‘Why is Australia Ruining Eurovision?’ – A Critique of the Controversial ABC Article

Since the very first announcement of Australia’s participation back in 2015, there were serious questions as to how Australia managed to squeeze their way into the contest. The answers lie in the fact that SBS had been attempting to enter the competition from as far back as 2009. There is more to it, which I had explained last year in an article which you can find here.

ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, is a credible news source, or well at least I thought, until an article popped up which caught my attention. The article is titled ‘Why is Australia Ruining Eurovision?’ and despite the incredibly offensive (to my sensibilities) title, I decided to read the piece and make a final judgement once I gave it a chance to offer me some valid points.

Reading through the article, I realised that the twisted view of Eurovision still exists within the collective Australian mind. Outside of the Eurovision bubble, in which the Australian component has been growing steadily over the last few years, Eurovision is still unfortunately seen as this kitsch, over-the-top, piece of musical trash that is there just for the sake of laughing at.

A key point brought up within this article is that Australia’s enthusiasm in sending our most professional, and vocally capable artists is ‘thoroughly inappropriate.’ The reasoning behind this, as told by the author of the piece, is that we in fact are ruining the contest with our competence. The ignorance of the author is apparent through the line, ‘We’re treating it like the America’s Cup, instead of a multinational karaoke competition designed by Liberace’ – and it is this mindset which has hindered the popularity of the contest in the past.

The main critique lies within the aforementioned point. What I find incredibly ignorant is that the author has failed to realise that the contest, with or without Australia has undergone an incredible transformation in the last few years. The contest has become more than a poor showing of unpopular and outdated music (which admittedly, the contest did lag behind throughout the early 2000’s, musically and technologically). The contest has grown to become an incredibly relevant selection of majority professional artists, so to accuse Australia of overachieving by sending our best is an utter double standard, as it would mean that other countries shouldn’t enter their best either. Russia this year has sent their Best Male Artist as decided by Russian Music Awards, same for Estonia, just to name a few – and many of the artists have participated through competitions such as X Factor, just like our own Dami Im.

The comments towards the contest being ‘only ever a legitimate contest in the minds of its organisers and its legions of fans’ degrades the Eurovision bubble in a way which tarnishes our legitimacy. The irony lies within the fact that it is this top-down view of the contest is what is ruining the contest – we’ve seen it in the UK, where arguably a majority of the general population view the contest as a joke, however the UK, if they took it slightly more seriously and sent one of the incredibly popular and international artists which the nation has to offer, the contest would be theirs in a heartbeat. It’s sad that we are now seeing this mindset within Australia.

I am part of this Eurovision Bubble, but I also consider myself capable of knowing what good music is, and what isn’t. In 2016, we have arguably seen the most chart friendly songs in the history of the contest, and with this in mind, Australia’s radio-friendly and powerful entry fits like a glove on the European hand.

To end, I really hope we start to see an end of this top-down approach to the most influential, powerful and culturally rich tradition that television has ever seen, across not only Europe but the entire world. Australia’s participation has brought a whole new viewership to the contest, however articles boasting a superior tone such as this one are exactly what threaten the development and credibility of the contest.

I personally have always fought hard for this contest. I have defended the contest as if it was a part of my being – and it is – however publications lacking of factual information within a 60 year context push me back down into the ‘illegitimate’ realm of the Eurovision fans who seem to have ‘no idea.’

Australia has worked hard to enter the contest, and the invitation from Swedish broadcaster SVT (arguably the most revolutionary broadcaster in the contest, bringing a sense of modernity to the contest) shows that it’s not just the Bubble pushing us into the contest – we are actually wanted there.

For those who would like to read the original article, written by Dominic Knight, click here.