Guy Sebastian in Eurovision Song Contest Vienna 2015. Picture: Ailura, wikimedia Commons.
Eurovision 2015 set a new precedent this year by inviting Australia to compete in their 60th anniversary event. This one off gesture was meant to be a sign of gratitude for Australia’s long-standing support for the competition. Australia’s public broadcasting channel (SBS) has been playing Eurovision for the past 30 years, and the Australian public is fiercely loyal to keep this tradition going. With 3 million viewers last year at 5am, Australia is pretty dedicated to the Eurovision cause.
With close cultural and political ties to Europe, and SBS being an associate member of the European Broadcast Union, there are ample reasons for Australia to take part in this competition. Australia’s 2011 census also found that 60% of Australia’s citizens’ have European ancestry.
This may be Australia’s first year voting, but it’s not the first time Australian preform. Last year another Australian Idol winner Jessica Mauboy performed the halftime show, (Guy Sebastian, this years entry won the first Australian Idol contest in 2003). Before that Australia has been helping out old Britannia by lending them Gina G and Olivia Newton John. Germany borrowed an Aussie (Jane Comerford) for their 2006 entry and this year Australia’s Katrina Noorbergen co-wrote and will sing backing vocals for Russia’s entry. Australia it seems is almost as bad as Sweden for having too many fingers in the proverbial Eurovision pie.
Eurovision voting has long been criticized for being too political and it remains unclear how Australia will fair during the final vote. With no neighbours to vote for in the final, (poor New Zealand) will Australia give the United Kingdom the coveted 12 points? It seems likely as 40% of Australia still claims British ancestry, and it remains a contented British colony. However, with large minorities from Germany, Serbia, Greece, Italy and Poland it is hard to guess where Australia strategic votes lie.
The predication at this stage is that Australia will do well with potential votes coming from Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Australia is also doing well with betting odds, which have Guy Sebastian winning 10/1. Even if Australia manages to pull this off, Australia won’t host the event on home soil. Instead they will co-host the event with another European country. That is unless Australia has their way, they will win the contest and bring the event down under.
Australians are usually popular abroad, especially in Europe. Now it’s time to see if that really is the case, or if old voting habits die hard among European nationals.