The Radio Times logo

Why Australia is in the Eurovision Song Contest - and what happens if they win

Why do countries that aren't even in Europe get to compete?

Published: Tuesday, 10th May 2022 at 4:40 pm
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1

The Eurovision Song Contest is back for the 66th year, and this year, there are are 40 countries in the Eurovision 2022 line-up competing for the crown.

Advertisement

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 the world's biggest singing competitions.

However, Australia has qualified for another year, and will be represented by Sheldon Riley performing 'Not the Same".

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. Plus, they do send some pretty, cool acts each year!

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.

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 2022 Eurovision Song Contest will air on the BBC from Tuesday 10th May to Saturday 14th May – listen to all of this year's Eurovision songs on TIDAL, while the full album of tracks is available on CD and vinyl now.

You can also check out the full list of Eurovision winners and how many times the UK has won Eurovision here. If you're looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

The Eurovision Song Contest is back for the 66th year, and this year, there are are 40 countries in the Eurovision 2022 line-up competing for the crown.

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 the world's biggest singing competitions.

However, Australia has qualified for another year, and will be represented by Sheldon Riley performing 'Not the Same".

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. Plus, they do send some pretty, cool acts each year!

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.

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 2022 Eurovision Song Contest will air on the BBC from Tuesday 10th May to Saturday 14th May – listen to all of this year's Eurovision songs on TIDAL, while the full album of tracks is available on CD and vinyl now.

Advertisement

You can also check out the full list of Eurovision winners and how many times the UK has won Eurovision here. If you're looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content