In news that will not surprise many people, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand, has said to to SVT Melodifestivalen that Australia may become a Solid participant.
This, of course, follows on from the bombshell dropped in February that to celebrate this 60th edition of Europe’s favourite television programme, Australia would be allowed to participate as a one-off guest entrant. We already knew that if Australia’s Guy Sebastian won with “Tonight Again”, they would be allowed to defend their crown whilst hosting the competition in a European city.
Now, Jon Ola Sand has opened the door to the possibility of expanded the competition permanently to allow Australia in.
He said the following to SVT Melodifestivalen:
Australia has demonstrated that it can deliver the good things, and the interest is huge in the country, so it is clear that we will discuss whether to extend the contest. This is not in place permanently, and we have not discussed the issue in the EBU Reference Group, but the idea is interesting.
The SVT Melodifestivalen team asked, in response, “Could the criterion for participating be that the interest in Eurovision in that country is large, instead of it being a necessity for the land to be within the EBU Broadcasting Area?”
Jon Ola Sand continued by saying:
The contest shall always be in Europe, but if other countries want to join, we can see what fantastic events we have and take in interesting countries and artists. But again, these are just thoughts that we have started to think and nothing is decided.
Sweden’s Head of Delegation Christer Björkman, however, foresees issues with Australia’s proposed permanent participation. He said that “the large time difference is a problem for the live broadcast, and if one were to organize the competition like this, it will be an entirely different cost structure for the delegations.”
Nothing is confirmed yet, of course, but it looks as if steps are being taken to see if there is a place for Australia to be in the contest annually. What do you think to this news? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter @escXtra.