🇦🇺 EuroRevision Nations: Australia

Australia’s history at Eurovision is short but sweet. An unexpected inclusion, Australia first debuted at the contest in 2015. Since then, the nation proved their competitive nature, leading to a string of strong results. Let’s take a dive into the history of Australia at Eurovision!

Fans from Afar (1983-2014)

Australia’s journey at Eurovision began well before their first official participation. Australian broadcaster SBS first broadcast the contest back in 1983 and has done so every year since. The love affair continued through the decades, with increasing coverage as the nation inched closer to their unexpected inclusion into the contest.

In the early years of broadcast, the SBS coverage featured either the BBC commentary, or alternatively no commentary. It wasn’t until 2001 when SBS appointed actress and comedian Mary Coustas the role of commentator as her comedic character, Effie.

In 2003 and 2004, SBS presented Des Mangan took over the commentary, however it wasn’t until 2009 when a more permanent team took the lead. Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang provided commentary until 2017, when they were replaced with Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst. The SBS team were first allocated a commentary booth at the contest from 2012 in Baku.

Australia featured in one of the interval acts in 2013, and this was followed up with a more substantial interval act in 2014. Jessica Mauboy performed the song ‘Sea of Flags’ during the 2014 show. Little did fans know that Australia were about to tackle the competition head on…

Good Evening Europe, this is Australia Calling! (2015 -2020)

Australia made their competitive debut in 2015, after invited by host broadcaster ORF and the European Broadcasting Union. The nation’s participation was set to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Eurovision, however as we know, their participation continued for the years to come.

Australia was granted a place in the final directly so as to not reduce the chances of the semi-final participants. Debut participant Guy Sebastian performed his upbeat entry, ‘Tonight Again’ which finished in 5th place with a total of 196 points.

Although designed as a one-off participation, Australia returned in 2016 This time around, the nation got no free passes to the final. Dami Im flew the Australian flag at the contest and proved that the nation didn’t need that free pass. Dami delivered her track ‘Sound of Silence’ with ease, and qualified through to the final in first place. In the final, Dami finished in second place with an impressive 511 points.

Australia’s journey continued in 2017, with SBS opting for another internal selection. Isaiah Firebrace was fresh off the X Factor Australia stage, with his focus then turning to Eurovision. He performed the entry ‘Don’t Come Easy’, which qualified through to the final in 6th place. Australia secured their next Top 10 finish, with Isaiah landing in 9th place overall.

2018 saw the return of Jessica Mauboy, who participated in the interval act just a few years prior. This time around, the pressure was on, with Australia hoping to continue with their successful qualification streak. Singing ‘We Got Love’, Jessica qualified through to the final in 4th place. The Top 10 streak was over, however, with Australia finishing in 20th place.

SBS switched up their strategy in 2019, opting for a national final. A total of 10 acts competed in the national selection, with Kate Miller-Heidke rising to the top with her song ‘Zero Gravity’. Staging proved to be key at Eurovision, with Kate reaching new heights for Australia – literally. The nation qualified in 1st place from the semi-final, and finished in 9th place overall.

Don’t Break Me (2020’s)

The national final format continued in 2020, with Montaigne winning the ticket to Eurovision. As we know, the contest did not take place due to the pandemic. With that in mind, SBS selected Montaigne internally to represent Australia in 2021. She presented her new competing entry ‘Technicolour’, however was unable to perform live at the contest due to the pandemic. Ultimately, Australia achieved their first non-qualification, finishing 14th in the semi-final.

Want more content about Australia? This article is part of our ‘Good Evening Europe’ series, where we post country-specific content! You can find all our previous posts all about Australia here.