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  • Writer's pictureColleen Hetherington

Australia's relationship with the United Kingdom at Eurovision



At Eurovision, Australia has had ties to many different participating countries through the years. From the Australian-born Irish Eurovision icon Johnny Logan, to the Australian born-and-raised Andrew Lambrou, who will be representing Cyprus this year with his song 'Break a Broken Heart', our connections to other countries are never ending.


Today, we look at the relationship between Australia and this year's hosts the United Kingdom at Eurovision through participants, commentators and voting patterns.


Participants


The New Seekers


Most people with knowledge of the Australian music scene in the 1960s would be familiar with the Australian band the Seekers, and their hit songs 'Georgy Girl' and 'The Carnival is Over.' However, they may be much less familiar with their spin off group; The New Seekers, that original Seekers member Keith Potger set up upon the break up of the original group.


The New Seekers took part in the 1972 contest, coming second with 114 points with the song 'Beg, Steal or Borrow'. While Potger did not take part in 1972, among the group were two Australians, Peter Doyle and Marty Kristian, who became the first artists from Down Under to compete at the coveted Contest.




Olivia Newton-John



Most people would be familiar with Olivia Newton-John through her starring role as the Australian high school student Sandy in the film version of 'Grease.' If you're a Eurofan however, you may also know that she participated in the 1974 contest. She represented her country of birth with the song 'Long Live Love,' finishing joint 4th with 14 points alongside Monaco and Luxembourg.



The Shadows


The Shadows were a musical group most known for being the backing group of two-time Eurovision participant, Cliff Richard. Just like the New Seekers, on stage, they had one Australian member, John Farrar. Aside from being in the Shadows, outside of Eurovision he wrote fellow Australian participant for the UK Olivia Newton-John's hit songs 'Have You Ever Been Mellow,' 'You're The One That I Want' and 'Hopelessly Devoted To You.' At Eurovision, The Shadows finished in 2nd place with 138 points with the song 'Let Me Be The One.'




Brotherhood of Man


While not being Australian, the moustached lead singer of the 1976 winning song for the UK 'Save Your Kisses For Me,' Martin Lee spent a few years of his childhood living in Australia. He returned to the UK with his father after the loss of his mother.




Gina G



The most recent example of an Australian singing for the UK is Gina G, who represented the country with her song 'Ooh Aah ... Just A Little Bit' at the 1996 contest in Oslo. While it only finished 8th, the song fared much better after the contest, where it charted to no. 1 on the UK singles chart and was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category at the 1998 awards.


Honourable Mention: Jade Ewen


Jade Ewen performing her entry 'It's My Time'


While not being Australian, Australian eurofans who were kids of the 2000s may recognise Jade Ewen from the Australian-American co-production 'Out There,' a teen drama focusing on an American teenager coping with his new life in Australia. Ewen played Aggie Thackery, the British teen completing an internship at an Australian vet clinic / nature reserve. Jade Ewen represented the UK in 2009 with the song 'It's My Time,' finishing 5th with 173 points.



Use of British Commentary in Australia


Before Australia started offering their unique live commentary on the contest in 2009, the BBC kindly supplied us with their commentary. The legendary British Eurovision icon, Terry Wogan guided us through the contests for decades with his biting (if sometimes offensive wit).


He left the commentating seat before the 2009 contest, paving the way for live Australian commentary, firstly from Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang (2009 to 2016), and currently with Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasy from 2017 to the present.



Voting patterns between Australia and the UK


In all the years that Australia has competed, we have never missed out on a point from the UK, except for in 2021 when we failed to qualify for the final. Our highest sets of points from the UK came in 2016 with 6 points from the jury and 8 points from the televote and in 2019 where we received 10 points from the jury and 8 points from the televote.


Below is a detailed breakdown of the points distribution through the years in the final


2015 - 10 points

2016 - 14 points (6 from the televote and 8 from the jury)

2017 - 10 points from the jury

2018 - 1 point from the televote

2019 - 18 points (10 from the televote and 8 from the jury)

2021 - non qualification

2022 - 6 points from the jury


Similarly, the points distribution from Australia to the UK is quite similar. Even in the UK's less successful years, Australia has managed to be a fairly reliable source of points to the UK. Most interestingly, the highest set of points Australia has given is 12 points in the jury and 3 points in the televote for their 2017 entry 'Never Give Up On You' by Lucie Jones who finished 15th. UK's recent success, 'Space Man' from 2022 only earned a total of 7 points, all from the televote.





Below is a detailed breakdown of the points distribution through the years in the final


2015 - 0 points (though the Australian public placed them 9th)

2016 - 8 points (4 from the jury and 4 from the televote)

2017 - 15 points (3 from the televote and 12 from the jury)

2018 - 6 points from the televote

2019 - 0 points

2021 - 0 points

2022 - 7 points from the televote


We hope to see the connections continue between these two countries at the contest for years to come.


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