Why is Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Voyager is representing Australia in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. (Chloe Hashemi / EBU)
Voyager is representing Australia in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. (Chloe Hashemi / EBU)

The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest grand final on May 13 is fast approaching.

The UK is hosting this year’s competition in Liverpool as the 2022 winners Ukraine are unable to amid Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the annual song contest, with the UK’s Sam Ryder runner-up with his hit song Space Man.

Some readers (and viewers) may be confused about Australia’s inclusion in the 67th annual competition, however. Read on to find out why it’s taking part and its history in the competition.

Why is Australia in Eurovision 2023?

Australia joined Eurovision in 2015 to commemorate the competition’s 60th anniversary.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Austrian host broadcaster ORF allowed this given Eurovision’s popularity in the country.

According to MailOnline, this was initially supposed to be a one-off appearance for the country, as part of that year’s ‘Building Bridges’ theme. However, Australia has appeared in the competition every year since then.

MailOnline reported that in 2019, Australian viewers were given the chance to elect their Eurovision representative via a televote and a separate jury. Kate Miller-Hyde won this with her song Zero Gravity.

Before this, Australia broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest every year and Australian performers such as Olivia Newton-John even took part for other countries.

The country also provided acts to perform in the show’s interval.

Australia’s participation has not been confirmed beyond this year as per a contract agreed by the EBU and Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Has Australia won the Eurovision Song Contest?

Australia has never won the Eurovision song contest, with its best result coming in 2016.

Dami Im’s Sound of Silence finished second after coming first in the semi-finals.

In its debut year in 2015, Australia automatically reached the final as a special guest.

However, since 2016, the country has competed like any other nation.

Who decides Australia’s Eurovision entry?

There has been a national contest since 2018 to decide who will compete in the competion.

This is called Eurovision - Australia Decides, which the SBS broadcasts in February every year.

Ten entries participate, with the winner decided both by public televote and the votes of a professional jury.

Australia Decides competitors have included acts such as indie pop band Sheppard and drag queen Courtney Act, who competed in both Australian Idol and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

What is Australia’s Eurovision 2023 entry?

Australia is sending progressive metal band Voyager to the 2023 contest, with their song Promise. It reportedly combines heavy guitar and upbeat pop. This is in contrast to last year’s entry Not the Same by Sheldon Riley, which was a moody ballad that finished 15th.

Voyager will compete in the second semi-final on Thursday (May 11).

What would happen if Australia won Eurovision?

There is a rule that if Australia wins Eurovision, they would have to nominate a European country to co-host the event and stage it on its behalf.

What other non-European countries take part in Eurovision?

Israel was the first non-European country to join the contest in 1973. It even won the competition in 1978 and 1979.

It also won in 1998 with Dana International, the first openly trans singer to win the competition.

They have reached the final every year since 2015, winning in 2018 with Netta’s song Toy. Israel has competed in the event 44 times in total.

Azerbaijan has borders to both European and Asian neighbours, and first entered Eurovision in 2008.

It won in 2011 and hosted the following year’s competition in the capital Baku.