature on Khabar 24 claims that Europeans are calling for Kazakhstan’s inclusion in the contest due to their success in Junior Eurovision. The Chairman of the Board Erlan Bekkhozhin said:

“[Karakat] made the whole world talk about Kazakhstan already for the second time. Last year, it was Erzhan Maksim, and this time it was the girl Karakat. And the result of those two beautiful performances appeared to be that European countries issued petitions saying that Kazakhstan should start to participate in the adult Eurovision.”

It’s unclear exactly what petitioning entails under his definition of the word. But Khabar is keen to see this as another step down the path to Kazakh representation. Junior Eurovision 2020 runner-up Karakat Bashanova voiced her enthusiasm too:

“I would like to participate in adult Eurovision, but I would be singing in a totally different genre and I would have a completely different style.”

The EBU has toyed with the idea of extending an invitation to Kazakhstan. Two years ago, Jon Ola Sand stated that the inclusion of Kazakhstan is “part of a broader discussion that we have at the EBU”. However, they have continually rejected the idea of Kazakhstan becoming an active member of the EBU, saying in 2017, “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”.

Back in August, the EBU confirmed “at the present time, there are no plans” to invite Kazakhstan to Rotterdam. However, similar statements were made about Kazakhstan and Junior Eurovision back in 2018. And as we know, anything can happen.

Kazakhstan at Junior Eurovision

It is undeniable that Kazakhstan has taken their introduction to Junior Eurovision with great enthusiasm. All three of their entrants have been fancied as potential winners, and they’ve placed runner-up the last two years.

Their latest entry, “Forever” by Karakat Bashanova, carried an extra emotional weight for the young singer as she was honouring her early departed father. The 12-year-old was open about her difficulty in performing the song, but said that thinking about how proud her father would be if he could hear her gave her the courage she needed. She wore a very spectacular dress on the night, with over 133 metres of fabric and a weight of 20kg.

After her second place finish, Karakat expressed joy at her performance, saying that although she didn’t win, she is sure her father heard her song. The Kazakh media also reacted positively to the result, calling it a “victory for the whole of Kazakhstan!

Kazakhstan is a country with substantial talent, and while their addition will definitely be a source of controversy, it will be very interesting to see the mark they make on the contest.

So what do you think? Will you be excited to see Kazakhstan in the adult contest? Who would you like to see representing them? Let us know below!

48 Comments
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Loin dici
Loin dici
1 month ago

I keep on thinking about this… ever Russia or Belarus won the adult contest, will it be easier for Kazakhstan to join the adult contest? It’s especially after Russia won JESC 2017 and Belarus hosted JESC 2018, which would of course imply BTRC invited them, not the EBU and EBU does not have any responsibility on inviting Kazakhstan.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Loin dici

It’s the only JESC or ESC Reference Group who has the power to invite non-member broadcasters to compete. Some have an idea that it’s the host broadcaster, but that is mixing up 2014 when the Danish broadcaster invited Australia to perform as the interval act, while in 2015, the EBU invited them to compete.

OohHoney
OohHoney
1 month ago

Yes! I am 100% on board for Kazakhstan to debut. Semi final 1 needs one more entry to make in even in both.

Also..Eurovision has been posting “Open up your map” and a count down to tomorrow. Maybe the will be allowed to debut in 2021. Fingers crossed

Jane7
Jane7
1 month ago

Thanks but no thanks, let’s remember the EBU’s rules. Australia got a “pass” because it’s been broadcasting Eurovision since the 80’s and many Aussies have european heritage so it’s kinda like Europe over seas.

Fast Food Music Lover
Fast Food Music Lover
1 month ago

Come on, Eurovision… Open up!

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
1 month ago

I don’t think Kazakhstan will debut in 2021 because the semi-final allocation has already been decided and bringing in Kazakhstan would mess that up. However, I could certainly see Kazakhstan debuting in 2022 instead.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

They could just become full EBU members by joining the Council of Europe.

Last edited 1 month ago by Joe
Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago

Stop your uneducated bs. Helena Meraai and Liza Misnikova would definitely want to represent Belarus. Queens!

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago

Gtfo of our community people like you are not welcome.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaagup

Wiwi, please delete Jaagup’s comment.

