Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

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Eurovision Song Contest 2015
Country Australia
National selection
Selection processInternal selection
Selection date(s)3 March 2015
Selected entrantGuy Sebastian
Selected song"Tonight Again"
Selected songwriter(s)
Finals performance
Final result5th, 196 points
Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest
2015 2016►

Australia participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna, Austria. Owing to its cultural and political ties to European countries, the Eurovision Song Contest has been televised in Australia by the public broadcaster SBS for over thirty years. In honour of the contest's 60th running and in recognition of the event's popularity in Australia, it was announced on 10 February 2015 that Australia was to be invited to compete in the 2015 contest as a special guest participant. Australians have participated in and even won Eurovision as representatives of other countries. In 2015 for example, the Australian coloratura soprano of Armenian descent Mary-Jean O'Doherty participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 contest as part of the group Genealogy[1] representing Armenia. But this marked the first time that the country has officially participated.

In March 2015, SBS announced that it had selected Guy Sebastian to represent Australia; he performed the song "Tonight Again" written by himself, David Ryan Harris and Louis Schoorl. Along with Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, Australia was given an automatic entry into the grand final. The EBU has considered the possibility of similarly inviting other guest countries to future editions of the contest.[2] However it was revealed in May 2015 that Australia might become a permanent participant following some reports by executive supervisor Jon Ola Sand to the Swedish broadcaster.[3] In November 2015, the EBU announced that Australia would return in 2016.[4]

Australia finished in fifth place in the final on 23 May, with a total of 196 points.[5] In terms of individual votes, Sweden, Austria, Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Iceland, Hungary, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Poland and San Marino all placed Australia in the top three. Host nation Austria and winner of the contest Sweden awarded 12 points to Australia.

Background[edit]

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest for over 30 years, and the popularity of the contest has grown over those years—primarily a result of the country's strong political and cultural ties with Europe. The cult following of Eurovision in Australia has been acknowledged during the event itself; during the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, an interval act during the semi-finals paid tribute to Australian culture, and featured a performance by local singer Jessica Mauboy.[2][6] Australian singers have also participated at Eurovision as representatives of other countries, including Olivia Newton John (1974, United Kingdom), two-time winner Johnny Logan (Ireland), Gina G (1996, United Kingdom), and Jane Comerford as lead singer of Texas Lightning (2006, Germany).[2]

Tying in with the goal of Eurovision—to showcase "the importance of bringing countries together to celebrate diversity, music and culture", the 2015 theme of "Building Bridges", and arguing that they could not hold "the world's biggest party" to celebrate the 60th edition of Eurovision without inviting Australia, the EBU announced on 10 February 2015 that the country would compete at that year's edition as a special guest participant.[2]

Before Eurovision[edit]

Internal selection[edit]

At a press conference held at the Sydney Opera House on 5 March 2015 at 09:30 Australian Eastern Standard Time (22:30 4 March 2015 GMT), it was announced that the Australian public broadcaster, SBS, had internally selected Guy Sebastian to represent Australia at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.[2][7] Sebastian's song, "Tonight Again", was officially unveiled by SBS on 16 March.[8]

Sebastian was not the only Australian participating in the 2015 contest; Australian soprano Mary-Jean O'Doherty participated as a member of Genealogy, a group representing Armenia that consisted primarily of Armenian diaspora.[9] The Russian song was also co-written by an Australian, Katrina Noorbergen, who also performed backing vocals for Polina Gagarina.[10]

At Eurovision[edit]

Guy Sebastian performing at the Eurovision Village in Vienna

According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the "Big 5" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. Due to the special circumstances surrounding Australia's entry and "to not reduce the chances" of the semi-final participants, contest organisers allowed Australia to compete directly in the grand final on 23 May 2015 without pre-qualification. This raised the number of competitors in the grand final to 27.[11] As part of their guest participation, Australia was also allowed to vote in both semi-finals as well as the grand final.[11]

