The reason Israel and Australia are in Eurovision – and who else wants to join

Eurovision, as the name suggests, was once a Europe-only affair. But over time, Europe’s biggest party has welcomed sequin-studded singers from Israel and Australia, and has since had requests from the likes of New Zealand to join.

This year’s song contest has been fiercely fought by 37 countries vying for the top spot. With 26 nations through to tonight’s final, the line-up includes the UK, Germany, Ukraine, Portugal, Lithuania and Greece, as well as the first appearance of Luxembourg in 31 years.

To be eligible, a country must have a broadcaster that operates within the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The broadcaster can then select their performer either through a national televised selection process or an internal one.

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Eden Golan representing Israel qualified for the final with her song “Hurricane”

Israel became a part of Eurovision in 1973, thanks to the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) being an active member of the EBU. There has been widespread pressure on Israel to withdraw from this year’s contest due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, but their contestant Eden Golan has still managed to secure a spot in the Grand Final with her song “Hurricane”.

Other countries that haven’t been lucky enough to get accepted include China, who expressed interest in joining in 2015 before being denied entry by the EBU as either a guest or participant in 2016.

Australia has been a recent addition to the Eurovision Song Contest, joining in for the 50th anniversary celebrations having broadcast the competition in their country since 1983. As avid Eurovision fans, the country made an impressive debut in 2015, with Guy Sebastian securing a fifth-place finish in the Grand Final. Eurovision officials were charmed by their dedication, and have welcomed Australia back annually.

Australia’s little brother New Zealand has been keen to get in on the action too, launching a campaign last year to join the Eurovision festivities. But even after releasing an unofficial song and a petition by New Zealand brewery Yeastie Boys, the nation is still waiting on an invite.

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