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaagup

I condemn any violence. I do not approve of dictators. However, that has nothing to do with their validity to be able to display their music to the world.

Laburnum
Laburnum
1 month ago

I don’t understand why people are focusing on the government of the countries rather than the talent and culture they can bring to a song contest. Let the countries compete to represent the people and should that country win then decide whether they should be allowed due to politics. So yes I think Kazakhstan should be allowed t compete in Eurovision because they would bring incredible and diverse performances.

Laburnum
Laburnum
1 month ago
Reply to  Laburnum

To clarify I meant should be allowed to host due to politics if they win

Laburnum
Laburnum
1 month ago
Reply to  Laburnum

Well I don’t see esc as a political contest, some might, but I don’t think we are ignoring the government of (e.g) Kazakhstan by letting them compete because that has nothing to do with it, or at least it shouldn’t. Kazakh artists and culture deserves to be shown on a multinational stage. Belarus I feel is slightly different because (as someone mentioned) the BROADCASTER dropped Val for speaking out against the regime. The broadcaster has the right to drop them if they want obviously but because it was politically motivated it does make me question whether the broadcaster should be… Read more »

Me!
Me!
1 month ago

I personally would prefer EBU trying to get countries back that are already in the European Broadcasting Area & would be members of the EBU

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

Actually, a lot of people give a f*ck. People like Loreen in 2012. As Anke Engelke admirably said as she was giving the German votes that year – “tonight, nobody could vote for their own country, but it is good to be able to vote – and it is good to have a choice…good luck on your journey Azerbaijan, Europe is watching you…”

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago

No hate to Australia but I don’t understand how the EBU lets a country from the other side of the globe to participate in eurovision but not to a country that participates in junior eurovision and neighbours with Russia to participate… Cmon EBU

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
1 month ago

Absolutely. That is the main issue. Culturally and politically, there is nothing European about Kazakhstan (unfortunately), but the same cannot be said for Australia, Canada and New Zealand and it feels like Eurovision is where they belong. Perhaps if the AsiaVision Song Contest finally happens, Kazakhstan will have a home, preferably together with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and together with the other Turkic countries they can be one of the founding nations of the contest – > I know I’m proposing a conservative contest (in the like of Hitler proposing a gay parade) but in order to accept wider issues, countries… Read more »

Domino
Domino
1 month ago

so if the criteria for participation is to have no dictator then please explain to me why Belarus, Russia, and Azerbaijan can participate and not Kazakhstan?

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
1 month ago
Reply to  Domino

Humanity comes before entertainment. I know you mean, but unfortunately we don’t live in utopia. How I wish we were, though… 🙁

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago

Everyone that reads your comment should downvote you ignorant little prick. No one wants you to be part of the Eurovision community.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaagup

Wiwi, please delete Jaagup’s comment.

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Because they don’t fit your agenda? Just stating facts mate.

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaagup

I haven’t used any opinions in my writings. I have stated facts from reliable statistics.

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaagup

First of all, I think you meant your first sentence to be the other way around. Secondly, a country’s political views do not in any way interfere with the country’s ability to make inspiring music. Funnily enough, the states that you have mentioned are the ones that always try to unite the continent with their songs. For example, “what if” and “a million voices”. Lastly, how does not allowing these countries to participate at Eurovision help the people there? I highly doubt that the government would step down because they cannot part take in a music competition. Additionally, the people… Read more »

Loin dici
Loin dici
1 month ago

Probably because their position is disputed – whether they should be members of the EBU or they should be a referred member of the ESC.

But probably also because (excuse me) they look Asian? I mean this is really shallow but… we should consider it.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Loin dici

Yes, shallow…but also racist – the implication being that Australians don’t look Asian? How did Guy Sebastian, Dami Im and Lee Lin Chin look?

Loin dici
Loin dici
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Hey, I’m an Asian myself. I’m pleased SBS have sent Dami Im, Guy Sebastian, or Jessica Mauboy, which would represent the Asian and Indigenous populations of Australia. However when we’re referring to Australia themselves, the demography is still predominantly white and they are a constitutional monarchy under United Kingdom. I can’t say the same with Kazakhstan, which is a Central Asian country with the predominant population being Kazakh people.But if it’s the case then Georgian/Armenia/Azerbaijan wouldn’t be here. I’m confused, and I’m still now, but thank you for the wake-up call. (I’m sorry if my comment becomes the ‘racist’ part… Read more »

Eurovision fan
Eurovision fan
1 month ago

Europe open up!

