This is one of the more surreal blogs I've posted...
Australians have been loyal and enthusiastic fans of Eurovision over the years and this year it seems that the EBU is rewarding them for their unwavering support. Australia, yes AUSTRALIA have been invited to enter the Eurovision Song Contest!
It might seem a little ridiculous at first but Eurovision already has entrants which lie outwith the conventional borders of Europe; Azerbaijan and Israel. In 1980 Morocco entered and there were plans for Tunisia and Lebanon to take to the stage once upon a time.
Whilst many say that political tensions come to the foreground when it comes to Eurovision, I think it unites us. Having a country over the other side of the world take part is entirely in-keeping with the general ethos of the competition. Eurovision is huge down under, 3 million people watched the show last year. With so many European expats (and those Aussies of European descent) it makes sense for Australia to be invited to the party. The more the merrier I say!
In the press release Executive Supervisor of the ESC, Jon Ola Sand said “At the very heart of the Eurovision Song Contest is the importance of bringing countries together to celebrate diversity, music and culture. We have admired and respected SBS’s support of Eurovision for many years now and wanted to extend the invitation for Australia to join us in this special 60th Anniversary of the Contest. It would be remiss of us to throw the world’s biggest party and not invite our Australian friends, who have such a long history and connection with Eurovision” - couldn't agree more Jon Ola!
This isn't the first time that Australia has featured in Eurovision; practically every year the presenters make reference to those watching Down Under. In 2013 a tribute to Australia's love of the contest was shown during the semi finals, and Australian singer Jessica Mauboy performed as the interval act in the second semi final in 2014. Australian singers have participated for other countries in the Eurovision Song Contest in the past including Olivia Newton John and Gina G for the UK and Jane Comerford who was part of Germany’s 2006 entrants Texas Lightning.
It'll be typical, Australia will enter for a bit of fun and probably win the damn thing! Should Australia win the contest it has been agreed that the broadcaster, SBS, will co-host the contest in a European city with another EBU member - a chance for the BBC to show off its technical skills perhaps?