SBS Says That Asian Spinoff Of Eurovision Isn’t Happening Any Time Soon


Jessica Mauboy

SBS has confirmed Australia will compete in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, but the anticipated Asia Pacific version of the contest has been put on ice.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid told TV Tonight that previously announced plans for a local version of Eurovision had proven too challenging.

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“It’s probably been my one disappointment. I would have liked to have made more progress on that,” he said.

“It’s just proven too geo-politically difficult.

“Trying to get 10 Asian countries to agree has proven really difficult.”

He said SBS “haven’t given up on the idea” but the broadcaster was putting its energy into a big announcement related to the Eurovision Song Contest.

TV Tonight reported that SBS will soon announce plans to change up the artist selection process.

“I would love to get Australians more involved in selecting our artist to represent us,” Ebeid said.

“We’ve been doing it this way for five years and we’re looking at how we can up the ante and mix it up a little bit.

“It’s safe to say we will be announcing something in the next month or so. We’re putting some finishing touches on some plans at the moment.”

Other countries hold talent competitions each year to allow citizens to vote to send their favourite artist to Eurovision, whereas Australia’s Eurovision entrants have been selected behind closed doors.

“We don’t have the money to do The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent, and it wouldn’t work with an emerging artist,” Ebeid told TV Tonight.

“But we are looking to do something a bit different with some experienced artists.”

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest competition was won by Israeli performer Netta with her song “Toy”, with Australian entrant Jessica Mauboy finishing in a disappointing 20th place.

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Eurovision 2019 will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel next May.