The Eurovision Song Contest is back for the 68th year, and this year, there are 37 countries in the 2024 line-up competing for the crown, which was won last year by Sweden's entry, Loreen.


As well as the Big Five (France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany), countries from across the world have selected acts to represent them at one of the longest-running and most-watched non-sporting events in the world!

However, Australia has qualified for another year, and will be represented by Electric Fields, performing One Milkali (One Heart), which incorporates Yankunytjatjara, an Aboriginal language of the Anangu peoples. With this language, the performance will also mark the first time that an Australian/Aboriginal language song has been part of Eurovision.

Australia's participation in the European competition might seem confusing, given the country isn't in Europe. There's some logic behind the choice and legitimate reasons for them to be there, though.

For all the ins and outs on how Australia ended up in the Song Contest, and what happens if they were to win Eurovision, read for all you need to know.

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Why is Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Aussies have been watching Eurovision for more than 30 years and in 2014 they were invited to perform during the interval at the semi-finals.

Then, Australia was given a special one-off chance to compete for the Eurovision title in 2015, the year in which the competition celebrated its 50th birthday. They qualified automatically for a spot in the Grand Final and singer Guy Sebastian finished in a very respectable fifth place.

Eurovision bosses were so impressed with their efforts that Australia was allowed to return on an annual basis – but they now have to qualify for their spot by competing in the semi-finals.

Australia aren't the only non-European country competing either.

Why are Israel and Azerbaijan allowed to compete in Eurovision?

Well, Eurovision isn't strictly geographic. The contest is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which is made up of various broadcasters from countries across Europe and beyond. The BBC is a member of the EBU, as is RTE in Ireland, Rai in Italy, SVT in Sweden and so on. There are 73 member stations from more than 56 countries, and they're entitled to send acts to Eurovision if they wish.

So that's why you see so many countries that you wouldn't usually associate with Europe competing on the Eurovision stage.

What happens if Australia wins the Eurovision Song Contest?

We very nearly found out in 2016, when Dami Im stormed the competition and finished in second place with Sound of Silence. Everyone thought they might have to pack their bags and head Down Under for an Aussie Eurovision.

But that will probably never happen as there's a special rule in place.

If Australia wins the Eurovision it must nominate a European co-host, who will stage the competition on their behalf.

The Eurovision Song Contest has faced significant criticism over its decision to allow Israel to compete in this year’s competition in light of the current situation in Gaza and the Middle East, with some fans and members of the music industry calling for a boycott of the ceremony.

Noel Curran – director general of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organises Eurovision – has said in a statement: "We understand the concerns and deeply held views around the current conflict in the Middle East. We can’t fail to be moved by the profound suffering of all those caught up in this terrible war.

"However, the Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political music event and a competition between public service broadcasters who are members of the EBU. It is not a contest between governments.

"As a member-led organisation, our governing bodies – the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group and the Executive Board – did review the participants list for the 2024 Contest and agreed that the Israeli public broadcaster KAN met all the competition rules for this year and can participate as it has for the past 50 years."

The artists taking part in this year's contest have also faced backlash for not pulling out of the ceremony, including the UK's act Olly Alexander, who signed a joint statement alongside other entrants explaining they "do not feel comfortable being silent".

"It is important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages," the statement read. "We stand united against all forms of hate, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

"We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections. We feel that it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy."

The Eurovision 2024 live final will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Saturday 11th May at 8pm.

You can also check out the full list of Eurovision winners and how many times the UK has won Eurovision.


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