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.
“It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying; let’s celebrate this party together!” says Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU.
Michael Ebeid, Managing Director of broadcaster SBS, says: “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.”
ORF Director General Dr. Alexander Wrabetz says: “The song contest has developed in its history to become the biggest TV entertainment event in the world. With the participation of Australia, together with our partners at the EBU and SBS, we have succeeded to lift it to a new global level and to build another bridge for the 60th anniversary. A bridge that spans the globe, starting from the heart of Europe.”
SBS, who are an Associate Member of the EBU, have until 16 March to decide who will represent Australia in Vienna. Australia will be allowed to vote in both Semi-Finals, as well as the Grand Final. Along with a professional jury, possibilities are currently being explored to allow the public to have a 50 percent stake in the Australian vote via televoting.
If by chance Australia does win, SBS will co-host the Eurovision Song Contest in a European city, together with an EBU Member Broadcaster. Participation in 2015 is intended as a one-off, but in case of a victory, Australia will be allowed to send a participant to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016.
Image: Sam Pang and Julia Zemiro – courtesy of SBS