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)Artist: 3 March 2015
Song: 16 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 debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 by invitation from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as a "one-off" special guest to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Eurovision. The country participated with the song "Tonight Again" written by Guy Sebastian, David Ryan Harris and Louis Schoorl. The song was performed by Guy Sebastian, who was internally selected by the Australian broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) to represent that nation at the 2015 contest in Vienna, Austria. Sebastian was announced as the Australian representative on 3 March 2015 during a press conference in Sydney. The song Sebastian performed, "Tonight Again", was presented to the public on 16 March 2015. The Australian coloratura soprano of Armenian descent Mary-Jean O'Doherty also participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 contest as part of the group Genealogy representing Armenia, but this marked the first time that the country has officially participated.[1]

Along with the members of the "Big Five" and Austria, Australia automatically qualified to compete in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. In the final, Australia performed in position 12 and placed fifth out of the 27 participating countries, scoring 196 points.[2] In terms of individual votes, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom all placed Australia in the top three. Host nation Austria and winner of the contest Sweden awarded 12 points to Australia.

Following the 2015 contest, the EBU has considered the possibility of similarly inviting other guest countries to future editions of the contest.[3] 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.[4] In November 2015, the EBU announced that SBS had been invited to participate in the 2016 contest and that Australia would once again take part.[5]

Background[edit]

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest since 1983, and the contest has gained a cult following over that time, primarily due to the country's strong political and cultural ties with Europe. Paying tribute to this, the 2014 contest semi-finals included an interval act featuring Australian singer Jessica Mauboy.[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 (1980 and 1987, Ireland), Gina G (1996, United Kingdom), and Jane Comerford as lead singer of Texas Lightning (2006, Germany).[7]

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.[7] Along with the "Big Five" (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), and the host country of Austria, Australia was given automatic entry into the final to "not reduce the chances" of the semi-final participants.[8]

Before Eurovision[edit]

Internal selection[edit]

SBS announced that the Australian entry for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest would be selected internally.[9] On 16 February 2015, SBS announced an open submission for interested artists and songwriters to submit their entries until 20 February 2015. Artists and songwriters could hold any nationality, however preference would be given for citizens or permanent residents of Australia. In addition to the open call for submissions, additional entries were provided by artists and record companies directly invited by SBS.[10]

Guy Sebastian was announced as the artist that would represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 on 5 March 2015. The announcement was made during a press conference which took place at the Sydney Opera House and hosted by Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.[9] In regards to his selection as the Australian representative, Sebastian stated: "It's incredibly exciting to be given the opportunity to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is the biggest music event in the world with an amazing history and tradition and I'm truly honoured to be invited to represent Australia in its first time ever in the competition"[11] Guy 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, while the Russian song was co-written by an Australian, Katrina Noorbergen, who also performed backing vocals for their representative Polina Gagarina.[1][12] The official video and digital download release of Guy Sebastian's Eurovision song, "Tonight Again", occurred on 16 March 2015. The song was written by Sebastian along with David Ryan Harris and Louis Schoorl.[13]

When it came time to decide on a song, I thought since I had a couple of days off in Australia I would try and write something new. But if I was to record a new song I wanted it to be home-grown and organic with my band in my studio. Truly, we jumped in the studio and let it happen because I wanted to write something fun! We all have moments you don’t want to end and you wish you could live those moments every day so I wanted to write a song about that feeling. I am sure that is how I am going to feel when I am in Vienna performing.

— Guy Sebastian about "Tonight Again"[14]

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 Five" (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.[15] As part of their guest participation, Australia was also allowed to vote in both semi-finals as well as the grand final.[15]

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.[16] The commentators for all three shows were Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang.[17] The Australian spokesperson, who announced the Australian votes during the final, was Lee Lin Chin.[18] Chin was announced as Australia's voting spokesperson on an episode of The Feed on 18 May 2015.[19]

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.[20] The second semi-final was watched by 61,000 viewers live on 22 May,[21] 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.[22] 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.[23] 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%.[24]

Final[edit]

Guy Sebastian at a dress rehearsal for the final

Guy Sebastian took part in technical rehearsals on 17 and 20 May,[25][26] 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.[27] After technical rehearsals were held on 20 May, the "Big Five" 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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[25][26] The four backing vocalists that joined Sebastian on stage were Carmen Smith, Aaron Marcellus, Brandon Winbush and Devin Michael.[30]

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.[31][32] 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.[3][15]

