Never have I ever imagined that Eurovision would make it to the display board on Charing Cross Station concourse. The news itself wasn’t a surprise. I was alerted to it by a colleague at work who’d received a text from his husband. “Can this be true?” “No,” I replied, “they broadcast it, but they can’t take part,” after which I was corrected by a tweet from BBC Newsbeat and a fairly unedifying news story.
It’s a bit of weird thing, though for those of us who’ve followed the show reasonably closely over the years, less of a random idea, more of a natural progression. SBS has ‘relayed’ the show for years, sent commentators in the years I’ve been blogging about it and, last year, took part in the show producing a special interval act.
The fact Australia are participating in the 60th contest this yearis rather nice extension of the inclusiveness spirit of the event the EBU has fostered over the past 20 years. The event we see now on TV is as much a reflection of the passions of its core fan base as it is a statement on the strategic aims of its editorial team.
Their participation will, for one year at least, silence once of my oldest friends who regularly texts at the beginning of the contest each year to so me why Israel are included in the festivities – “they’re not even a part of Europe”. I’ll be putting her a note through in advance of this year’s final to explain Australia’s participation, just to be on the safe side.
Personally, I think it’s a great way to celebrate the show. An acknowledgment that a far away audience has had in shoring up the Contest’s ongoing popularity in recent years.
Erik Larsson on Tobson in Euroland has some more views on Australia’s participation in Eurovision, including the timing of the announcement. Worth a read.