Mhmm
Mhmm
1 month ago

Not including Kazakhstan in the contest is just pure hypocrisy by the EBU at thi stage. Kazakhstan, unlike Australia, is even partly within the European continent and has a bigger European part than Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey combined. EBU constantly up with different “excuses” for not allowing Kazakhstan, like the country isn’t in the broadcasting area, well nor is Australia? Australia is as far as possible one can get. Like it’s not a democracy? But it’s fine to invite Belarus back to 2021 with its regime that is currently torturing and harassing its people en masse? Please EBU, either… Read more »

ani
ani
1 month ago

it makes NO SENSE as to why kazakhstan isnt in the competition already. Kazakhaphobia is definitely in the ebu

Jaagup
Jaagup
1 month ago
Reply to  ani

Who would you want to represent them? Daneliya would be first for me!

Last edited 1 month ago by Jaagup
Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

Keep them out. Please. They are an authoritarian regime with serious human rights violations – for the EBU to just ignore that, and posters here too, is just wrong. Very wrong.

TD303
TD303
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Yet Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia are participating as well! I don’t see your point. Sure, Kazakhstan and Khabar might not be a full member but neither is Australia and SBS and look how much they have contributed to the contest! I’m all in for Kazakhstan to join! ??

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  TD303

No, you don’t see my point – that’s the sad part.

TD303
TD303
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

It would just be hypocritical to say, you can’t join but you can. But sure, go ahead and think you’re right…

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  TD303

I’m not hypocritical, but yes, the EBU are. This is a problem they created for themselves when they opened up the contest to associate members, throwing out a rule which had served them well for 60 years.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

You feel sorry for me. I feel sorry for the people of Kazakhstan.

Loin dici
Loin dici
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Aren’t some other ESC countries also fulfilling the criteria you mentioned? But EBU want them $$$ I guess, so… answering this will lead us even further the rabbit hole.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
1 month ago

Australia waited 30 years, I think Kazakhstan can wait at least 10.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago

At this point, it seems somewhat reasonable. They’re one of the only non-EBU members who match (if not even exceed) the dedication the members show toward airing Eurovision and Eurovision-related content (Kosovo too, but I wouldn’t hold my breath about them joining anytime soon). At the very least, after the last two years of Junior Eurovision, you’d figure the countries that have given them 12 (a list that already includes Belarus, Georgia – twice in a row no less!, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and the UK, or at least Wales) would stand up for them.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Even forgetting the human rights concerns, there are other things to worry me – the contest is broadcast at 2 a.m. local time, which has televote implications…and also hosting implications in the event of a win.

OohHoney
OohHoney
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

I get up at 5 am to watch and vote in Eurovision. Time makes no difference.

Lollipop ESC
Lollipop ESC
1 month ago

I think, Kazakhstan proved, that they have the love and passion for the Junior ESC and I guess they would be an inspiration for the adult ESC too……so EBU….what are u waiting for? Let them in.

Jeff USA
Jeff USA
1 month ago

As Sennek sung, “it’s just a matter of time” before we see Kazakhstan in the adult contest. They would be a great addition as they have shown us they are enthusiastic, in it to win, and will hopefully bring more diversity into the contest. I can’t wait to see the day Kazakhstan is invited and participates!

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff USA

But what if they win and The Frock Destroyers represent the UK? You’d think they’d make it out of the capital named after a dictator? I DON’T THINK.
No shade to the people of Kazakhstan, I’m sure most of them mean well. Dictatorships are tough, man…

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
1 month ago

I don’t doubt it. I’m sure Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus would love to have Kazakhstan along for the ride.

In the mean time, we in the UK would like Isle of Mann, Jersey, Guernsey, Falklands and Gibraltar all to join please.

waitaminuteholdon
waitaminuteholdon
1 month ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

Gibraltar would QUAKE. C’mon, LLANITOS! x)