Australia will be "one-off" entrant to mark 60 years of Eurovision
Song contest has a huge following in Australia; three million people watched last year
Bets being placed as to who will wave the Australian flag in Austria
A swell of excitement is building in Australia after the nation woke up to the news it will be a wildcard entry in perhaps the biggest, brashest, most talentless singing contest in the world: the Eurovision Song Contest.
“Move over Azerbaijan” was the common sentiment on Twitter as Australia mulled which of its performing artists was up to the task of waving a sequined Aussie flag in Austria in May.
A few naysayers pointed out discrepancies in the world map. But if Britain’s Prince Philip can have an Australian knighthood, why can’t Asia-Pacific’s biggest land mass muscle in on a traditionally European contest? Perhaps it’s even time to change the name?
Eurovision explained the logic in an effusive press statement pointing out that Australia’s inclusion would help the contest “walk the talk” of this year’s theme “Building Bridges.”
“It’s a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying; let’s celebrate this party together!” said Jon Ola Sand, the contest’s executive supervisor.
There’s a precedent
As Dr. Eurovision – aka academic expert Paul Jordan - points out in his blog, the contest already includes countries outside Europe. Azerbaijan? Israel?
“Having a country over the other side of the world take part is entirely in keeping with the general ethos of the competition,” he wrote.
“Eurovision is huge down under, 3 million people watched the show last year. With so many European expats (and those Aussies of European descent) it makes sense for Australia to be invited to the party.”
This year marks 60 years of the contest, which will pit performers from 40 countries against each other for the honor (and the huge expense) of hosting the event in 2016.
The competition is known for its kitsch songs and outlandish performances. Last year it was won by bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst.
This year, Australians will be allowed to vote in the semi-finals and grand final, which is watched by some 195 million people worldwide.
Some even dared to dream…. what if we win?
The nation that loves Eurovision also loves to gamble.
So it wasn’t long before Sportingbet offered odds on who would take on the formidable task of out-Eurovisioning the experts.
Early favorites were “X-Factor” entrant Samantha Jade, former “Australian Idol” winner Guy Sebastian and fellow “Idol” singer Jessica Mauboy (who performed in the interval last year).
Outside bets were placed on cricketer Brett Lee and actor, producer and singer, Russell Crowe.
The bookie is paying out $251.00 should Prince Philip appear on stage.
Stranger things have happened.