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Why is Australia participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Why is Australia participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Australia and the Eurovision Song Contest have a connection that may surprise many given the geographical distance. The ESC has been televised in Australia since 1974. No place on earth is farther from Europe than the fifth continent. But ESC is primarily about concerts and not about place on the world map. Apart from Australia, several non-European countries have already competed in the Eurovision Song Contest. Noah Grell qualified for this year's final for Israel with his song “Unicorn”. Azerbaijan's music duo TuralTuranX lost in the first semi-final on May 9 with the song “Tell Me More”.

But while both countries have been able to participate in the ESC for a long time, Australia only received this honor in 2015. That year, Australia was allowed to participate in the ESC's 60th anniversary music competition. It was originally meant to be a single event, but since then Australia has officially become a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and is therefore entitled to participate in every ESC. After that, Australia will have to compete in one of two semi-final matches to qualify for the final.

In its first appearance in 2015, Australia and its candidate Guy Sebastian (“Again Tonight”) reached fifth place. The following year, “Down Under” even finished in second place: Tommy Im scored a strong 511 points with his song “Sound of Silence” and was beaten by Ukrainian Jamala (“1944”). The country ranked ninth in both 2017 and 2019. A disappointing 20th place in 2018. Last year, Australian contestant Sheldon Riley took the midfield and 15th place with his song “Not the Same”.

This year Australia is sending rock band Voyager, founded in 1999, to the race. In the second semi-final on 11 May, the musicians qualified for the final in Liverpool. The band's singer is Daniel “Danny” Estrin, who grew up in Lower Saxony.