Why is Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest—and can they actually win it?

The main question a lot of us had after watching the Eurovision Song Contest, why are Australia participating?

(Image credit: PATRICK VAN EMST / Contributor / Getty Images)

The Eurovision Song Contest has a lot of us scratching our heads and wondering why Australia is competing in a competition that has typically been open to just European contestants. 

It is common knowledge that you can watch the Eurovision Song Contest from anywhere in the world, but many of us thought that only European contestants were allowed to participate. This meant that many people were confused when Australian contestant, Montaigne, competed in the Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday. Although the contestants are typically representing European countries, Australia has been allowed to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest for the last six years, but why?

The Eurovision Song Contest is not just a competition for European countries. The rules seem quite vague about who can participate in the contest but Australia was invited to join the contest on Eurovision's 60th anniversary.

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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 favour 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 also stated, "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 now has participation rights to the competition until 2023, at which time their position will be reconsidered by the board. 

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!" 

Australia's 2021 contender for the Eurovision Song Contest was Montaigne who sang 'Technicolour' via video as she was unable to make it to the contest.

Can Australia win the Eurovision Song Contest?

Sadly, Montaigne was eliminated in the first semi-final on Tuesday 18th May. This disappointing finish to the competition marks the first time that Australia has failed to make the final since it began competing in 2015. 

But the competition carries on and more performances take place on Thursday 20th May and Saturday 22nd May. We also have a handy guide on how to watch the Eurovision Song Contest from anywhere in the world, so you don't have to miss a thing! 

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

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.