SBS admits that Australia Decides — and not Eurovision Asia — is its current focus

Since 2016, Australia’s public broadcaster SBS, the EBU and several Asian broadcasters have been in talks over the first edition of Eurovision Asia, the would-be Asian rendition of our beloved Eurovision Song Contest.

But as the public news surrounding that event has ground to a halt, Australia has been busy making waves elsewhere. In 2019 it held its debut national final Eurovision: Australia Decides. Kate Miller-Heidke won the right to represent the country, helping make the show one of the most-talked about of the most recent Eurovision season. Australia is now gearing up for a second round in February.

In business as in love, it’s not always possible to split your heart in two. Australian broadcaster SBS simply can’t support both events equally.

Speaking to BuzzE, an entertainment branch of the Dutch Press Agency, a spokesperson from SBS revealed:

“We will continue collaborating with the European Broadcasting Union to explore the possibility for Eurovision Asia, but we will first focus on the national final Australia Decides 2020.”

The sophomore edition of Australia Decides will take place on 8 February at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. Four stars in the lineup have already been announced: Casey Donova, iOTA, Mitch Tambo and Vanessa Amorosi.

This, however, is not bad news for Eurovision Asia. It long seemed that the Asian dream was over, but the good news is that the concept is still in development!

What is Eurovision Asia all about?

When the concept of Eurovision Asia was announced in March 2016, the excitement was huge. The contest would be another version of our beloved show, but set on another continent. We immediately made wishlists, from Australia to Kyrgyzstan to Vietnam, hoping all of our favourite stars would participate.

It’s proved to be much less of rose-coloured dream than we anticipated. While the music industry of Asian countries is flourishing as never before, their regional political relations are fraught with difficulties. Since the initial announcement, the contest has been delayed several times.

Eurovision Asia: an ambitious and troubled project

The first edition of Eurovision Asia was to be held in 2017, but it quickly appeared that this plan was too ambitious. Political tensions between the biggest potential participating countries were among the reasons why Eurovision Asia was delayed. Skim the surface and you’ll soon think about China’s contentious claims to much of the South China Sea, counter-claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and others, Hong Kong’s evolving relationship with mainland China, Taiwan’s continued conflict with China, and more.

After the release of the website and a theme art work in Summer 2017, it seemed that the contest was finally close to happening. The website soon stopped being updated and no news post has appeared since October 2017.

In 2018, SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid called Eurovision Asia “[his] one big disappointment”. On top of that, he called the contest “too geo-politically difficult”.

This did not mean that the dialogue stopped, though. But as of now it’s unclear when Eurovision Asia will happen. Keep in mind that it took the Eurovision Song Contest several years of planning too and it was not until decades later that more than twenty countries participated. In that sense, we can only be patient.

Do you hope that Eurovision Asia will happen soon? Are you excited for Australia Decides 2020? Let us know in the comments below!


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