Breaking News: Australian broadcaster SBS has today confirmed via twitter that Australia is in fact the ‘mystery’ 41st country in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016.
However, next year Australia will have to secure a passage to the final through the semifinals, and there is no guarantee that Australia will become a permanent participant in the contest past 2016.
SBS has not commented on the selection process for next year, but the CEO and Managing Director of SBS, Michael Ebeid, did react to this mornings positive news;
“SBS is thrilled to have secured this opportunity for Australia to compete at Stockholm in 2016 and thank the European Broadcasting Union for their invitation. The Eurovision Song Contest is a wonderful example of cultural diversity and social inclusion and our continued participation offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase Australian musical talent in a truly international multicultural celebration.”
“The feedback we got from viewers, fans, press and the broadcasters after Australia’s participation in Vienna was overwhelmingly positive,” commented Jon Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU. “We strongly believe the Eurovision Song Contest has the potential to evolve organically into a truly global event. Australia’s continued participation is an exciting step in that direction. It remains to be seen what such an event may look like in the long run.”
The EBU Reference Group voted unanimously in support of Australia’s return to the contest and Australia will be under the same conditions it was in 2015, if SBS wins the contest. If SBS is successful, the 2017 contest will be co-hosted by Australian broadcaster SBS and another European public broadcaster. The contest must also be held in a European city.
Last year Australia received a special wildcard in the contest where Guy Sebastian’s “Tonight Again” finished in fifth place in the final. After the contest, it was rumoured that the country would in fact be back after EBU officials and winning broadcaster SVT expressed their interest to have Australia compete again in Stockholm.