Australia will compete in the 60th Eurovision Song Contest final, embraced by the European Broadcasting Union and the 2015 host broadcaster ORF as a “Wild Card” entry.
SBS has secured the television history moment to take place in Vienna, Austria in late May.
The extraordinary deal follows the success of Jessica Mauboy’s performance last year in Denmark.
SBS will provide a Live feed in Australia on Sunday morning and then on Sunday evening on SBS ONE, hosted by Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.
This year as Australia is an official competitor, the Australian public will be also eligible to vote in the contest for the very first time (timezone disadvantaged, much?), although details about how Australia votes are currently under negotiation with the EBU’s international televoting partner and Australian telecom operators. An Australian jury will also be pre-selected.
The historic means also means Australia skips the Semi-Final stage and is automatically through to the Final alongside the “Big 5” countries.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “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. Jessica Mauboy’s performance last year was a truly momentous occasion and achievement. This year we are thrilled to be advancing our involvement by sending an Australian artist to compete for the first time, and presenting Australia with our first opportunity to vote in the contest.”
Executive Supervisior of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand said on behalf of the EBU: “At the very heart of the Eurovision Song Contest is the importance of bringing countries together to celebrate diversity, music and culture. We have admired and respected SBS’s support of the contest for many years now and wanted to extend the invitation for Australia to join us in this special 60th anniversary.”
SBS Eurovision host Julia Zemiro says: “Sam Pang and I have witnessed some pretty incredible Eurovision performances over the years from Conchita’s perfectly groomed beard, to the Russian grannies, but having an Australian compete on the world’s biggest stage is going to be the best douze points moment of this year’s contest. Am I biased? Yes. I can’t wait to get to Vienna and be part of this momentous 60th anniversary celebration.”
Eurovision will be broadcast on SBS from Wednesday May 20 to Sunday May 24.
What happens in 2016 if we win?!!!!