Fetch me a kangaroo in spandex! A coterie of bowls-playing grandmothers making scones. A phalanx of surfers atop waves made from pure glitter. Pyrotechnic displays that recall the burning cane fields of Broadwater, New South Wales.
And a key change as big as the Australian Bight!
Australia, yes Australia, is off to compete, not just wave flags or scream with excitement or hold giant parties, but COMPETE at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 23 May in Vienna, Austria, whose Wiener Stadthalle arena will now be decked out in both red and white AND green and gold!
The historic decision to include Australia, a country which has avidly watched Eurovision on TV for more than 30 years thanks to one of our national broadcasters SBS, comes hot on the heels of Australian artist Jessica Maubuoy’s triumphant appearance during the interval at last year’s contest held in Denmark, and is intended to add a little Antipodean glamour to this year’s 60th anniversary celebrations and increased Australia’s growing presence at the much-loved event, according to Michael Ebeid, Managing Director of broadcaster SBS:
“We are very excited to have secured this historic opportunity for Australia to be represented on the world’s biggest stage at the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest and are honoured that the European Broadcasting Union has supported us to achieve this ambition. 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.”
The news, which has rightly set the Twittersphere, blogosphere, and just about every social media-sphere known to man this morning alight with fervent excitement (and a little cynicism and disapproval it must be said), comes with the added bonus that Australia can also VOTE in both the two Semi-Finals and the Grand Final, something that has never been allowed before for any non-European country (although Australia, as a multicultural country has citizens from every country living here so it’s practically European, among many other parts of the world, anyway).
Of course, as per the voting rules, we won’t actually be able to vote for Australia (which will be the 40th country to compete in this year’s event) – you can’t vote for your own country – but all of Europe will be able to vote for us, and in the event we win, we will co-host ion Germany next year.
It’s an exciting announcement to put it mildly and here’s how Eurovision and then SBS announced it:
“Australia to compete in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest
Geneva, Switzerland – Yes, you read that right! After a prominent place in the interval act of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Australia will compete in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, to take place on 19, 21 and 23rd of May in Vienna, Austria. Just for once, and for many good reasons!
This year, the Eurovision Song Contest celebrates its 60th anniversary. To give the anniversary celebrations an extra dimension and to walk the talk on this year’s theme Building Bridges, the EBU and host broadcaster ORF invited Australia to compete in the Grand Final of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. This brings the total amount of represented countries to 40.”
The actual singer and song will be announced shortly according to the video (below) featuring the hosts of SBS’s annual Eurovision broadcaster, Julia Zemiro, and Sam Pang, the latter of whom suggested a number of classic Aussie acts as possibilities including AC/DC, Olivia Newton John, Midnight Oil and Air Supply.
And of course as many Aussie grannies clad in lycra as the stage will hold! (Yes I know you can usually only have six performers max on there but AUSSIE. GRANNIES!)
Courtesy of the ABC, Australia’s national broadcaster, are some the Twitter reactions to the event including one by yours truly (!):