A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Australia 2015: some more thoughts

So Australia will have an entry at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. The news is slowly sinking in. It really is sensational that the country that really is far too far away to participate still get a shot at participating. This could have been the most fantastic news ever.

Having an Australian entry IS a good thing. I am very much looking forward to hear what they will come up with, and the mere thought they feel close enough to Europe to bother with it in the first place is quite breathtaking.

And yet, for a number of reasons, this doesn't feel right. Let me make a list.

My gut reaction was that a final with twenty-seven entries is insanity. The 2007 semi final in Helsinki - 28 entries made it a never-ending evening that resulted in very questionable results - should be enough to convince anyone this isn't a good idea. I suggested already two years ago that the EBU should have fewer entries in the final, going in the other direction feels very very wrong.

Why is the Australian participation revealed now? If they are taking part in the contest like everyone else are, why wasn't this plan disclosed when the official participants' list was made public?

If it was decided only now to have Australia in, months after the official deadline passed, does that mean that any country in the world could be brought in at a late stage if somebody fancies the idea? Can similar exceptions be made for countries like Qatar or Kazakhstan or United Arab Emirates in the future?

It has already been said that Australia will take part only this once, unless they win in Vienna. Then they will have the opportunity to co-host the 2016 contest somewhere in Europe. This one-off rule seems very fishy to me. If Australia was to end in second place - for instance - would the EBU really not allow them to stay put? And if this is a debut - why not treat it like one? Why sprinkle all these advantages - straight into the final, the right to vote in both semi finals - on top of their participation?

What bothers me the most - except for the ridiculously overlong final - is the risk that this whole thing turns into a media prank. That the Australian participation will be seen as a stunt and medial hocus pocus that might steal attention from and even diminish the upcoming final.

Will it be remembered as a real Eurovision or will it be a final within brackets, like the extra Olympic games of 1906? Possibly I am totally overthinking this, but it doesn't feel good. None of this is aimed against Australia but I don't feel anywhere near as enthusiastic about this as I would want to.

So, welcome Australia. Hope you will have fun. But the EBU didn't make it particularly easy for you.


  1. Australia being in a semi final would cause more complaints, because at least giving them a place in the final wouldn't potentially steal a qualifying spot from another country. Also, it wouldn't be fair for one semi final to have more automatic finalists voting than the other, so them voting in both evens it out.

    1. What remains very unclear for me is if Australia's participation is a real participation or not. Is this a debut and if not - what is it? Is Australia a new high-paying member - is it the Big 6 from now on?

      Having uneven numbers of prequalified countries voting in the semis was never a problem in the past, wouldn't be now either. It's all very confusing.

    2. Nah, all it is is a special once-off. Australia gets to perform, Aussies get to vote (yay!), everyone gets to have fun. Australia won't actually get any votes from any countries so there is no danger of them being even in the top 10, and everyone will forget about their participation by next year. It's just a 60th anniversary celebration, and I really believe that's all it's meant to be.

  2. Just a one-off! So long as we beat the UK (and that is absolutely guaranteed!), we'll be happy :)

  3. If it's a one-off it doesn't really seem legitimate to me, so why make so much hype about it. I do believe that if it's a legitimate entry it should have followed the same deadlines and procedures as the rest of the delegations. It frankly would feel like a big spit in the face, especially for countries that go through the process and have to pull out due to economic reasons.

  4. I am also bothered by the total number of 27 songs in the final. Why not reduce the number of songs coming from the semifinals to 18 (or even 16) so we would be back to the familiar 25 (or 23) songs in the final. 28 songs was too much for a semifinal in 2007 but 27 for a final with a long voting attached to it is lunacy.

    I have nothing against Australia taking part, I would feel ok for them to becoma a full member of the EBU and then start taking part regularly as one of the gang. But, like you, this time the novelty might make the contest too difficult and long to work.