Eurovision. It’s the vodka cruiser of the music competitions – too sweet and headache inducing, but a lot of fun when you’re in the middle of it. But we had questions, so we thought we’d share the answers with you.
Umm why is Australia in it?
Guy Sebastian and Australia were featured in Eurovision in 2015 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition, and as a ‘thank you’ since we’ve broadcast the event since 1983. It was meant to be a one-off, but Sebastian did well and came fifth. And since then we’ve been in a cycle of going, doing well, and coming back the next year. Earlier this year, Eurovision announced Australia has a spot in the comp until 2023.
So anyone can compete?
No, not quite. An invitation must be extended, which happened for us in 2015. And your nation’s official broadcast partner must be part of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – something SBS joined in 1979. Tick and tick.
Were we the first outside Europe to compete?
Nowhere near. We’re the first from the Oceania region, if that softens the blow. Morocco was the first outside the Eurasian group of countries to compete when they stepped up in 1980, also becoming the first to perform a song in Arabic.
Did anyone super famous and successful participate in Eurovision as they were coming up?
We’ve all heard about ABBA kickstarting their fame via Eurovision. But surprisingly (to us anyway…), some big names did go through the comp. There’s been Cliff Richard, Lulu, Olivia Newton-John (for the UK), Engelbert Humperdinck (or, as we used to call him as a child, Engledinck Humperbert…), to name a few.
And how does the voting system work?
Public votes make up 50% of the result and only people in the 41 countries that have participants can vote during the 15 minute window after all the finalists have performed. So you can vote up to 20 times on Sunday morning by telephone and SMS (numbers will be shown on the screen), and via the official app. Juries determine the other 50% of the result.
You can catch Kate Miller-Heidke in action from 5am (AEST) – yes, 5am… – Sunday morning. Go you good thing.