This is a special one-off for the 60th edition of the E.S.C. and will give the ex-pat Eurovision fans in Australia a chance to see their country in the contest that’s been broadcast in Australia since 1983 on S.B.S. (Special Broadcasting Service). They’ve had their own commentary booth since 2012 and last year’s second Semi-Final’s interval act celebrated Australia’s love of Eurovision.
Australia’s presence in the Grand Final and permission to vote in both Semi-Finals has, potentially, blown this year’s Eurovision wide open. They won’t have to worry about giving their neighbouring nations a large amount of points in order to keep them happy, and with an Ashes series and Rugby Union World Cup later this year they sure as hell won’t want to give the U.K. 12 points unless we really earn them.
I also believe that there’s a very real possibility of Australia actually winning Eurovision because they already have this year’s U.S.P. (Unique Selling Point). Part of the reason why Lordi won in 2006 with Hard Rock Hallelujah is because they brought heavy/glam/shock metal to a very pop-orientated event. Last year Rise Like a Phoenix (which to me sounds like an OK James Bond theme and while still a good song, wasn’t as good as Netherland’s second-placed entry Calm After the Storm) won because of how Conchita Wurst looks and what she stands for and represents and who she defies. We also know that Australia will take their only shot at Eurovision glory effing seriously.
European Broadcasting Area
Should Australia win, they will be invited back in 2016 but will not host the contest as is customary. Instead a European city will be chosen (preferably in the country that was runner-up to Australia) and S.B.S. will ‘co-host’ the event. One can assume that means they’ll pay for most of it.
This will not be the first time a non-European nation has competed in Eurovision (if we determine Europe’s boarders by U.E.F.A. membership). Morocco competed in 1980, Tunisia pulled out of the 1977 contest and Lebanon was going to compete in 2005 but withdrew. Qatar has also expressed an interest in participating, while Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Libya are also eligible because they’re within the European Broadcasting Area (E.B.A.).
However, for all my eagerness to see Australia in Eurovision this year, I do feel sad that the 60th anniversary will be without certain nations. Luxembourg, five-times a winner, hasn’t competed since 1993 and was one of the seven nations that took part in the very first E.S.C. Other past champions who will not take part this year for one reason or another are: Monaco (1971), Yugoslavia (1989), Turkey (2003) and Ukraine (2004).
It would also have been nice to see an invitation offered to Liechtenstein and Kosovo, the last bona fide European countries yet to participate. I suppose if you go by U.E.F.A. membership you must include Kazakhstan and Gibraltar too. There are two hopes of seeing the Vatican City in Eurovision anytime soon before anyone asks.
Hopefully Europe will embrace Australia’s participation in Vienna this year and their song is all we end up talking about.
Now, who has AC/DC’s phone number?…