In Australia, both semi-finals and the final were broadcast live on SBS One at 5am AEST, allowing Australia to participate in the official voting period. In addition to live broadcasts early on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings, all three shows were replayed in primetime on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.[12] The commentators for all three shows were Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.[13] The Australian spokesperson, who announced the Australian votes during the final, was Lee Lin Chin.[14] Chin was announced as Australia's voting spokesperson on an episode of The Feed on 18 May 2015.[15]

According to OzTAM viewership ratings for metropolitan markets, the first semi-final attracted 75,000 viewers watching live on 20 May, with an additional 500,000 viewers watching a primetime replay on 22 May. The replay was the most watched program on any Australian television channel with viewers aged 16–39 on 22 May.[16] The second semi-final was watched by 61,000 viewers live on 22 May,[17] and an additional 639,000 viewers watching a primetime replay on 23 May. The latter is a record audience for any Eurovision broadcast in Australian history.[18] The replay was also the most watched television program with viewers aged 16–49, and second most watched with viewers 25-54 on 23 May.[19] The final was broadcast live on 24 May and replayed the same day in primetime. The live broadcast, airing between 5am and 9am AEST was watched by 263,000 viewers, while the primetime broadcast drew 592,000 viewers. The primetime replay improved on the 476,000 viewers that watched the 2014 final by more than 20%.[20]

Final[edit]

Guy Sebastian at a dress rehearsal for the final

Guy Sebastian took part in technical rehearsals on 17 and 20 May,[21][22] followed by dress rehearsals on 22 and 23 May. This included the jury final where professional juries of each country, responsible for 50 percent of each country's vote, watched and voted on the competing entries.[23] After technical rehearsals were held on 20 May, the "Big 5" countries, host nation Austria and Australia held a press conference. As part of this press conference, the artists took part in a draw to determine which half of the grand final they would subsequently participate in. Australia was drawn to compete in the first half.[24] Following the conclusion of the second semi-final, the shows' producers decided upon the running order of the final. The running order for the semi-finals and final was decided by the shows' producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Australia was subsequently placed to perform in position 12, following the entry from Cyprus and before the entry from Belgium.[25]

The stage show featured Guy Sebastian dressed in a suit and joined by four backing vocalists, who performed choreographed movements. One of the main features of the performance were six giant illuminated lamp-post stage props which also expelled exploding pyrotechnics at the end of the song. The stage atmosphere and lighting featured red, orange, blue and yellow spotlights together with the background LED screens displaying moving roads and a nighttime cityscape.[21][22] The four backing vocalists that joined Sebastian on stage were Carmen Smith, Aaron Marcellus, Brandon Winbush and Devin Michael.[26]

At the conclusion of the voting, Australia finished in fifth place with 196 points. Australia received 12 points, the maximum number of points a country can give to another country, from two countries: Austria and Sweden.[27][28] Australia's participation in the Eurovision was intended to be a one-off event; however, if Australia had won, it would have been able to return for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, as is customary. If this were to occur, the contest would have been co-organized by an EBU member and held in a European host city.[2][11]

Voting[edit]

Voting during the three shows consisted of 50 percent public televoting and 50 percent from a jury deliberation. The jury consisted of five music industry professionals who were citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury was asked to judge each contestant based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song's composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act. In addition, no member of a national jury could be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member were released shortly after the grand final.[29]

Following the release of the full split voting by the EBU after the conclusion of the competition, it was revealed that Australia had placed sixth with the public televote and fourth with the jury vote. In the public vote, Australia scored 132 points and in the jury vote the nation scored 224 points.[30]

Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Australia and awarded by Australia in both semi-finals and the grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the three shows:[28][31][32][33]

Points awarded to Australia[edit]

Points awarded to Australia (Final)
12 points 10 points 8 points 7 points 6 points
5 points 4 points 3 points 2 points 1 point

Points awarded by Australia[edit]

