History was made in Vienna earlier this year when Australia debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest. Initially envisaged as a one-off to celebrate the event's 60th anniversary and Australia's long tradition of broadcasting the show, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Australian broadcaster SBS are proud to announce that Australia will participate again in 2016.
"The feedback we got from viewers, fans, press and the broadcasters after Australia's participation in Vienna was overwhelmingly positive," says Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU. "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," Sand continues.
In Vienna, Australia was guaranteed a spot in the final. Next year, Australia will have to compete in one of the two Semi-Finals. Australia's participation is secured for 2016, but it is yet to be decided whether Australia will become a permanent participant in the contest.
"SBS is thrilled to have secured this opportunity for Australia to compete at Stockholm in 2016 and thank the European Broadcasting Union for their invitation. 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. Production partner Blink TV have been integral in supporting our ambition to build Australia's presence on the world's biggest stage and together we look forward to again bringing the Eurovision experience to our screens." says CEO and Managing Director SBS, Michael Ebeid. Earlier this year, Australia was represented by megastar Guy Sebastian who finished 5th in the Grand Final with Tonight Again.
The EBU Reference Group, the governing body of the Eurovision Song Contest, voted unanimously in favour of Australia's participation. The group consists of three elected representatives from the participating broadcasters, the Executive Producer of the upcoming contest, the Executive Producers of the previous two contests, the EBU Executive Supervisor and a Chairman.
"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," says Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Reference Group. “This is also a way for many Australians to re-connect with their European roots, and celebrate our shared cultural values and understanding through music”, he added.
In case Australia wins the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, the 2017 contest will be co-hosted by Australian broadcaster SBS and another European public broadcaster, somewhere in Europe. The next Eurovision Song Contest will take place on 10, 12 and 14 May, 2016, in Stockholm's Globe Arena, co-hosted by Swedish public broadcaster SVT and the EBU. 41 countries are expected to take part.
In addition to this exciting news, Australia will make its debut in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria this coming Saturday when Bella Paige will perform her entry My Girls. The 13th Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be hosted by Poli Genova, who represented Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with her song Na inat. Follow all the action over on the website of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.