Australia to compete in Eurovision again in 2016

Broadcaster SBS says Australia will be readmitted to Europe’s cheesy popfest after success of initial appearance by Guy Sebastian in 2015

Australia will compete for the second time in the Eurovision song contest next year, official broadcaster SBS announced at its 2016 program launch.

Programmer Marshall Hill said following Guy Sebastian’s successful appearance – he came fifth – at the European event in Vienna this year the broadcaster had negotiated for a local performer to represent Australia again.

The name of Australia’s entrant would be revealed in the new year, Hill said at a media event at Walsh Bay on Sydney Harbour on Tuesday.

On its first appearance Australia was guaranteed a spot in the final, but next year it will have to compete in the semi-finals. It had yet to be decided whether Australia would become a permanent participant, the European Broadcasting Union said.

Traditionally the winner of the contest hosts the following year, but if Australia won, the 2017 contest would still take place in Europe, organisers said. SBS would co-host with another European public broadcaster.

Huge news! Australia will compete in #Eurovision in 2016! @julia_zemiro @MrSamPang @SBSEurovision

— SBS Australia (@SBS) November 17, 2015

Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU, said Australia’s participation would help move the contest towards becoming a “truly global event”.

He said: “The feedback we got from viewers, fans, press and the broadcasters after Australia’s participation in Vienna was overwhelmingly positive. We strongly believe the Eurovision song contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event. Australia’s continued participation is an exciting step in that direction.

“It remains to be seen what such an event may look like in the long run.”

The EBU reference group, the governing body of the contest, voted unanimously in favour of Australia’s participation.

“Europe and Australia have a lot in common in regards to cultural values and when a broadcaster is so committed to bring great acts to the contest, the only right thing to do is to be inclusive,” said Frank Dieter Freiling, the group’s chairman. “This is also a way for many Australians to reconnect with their European roots, and celebrate our shared cultural values and understanding through music.”

The chief executive and managing director of SBS, Michael Ebeid, said the broadcaster was thrilled that Australia had been invited back.

“The Eurovision song contest is a wonderful example of cultural diversity and social inclusion and our continued participation offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase Australian musical talent in a truly international multicultural celebration,” he said.

The 2016 contest takes place in Stockholm on 10, 12 and 14 May, with 41 countries expected to take part. Australia is also performing in the youth version, Junior Eurovision, in Bulgaria next year.


Amanda Meade

The GuardianTramp

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