Take a listen to Amanda’s mixtape of Australian artists who could perform at Eurovision!
The Eurovision Song Contest has just got a little bit crazier with the news that Australia will compete in this year’s final.
Eurovision, as the name suggests, is a competition for member countries of the European Broadcasting Union.
But organisers have decided to let Australia compete in Austria as the contest celebrates its 60th anniversary.
What’s more, Australia will be fast-tracked straight into the grand final in Vienna on May 23.
The EBU said the country was granted a one-off wildcard because it had a long tradition of broadcasting Eurovision “and a loyal fan base watching the event every year”.
Broadcaster SBS is also an associate member of the EBU.
SBS’s Eurovision co-host Julia Zemiro, in a video post on the Eurovision website, said Australia’s song and artist would be revealed “very shortly”.
“Will we have beginner’s luck and make it to the top 10?” Zemiro said.
“That’s all up to the viewers. And yes, Australia, this year for the first time your vote officially counts. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.”
Australia, via a professional jury, will be allowed to vote in the semi-finals and the grand final.
Contest organisers are also exploring ways to allow the Australian public to vote despite the time difference.
They hailed Australia’s participation as a “historic” move and said it would elevate the show to a “new global level”.
“It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move,” contest supervisor Jon Ola Sand said in a statement.
“It’s our way of saying ‘Let’s celebrate this party together’.”
Australians have competed at Eurovision in the past but they represented the United Kingdom.
Olivia Newton John lost to Swedish pop group ABBA in 1974 while The New Seekers also finished runner-up in 1972. Gina G was eighth in 1996.
Jessica Mauboy provided the interval entertainment at last year’s contest.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said in a statement: “SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years and we have seen how Australians’ love of the song contest has grown during those years.”
SBS has until March 16 to decide who will represent the country.
If Australia wins, it won’t host next year’s contest as is tradition.
Instead SBS will co-host in a European city and Australia will be allowed to defend its title by sending another entrant in 2016.
The move to open up the contest to a country outside Europe is controversial.
“How ridiculous. Geography anyone?” one person posted on Twitter.
“I’m outraged,” another user said.
But fans in Australia were thrilled. AAP