Split voting results[edit]

The following five members comprised the Australian jury:[29]

  • Amanda Pelman – Chairperson – producer
  • Richard Wilkins – radio DJ, entertainment journalist
  • Danielle Spencer – singer, songwriter
  • Ash London – radio broadcaster, TV presenter
  • Jake Stone – singer, songwriter, performer

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eurovision.tv: Armenia - Fifth artist of Genealogy known
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Eurovision Song Contest invites Australia to join 'world's biggest party'". The Guardian. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  3. ^ Waddell, Nathan (22 May 2015). "Australia: Australia may become a solid participant, says JOS". escXtra. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Australia to return to the Eurovision Song Contest!". European Broadcasting Union. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Eurovision 2015: Australia will be watching", news.com.au. Accessed 24 May 2015
  6. ^ Vincent, Peter (9 May 2014). "Jessica Mauboy performs at Eurovision Song Contest". smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  7. ^ Jiandani, Sanjay (4 March 2015). "Australia: Guy Sebastian will fly to Vienna!". esctoday.com. ESCToday. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Guy Sebastian releases the song he'll sing at Eurovision". news.com.au. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  9. ^ Brey, Marco (3 March 2015). "Armenia: Fifth artist of Genealogy known!". Eurovision.tv. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  10. ^ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/music/aussie-katrina-noorbergen-gets-in-on-the-russian-act-for-eurovision/story-fniwj43s-1227349491267
  11. ^ a b c Siim, Jarmo (10 February 2015). "Australia to compete in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 10 February 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ Knox, David (May 18, 2015). "Eurovision Song Contest 2015: ultimate guide". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Knox, David (14 November 2014). "SBS 2015: TV Highlights". tvtonight.com.au. TV Tonight. Retrieved 14 November 2014. Eurovision has become one of the most popular television events in Australia. Next year is the 60th anniversary of Eurovision and with the official theme ‘Building Bridges’ already announced by host country Austria, SBS can reveal we have our Eurovision engineers Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang already working on how we can build a bridge to Vienna and join the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015.
  14. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (23 May 2015). ""Good evening Vienna" - Voting order revealed". eurovision.tv. EBU. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Honestly, did you really think anybody else would be up to the task? #TheFeedSBS #SBSEurovision". Twitter. The Feed SBS. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  16. ^ Knox, David (May 23, 2015). "Friday 22 May 2015". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  17. ^ Knox, David (May 24, 2015). "SBS pushing primetime Eurovision over Live voting". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  18. ^ Knox, David (May 25, 2015). "Seven stays in front". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  19. ^ Knox, David (May 24, 2015). "Saturday 23 May 2015". TV Tonight. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  20. ^ Knox, David (25 May 2015). "Seven, SBS score on Sunday". TV Tonight. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Australia stoked and ready for its Eurovision debut". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Guy Sebastian shows us how to didgeridoo it!". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  23. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (22 May 2015). "Decision night for the 40 juries around Europe...and beyond". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  24. ^ Omelyanchuk, Olena (20 May 2015). "LIVE: Day 10 at the Wiener Stadthalle". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  25. ^ Storvik-Green, Simon (22 May 2015). "Running order for Grand Final revealed!". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  26. ^ "Guy Sebastian: Tonight again". eurovisionartists.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  27. ^ Storvik-Green, Simon; Roxburgh, Gordon (24 May 2015). "Sweden wins 2015 Eurovision Song Contest". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  28. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 2015 Grand Final". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  29. ^ a b Bakker, Sietse (1 May 2015). "Exclusive: Here are this year's national juries!". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  30. ^ Quinn, Angus (24 May 2015). "Eurovision 2015 Split Results: Who Did the Jury Hurt?". wiwibloggs.com. Wiwibloggs. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  31. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 2015 First Semi-Final". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  32. ^ "Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 First Semi-Final". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 Grand Final". eurovision.tv. European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 22 December 2015.