Australia's Dami Im came second in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Picture: AP /Martin Meissner
Australia's Dami Im came second in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Picture: AP /Martin Meissner

How Australia snagged a spot in Eurovision

"She doesn't even go here" is what everyone screams at Australia when we rock up to Eurovision.

The 64th Eurovision in Tel Aviv marks the fifth time our great nation has performed in the annual song contest, despite the fact we are not part of Europe and no one knows how we've managed to become part of the furniture.

Australia first entered the competition with national treasure Guy Sebastian back in 2015, who did us proud and managed to come fifth with his catchy song Tonight Again.

This was supposed to be a one-off thing, with organisers allowing us a wildcard entry that year because we'd loyally broadcasted the event on SBS since 1983.

Guy was our first ever entrant back in 2015.
Guy was our first ever entrant back in 2015.

But they welcomed us back again the following year with The X Factor superstar Dami Im, who had an absolute blinder with her electrifying tune Sound of Silence.

Im was a hit across Europe, and was crowned runner up in the grand finale; our most successful outcome to date.

Aussie sweetheart Jessica Mauboy had a crack last year but ranked poorly, coming in at 20th, while Isaiah Firebrace represented the nation in 2017 and came ninth.

Dami is our most successful entrant to date. Picture: AP/Martin Meissner
Dami is our most successful entrant to date. Picture: AP/Martin Meissner

This year, veteran songstress Kate Miller-Heidke is flying the green and gold flag, and is actually one of two favourites to take out the competition, with the grand finale airing on SBS on Sunday at 5am (AEST).

Miller-Heidke's selection was the first time the Australian public were able to choose their Eurovision representative in the Eurovision - Australia Decides final in February where she won with her song Zero Gravity.

Earlier this year, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced Australia had finally cemented its place in the contest until 2023, meaning we don't have to awkwardly wait to see if we're invited each year.

So it turns out it's actually pretty easy to be eligible for Eurovision. Firstly, you have to be invited. Secondly, you must be part of the EBU, which SBS joined back in 1979.

Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the contest on behalf of the EBU, said in February: "We are delighted that Australia has become a more permanent member of the Eurovision Song Contest family.

"Australians have long been huge fans of the event with a great number of loyal viewers year on year, and when they were invited to participate in the 60th-anniversary edition of the contest, we couldn't have imagined quite how popular their artists would become.

"It was a natural progression for us to agree to their inclusion as a participant for the next five years as they bring so much to the table and we very much look forward to welcoming them to Tel Aviv to perform."

Wouldn't it be joyous if we won when we're not even technically supposed to be there?

Unfortunately if we do take the top gong, the following year's contest won't be held on our shores, and would instead be co-hosted by Australia and organised by the SBS, in any of the 56 EBU member countries.

The Eurovision grand final will be live on SBS on Sunday at 5am, with a prime-time viewing later at 8.30pm.


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