Australia’s Eurovision entries — including Dami Im’s Sound of Silence in 2016 — have all been chosen internally. (Reuters/TT News Agency: Maja Suslin)
The public will have a say in Australia’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, with SBS announcing a change in the selection process for 2019.
Participating nations’ broadcasters — including SBS for Australia — choose the songs for each of the 40-plus countries who enter the contest, which has an annual worldwide audience of more than 180 million.
SBS Australia tweet: Who will represent Australia at @Eurovision in 2019? #Eurovision #AusDecides
In previous years SBS has selected Australia’s entry internally, working with Sony Music Australia for the artist and songwriting team DNA Songs — Anthony Egizii and David Musimeci — for the song.
“SBS and production partner Blink TV, will host a national contest, Eurovision — Australia Decides — to select the artist and the song that will compete at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019,” the station announced in a statement.
SBS called for entries from Australian citizen and permanent resident songwriters for the selection. Composers and songwriters can enter songs via a portal on the SBS website.
The shortlisted songs will be paired with Australian artists, before they are performed live on February 8 and 9, with a live final on February 10.
All the shows will be held on the Gold Coast. The public vote will be combined with a jury vote to select Australia’s 2019 Eurovision entry.
Eurovision Song requirements
- Must be an original work
- Must be a minimum of two minutes, and no longer than three minutes
- Must not have been made publicly available
- Must include vocals
- Must be submitted between October 14 and November 4
Next year will mark Australia’s fifth official time to compete for the Eurovision crown.
Jessica Mauboy represented Australia as a non-competing performer at half-time in the 2014 contest.
Then, following Australia’s invitation to compete in 2015, Guy Sebastian came fifth with Tonight Again.
In 2016, Dami Im came second performing Sound of Silence, then Isaiah Firebrace came ninth singing Don’t Come Easy.
This year Mauboy was chosen to sing We Got Love, finishing 20th.
The reaction to the 2018 result led to speculation SBS might involve the public in the 2019 selection, confirmed by Sunday’s announcement.
Various countries use internal, public or mixed selections to pick their Eurovision entries.
Some involve the public in selecting the song, others involve the public in selecting the performer.
Israel used an internal selection to pick Netta Barzilai and the song Toy for this year’s Eurovision — she went home with the trophy. (AP: Armando Franca)
Last year Israel used an internal selection to pick Toy by Netta Barzilai — which went on to win the contest.
The runner-up entry, Fuego by Eleni Foureira for Cyprus, was also an internal selection.
However in the previous three years the winning songs — Portugal’s Amar pelos dois by Salvador Sobral in 2017, Ukraine’s 1944 by Jamala in 2016 and Sweden’s Heroes by Mans Zelmerlow in 2015 — were all chosen following extensive public selection processes.
In Sweden, for example, the Melodifestivalen competition has been used to choose that country’s Eurovision entries for decades, and it is often the most popular TV program of the year in that country.
Next year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv, with the final beginning in the early hours of May 19, Australian time.