Editorial: What if Australia wins in Vienna?

With Guy Sebastian fairing quite well in the polls of the fans and bookmakers, more and more people start to wonder what will happen if Australia actually wins the Eurovision Song Contest. There are lots of rumours and speculation, and ESC Daily will filter the facts from the fiction.

So what are the facts? The European Broadcasting Union already confirmed to this website that Australia will be able to defend their title in 2016, but that the shows will be produced in another European participating country. Will that country be Germany, like Christer Björkman already told on Swedish national television? It is a very likely option, but it has been labeled as ‘premature’, by the contest’s Event Supervisor.

ESC Daily’s Dennis van Eersel has taken the time to reflect on the four most obvious options, should Australia indeed win the contest in Vienna, in a couple of weeks time.

OPTION 1: The contest returns to a nation that hosted it in recent years
The last time a winning country declined to host the next year, the contest returned to a country that had Europe’s biggest music show in recent years, as well. There was still a blueprint of the 1976-contest, when The Netherlands decided to take over the job from Israel in 1980. For reasonable logistic reasons, this would of course be a sensible factor for the EBU in 2016 again.

So which nations would fit in this option? Of course Austria, but since Eurovision in optima forma should be a travelling circus, staying in Vienna would not be the first option. Also, returning to Scandinavia after Malmö, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark had the job in recent years, would not fit in that ideal image.

What about a return to Baku, Azerbaijan, with all the logistic, politcal and communication flukes that made the 2012-edition difficult to organize? I’m sure the Azeri would love to do it, but I’m not sure if the EBU is very fond of the idea. The first nation that seems to succesfully apply for this option is Germany. The country hosted to much satisfaction in Düsseldorf in 2011, the contest is alive and popular in the nation and there are many cities which are eager to take the job this time around.

So Christer Björman saying Germany already sealed the deal. It’s not such a strange idea…

OPTION 2: One of the Big-5 members will take on the job
Well, once again, Germany would fit in this option. But why should a Big-5 member get the job, since they already have other privileges? A final with 27 nations is a very long ride. Ideally 26 would be the max. Letting one of the Big-5 members host the contest, together with some Australian presenters, would take away the issue of an extra directly qualified finalist, because BIG-5 and host nation then overlap.

Besides Germany, the most obvious nation is The United Kingdom, of course. Australian – British relations are one of the closest international relationships in existence, marked by culture, institutions and language. The UK is usualy a partner the EBU can rely on, proven by the fact that they got the 60th anniversary show earlier this year. The question remains if the BBC wants the real deal. Back in 1980, they first declined the contest before the EBU turned to the other side of the North Sea and started talking with the Dutch state broadcaster.

The other three nations in the Big-5, Spain, Italy and France, do not seem to be willing to raise their hand out of free will to host Eurovision, due to a decrease of interest for the contest and the high costs of hosting this huge event.

OPTION 3: The runner-up of 2015 will get the right to host in 2016
Another fair option would be to give the rights to host the contest, maybe together with a direct place in the final, to the runner-up of the 2015-edition behind Australia. Which nation will that be? If we should believe the polls and bookmakers, it might be wise to contact the broadcasters in Sweden, Italy and Estonia to check how willing they are to take on the job in 2016.

But who knows, just like last year, we can always be in for a big surprise. This option could be realistic, as it has been used earlier this year when Italy refused to host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest after winning it in Malta. After some weeks of negotiations, runner-up Bulgaria was announced to take over the 2015 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

OPTION 4: A free bidding process for all countries that would like to host
Just like the FIFA and UEFA or the IOC who organize the big Football Championships for nations and the Olympic Games, there can be a bidding process by each nation that would like to host the contest. There is little time to do this, and creating a proper bidding book will take time, so I doubt if this will be prefered by the EBU. Perhaps it would be an option, if there was more time. You would know for sure that the country that gets to host the contest, is really eager to deliver a great show in May 2016.

OPTION 5: Australia will not win the contest
This is not really an option, but should Guy NOT win in Vienna, I guess we’ll just go the country that has won the contest instead…. Will be continued in a couple of weeks in Vienna!