It used to be that thing that I loved taking the piss out of and now it’s morphed into something more. Someone asked that very question the other day, “Aussies like taking the piss out of Eurovision, why do we want to win?” To which I responded: a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B.
There is that sense of inclusion in something bigger, perhaps another layer of the Oz isolationist mindset and wanting to be part of Europe in other ways. There’s been a long history of looking to the Northern Hemisphere for influences. Either way, Oz audiences have been watching eurovision for a very long time and have some sense of connection one way or another.
Watching eurovision is an annual event and in our household we’ve been counting down for months. We watched the semifinal replays and got up in time to watch the live final at 5am. I thought only sportsball fans did that sort of thing. Being able to vote for real is a strange joy of its own.
It feels a bit weird to be part of a competing nation, the idea of a one off seemed fun; competing in eurovision has a certain novelty value. In 2015 I was a bit meh, and particularly so with our chosen act. But the act grew on me, as did the idea of participating. To actually be part of this thing on the other side of the world gave it new meaning.
I was excited to see Oz do well yet at the same amused that in a scoring system that reflects European politics, and that playoff of nation states, somehow Oz came out well and finished 5th. There was a sense in 2015 that was reinforced in 2016 that Oz is a safe country for competing European nations to vote for and removes difficulties around voting for and against their neighbours.
In 2016, the scoring went to the final gasp. I was actually tense. Oz came first on the jury vote and it got scarier and tenser as the final audience votes were awarded and it was clear that Oz was remaining on top. Winning raised other questions of where do we host it? Would it be in Sydney? …or a friendly European nation? Not to mention a surreal sense of winning something that we never expected to win.
The voting went down to the final two and only then, with the final score did we know whether we were first or second. Ultimately we were pipped on 511 by Ukraine on 534.
Not much in it at all. Still feels a wee bit odd but in a good way.