SBS and its production partner Blink TV have secured Australia’s participation as a competitor at the Eurovision Song Contest for the next five years, until 2023, the European Broadcasting Union revealed overnight:
This year will mark Australia’s fifth participation since the country took part for the first time during the contest’s 60th anniversary in 2015.
Until now, Australia’s right to participate was up for consideration year by year. Now, for the first time, a five year guarantee was given to broadcaster SBS.
Home for 35 years
“SBS has been the home of the Eurovision Song Contest in Australia for 35 years and we’re thrilled at this invitation to become a more permanent member of the Eurovision Song Contest family,” SBS commissioning editor Josh Martin said. “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 EBU said the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest reached more than 2.9 million Australians on SBS.
Australian head of delegation and director of Blink TV Paul Clarke is ecstatic about the latest developments: “This is a wonderful validation of what Australia has brought to Eurovision, and we say ‘Thank You Europe!’ for their decision. It’s been 10 years since we first took a team to Eurovision – just Julia and Sam, myself and a cameraman. Since then SBS’s coverage has grown, and the Australian music artists and industry have completely risen to the exciting challenge. Australians have really fallen in love with the joy, and Eurovision has become part of the Australian entertainment calendar. Europe knows it can always expect great music and passion from Australia.”
Australia’s love affair with Eurovision has been a passionate and enduring one and, this year, SBS and Blink TV launched the country’s first ever selection show Eurovision – Australia Decides to determine the artist and song to represent the country on the world’s biggest stage.
A natural progression
The decision to grant Australia the right to participate for the next five years was taken by the Reference Group, the contest’s governing body on behalf of the Participating Broadcasters.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU and one of the permanent members of the Reference Group, said: “We are delighted that Australia has become a more permanent member of the Eurovision Song Contest family. The Australians have long been huge fans of the event with a great number of loyal viewers year on year and when they were invited to participate in the 60th anniversary edition of the contest, we couldn’t have imagined quite how popular their artists would become. It was a natural progression for us to agree to their inclusion as a participant for the next five years as they bring so much to the table and we very much look forward to welcoming them to Tel Aviv to perform, alongside the 41 other exciting participants in what’s sure to be a fantastic celebration of music.”
Australia’s participation this year
After winning over the Australian public and a jury of industry experts on Friday February 8 and Saturday February 9, Kate Miller-Heidke and her song Zero Gravity were selected to represent Australia at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Kate will perform in the second half of the first semifinal on May 14.