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.[33]

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.[34]

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:

Points awarded to Australia[edit]

Points awarded to Australia (Final)[35]
Score Country
12 points
10 points
8 points
7 points
6 points
5 points
4 points
3 points
2 points
1 point  Armenia

Points awarded by Australia[edit]

Detailed voting results[edit]

The following members comprised the Australian jury:[33]

Detailed voting results from Australia (Semi-final 1)[38]
Draw Country A. Pelman R. Wilkins D. Spencer A. London J. Stone Average Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank Points
01  Moldova 14 10 11 16 14 15 11 13
02  Armenia 13 15 14 15 16 16 12 14
03  Belgium 16 13 1 3 2 6 2 3 8
04  Netherlands 11 6 6 7 6 7 15 12
05  Finland 10 14 16 9 7 12 9 11
06  Greece 9 3 5 5 8 5 6 5 6
07  Estonia 12 5 12 10 9 10 3 6 5
08  Macedonia 4 16 9 13 12 11 5 8 3
09  Serbia 2 2 13 2 4 3 1 1 12
10  Hungary 3 9 4 6 5 4 13 9 2
11  Belarus 15 12 10 14 13 14 14 15
12  Russia 1 1 2 1 1 1 4 2 10
13  Denmark 7 4 8 11 10 8 7 7 4
14  Albania 6 11 15 12 15 13 16 16
15  Romania 8 8 7 8 11 9 10 10 1
16  Georgia 5 7 3 4 3 2 8 4 7
Detailed voting results from Australia (Semi-final 2)[39]
Draw Country A. Pelman R. Wilkins D. Spencer A. London J. Stone Average Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank Points
01  Lithuania 7 14 15 6 9 9 7 7 4
02  Ireland 6 2 5 9 15 6 13 11
03  San Marino 17 16 17 17 16 17 17 17
04  Montenegro 16 15 9 8 8 11 11 12
05  Malta 13 10 14 11 10 13 4 8 3
06  Norway 9 3 1 2 3 2 5 3 8
07  Portugal 14 12 12 12 7 12 12 14
08  Czech Republic 15 13 7 10 17 15 15 15
09  Israel 3 17 8 5 5 7 2 4 7
10  Latvia 10 4 2 4 2 4 3 2 10
11  Azerbaijan 4 6 4 3 4 3 14 9 2
12  Iceland 5 9 16 16 14 14 10 13
13  Sweden 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 12
14   Switzerland 11 11 13 15 13 16 16 16
15  Cyprus 2 8 6 7 6 5 8 5 6
16  Slovenia 8 7 10 13 12 8 6 6 5
17  Poland 12 5 11 14 11 10 9 10 1
Detailed voting results from Australia (Final)[40]
Draw Country A. Pelman R. Wilkins D. Spencer A. London J. Stone Average Jury Rank Televote Rank Combined Rank Points
01  Slovenia 20 13 26 26 26 24 19 22
02  France 18 12 20 14 17 21 24 24
03  Israel 8 25 9 9 14 11 8 9 2
04  Estonia 16 16 19 10 10 13 6 8 3
05  United Kingdom 4 23 8 19 25 18 9 11
06  Armenia 19 24 25 22 24 26 13 21
07  Lithuania 17 21 21 11 9 17 12 13
08  Serbia 13 4 22 4 8 9 3 6 5
09  Norway 7 7 4 6 3 3 10 7 4
10  Sweden 2 3 3 1 2 2 1 1 12
11  Cyprus 3 6 17 18 12 10 17 12
12  Australia
13  Belgium 24 18 2 2 4 8 2 5 6
14  Austria 5 17 15 20 21 15 20 19
15  Greece 22 9 16 17 15 20 11 15
16  Montenegro 26 19 18 25 23 25 21 25
17  Germany 12 8 14 24 11 12 18 14
18  Poland 25 11 24 23 22 22 23 23
19  Latvia 15 5 5 7 5 4 5 4 7
20  Romania 23 15 10 12 19 19 14 18
21  Spain 14 20 11 13 20 16 16 16
22  Hungary 10 22 12 15 16 14 22 20
23  Georgia 9 10 7 16 6 7 15 10 1
24  Azerbaijan 6 14 13 8 7 6 26 17
25  Russia 1 1 1 3 1 1 7 2 10
26  Albania 21 26 23 21 18 23 25 26
27  Italy 11 2 6 5 13 5 4 3 8

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