Those who complain that Australia shouldn't participate in the Eurovision Song Contest due to its location, have another five years, at least, in which they can continue to complain about the situation. The Oceania country has managed to secure its position as a contestant in Eurovision for another five years thanks to a deal struck by SBS and their production partner Blink TV.
According to SBS, the previous five performances by Australia in the competition was via an invitation from the European Broadcasting Union. This deal will see Australia's inclusion for at least five more years.
SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin issued the following statement regarding the new deal.
"SBS has been the home of the Eurovision Song Contest in Australia for 35 years and we're thrilled by this invitation to become a more permanent member of the Eurovision Song Contest family. We will continue to showcase Australia's amazing talent and diversity to hundreds of millions of people across Europe and the world. It highlights the power of music to bring people together – even from polar opposite sides of the globe. Thank you, Europe!"The Eurovision Song Contest will air in May and 42 countries have been confirmed as participating this year in Tel Aviv, Israel.
In addition to this new deal, Australia recently hosted its first open vote for the 2019 selection into Eurovision. Previously, the contestant had been chosen by music representatives and the general public were not included in the decision.However, this year, the vote was opened up to include members of the public and ten participants were entered for consideration. On February 9, singer Kate Miller-Heidke won the vote and will be performing "Zero Gravity" -- a song about depression -- at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
While the Eurovision Song Contest is usually considered to be a competition for participating European countries, this isn't actually the case. All countries that are active members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) are entitled to participate. The host country of Israel is a prime example of participating countries that aren't actually located within Europe.
Over the years many EBU members have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, with the list being malleable from year to year. Several countries have also attempted to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest but have failed. The most recent example of this was China, who is an active member of the EBU. However, thanks to the extreme censorship of their broadcast of the show in 2018, the EBU decided against China's inclusion in the event.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2019 will be broadcast from Tuesday, May 14, until Saturday, May 18.