Why is Australia in The Eurovision Song Contest when the US isn't? And how to watch the cult singing competition

Here's why Australia is in The Eurovision Song Contest but countries like the US are not included in this singing competition

Here's why Australia is in The Eurovision Song Contest but countries like the US are not included in this singing competition
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Eurovision Song Contest is a time for artists across Europe to come together and compete in a continent-wide competition. So why is Australia - a country clearly not in Europe - allowed to compete in the competition? 

Although the contestants typically represent European countries, Australia has been allowed to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest for the last eight years, but why? The Eurovision Song Contest is not just a competition for European countries. The rules about who can participate in the contest seem quite vague, but Australia was invited to join the contest on Eurovision's 60th anniversary. So does this mean that the US could possibly participate? Here's what we know...

Why is Australia in The Eurovision Song Contest?

The body that governs the Eurovision Song Contest, The EBU Reference Group (European Broadcasting Union), voted unanimously in favor of Australia's participation in the contest in 2015.

The Chairman of the Reference Group, Dr. Frank Dieter Freiling said in 2015, "Europe and Australia have a lot in common in regards to cultural values and when a broadcaster is so committed to bringing great acts to the contest, the only right thing to do is to be inclusive."

He continued to tell the European Broadcasting Union, "This is also a way for many Australians to re-connect with their European roots, and celebrate our shared cultural values and understanding through music." Australia had participation rights to the competition until 2023, and in October 2022, SBS confirmed Australia's participation in the 2023 contest.[5]

The Eurovision Song Contest is shown in Australia on SBS, an Australian broadcaster. SBS Commissioning Editor Josh Martin said following the announcement in 2015, "SBS has been the home of the Eurovision Song Contest in Australia for 35 years and we’re thrilled at this invitation to become a more permanent member of the Eurovision Song Contest family."

He continued to say, "We will continue to showcase Australia’s amazing talent and diversity to hundreds of millions of people across Europe and the world. It highlights the power of music to bring people together – even from polar opposite sides of the globe. Thank you, Europe!" 

Could the US join The Eurovision Song Contest?

As the rules are relatively vague, and non-European countries have joined the contest, technically the US could be invited to join. However, this is unlikely for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the circumstances for Australia joining were rather unusual and they were invited to join the competition after having a long-standing relationship with the show. Additionally, while other countries outside of Europe have competed before - such as Israel and Armenia - these countries were also part of the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and joined the competition decades ago before there were hundreds of similar singing competitions that are now arguably more popular. 

Additionally, the US had its own TV show called The American Song Contest which is based on the idea of The Eurovision Song Contest. The show has only existed for one season and the finale took place in May 2022. The show was not picked up for a second season, suggesting it couldn't compete with the more successful singing shows such as The Voice.

How to watch The Eurovision Song Contest from anywhere in the world

The Eurovision final will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 8pm BST on Saturday in the UK. In the US, the show will exclusively stream on Peacock at 3pm ET/noon PT. 

If you want to access BBC coverage or you live in an area where The Eurovision Song Contest isn't going to be broadcast live, there is a way you can still watch the celebrations. VPNs (virtual private networks) are a popular way to access TV shows only available in other countries.

If you're already confused, don't panic - we've got you covered. Our sister site, TechRadar, has put every major VPN service to the test to save you the hassle of sifting through the web yourself. They've rated ExpressVPN as the best - and here's why.

In their words, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”


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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the US.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch the coverage on UK channels.

VPN disclaimer

(Image credit: Future)
Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.