Australia joins the Eurovision Song Contest for the third time in 2017. While Australia isn’t actually a European country, they have managed to wriggle their way into the contest thanks to years of dedicated fan-girling.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are in Australia and plan to watch Eurovision on the SBS Network, please be aware this article contains spoilers about who has made it through to the finals of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
While Australia is a part of the English commonwealth, it doesn’t automatically qualify the country for entry into Eurovision. Instead, a country must be a member of the European Broadcasting Union. The EBU is the body that produces Eurovision every year, and to gain entry into Eurovision every year, a country must be a member. Australia is a member, thanks to their local networks, ABC TV and SBS. However, they are only an associate member and this normally doesn’t qualify a country entry into Eurovision. Countries such as the U.S. and Canada are also associate members of the EBU. So are China, India, and Chile.
However, on the 60th anniversary of Eurovision in 2015, Australia was granted an honorary entry into the song contest thanks to its years of dedication to the show. As SBS, the local broadcaster of Eurovision in Australia, pointed out, Australia has been watching Eurovision for longer than some currently participating countries have even existed.
So, in 2015, Australia entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time. Guy Sebastian sang “Tonight Again” with a severe head cold and still managed to place 5th in the competition. It was also the first time Australians were allowed to vote in Eurovision. Along with this, Australia automatically qualified for the finals.
This performance was only supposed to be a one-off event. However, in 2016, Australia turned up yet again and took second place when Dami Im performed “Sound of Silence.” This was also the first year they had to battle it out in the semi-finals in order to qualify for the finals.
This year, it seemed to be a given that Australia is now a member of the Eurovision Song Contest. Their 2017 entry is by indigenous performer Isaiah, and his song is called “Don’t Come Easy.” You can view his official Eurovision performance from the first 2017 semi-final below.
Now, if you thought this was the only way Australia was participating in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, you would be wrong.
This year, not only will Isaiah be performing for Australia in Eurovision, but Denmark has an Australian representative as well. Anja Nissen will perform “Where I Am” for Denmark thanks to her parents’ heritage. While Anja was born in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia, her parents are originally from Denmark. She revealed to SBS that, even though she is performing for another country, she hopes Australians will get behind Denmark.
“I’m really hoping that Australia will support me and I’ve no doubt that there are people in Australia who will support me and have supported me on my whole journey.”
Of course, Australians will get the chance to support Anja thanks to her clearing the semi-final round and making it to the 2017 final of Eurovision. Isaiah also made it through, leading the Sydney Morning Herald to call Eurovision “Aussievision” this year.
Now Australia may have two entries in the final of this year’s Eurovision, but there is one more Australian connection to make.
Australian Liam Clark is the head of press and assistant commentator for Estonia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Originally from Wodonga in Australia, Liam is such a Eurovision fan that he moved to Estonia in a student exchange program in 2011 after watching Estonia perform at Eurovision prior to that. While Liam moved back to Australia and currently resides in Melbourne, he insists he will be supporting Estonia in this year’s Eurovision when asked about his allegiance. You can view Liam’s interview with SBS below.
So, Australians now have three countries to support going into the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
Are you watching the Eurovision Song Contest 2017? Who will you be supporting? Let us know by commenting below.
If you are in Australia, you can view the Eurovision Song Contest on SBS. All the details on local air times are below.
“Semi Final 1
Friday, 12 May at 7.30 p.m.
SBS’s LIVE broadcast of Semi Final 1, where the Australian public can vote, is Wednesday 10 May from 5 a.m.
Semi Final 2
Saturday, 13 May at 7.30 p.m.
SBS’s LIVE broadcast of Semi Final 2 is Friday 12 May from 5 a.m.
Sunday, 14 May at 7.30 p.m.
SBS’s LIVE broadcast of the Grand Final is Sunday 14 May from 5 a.m.”
[Featured Image by SBS]