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  • Writer's pictureFord Carter

SBS drops plans for Eurovision Asia

It was originally announced as an ambitious plan to be the first major spin-off of the Eurovision Song Contest, bringing together roughly twenty countries in the Asia-Pacific region to compete in Eurovision Asia.

But now, SBS Commissioning Editor and the Australian Head of Delegation for the Eurovision Song Contest Josh Martin says that those plans are over in an exclusive interview with David Knox of TV Tonight.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve rescinded our rights. We spent a number of years trying to figure out how to do it and then the global pandemic came along.”

SBS first announced Eurovision Asia back in 2016, licensed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with plans for the first edition of the contest to be held in 2017.

Potential host cities mentioned were Sydney, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Eurovision Asia brought with it a great amount of excitement in fans, with some fan sites running polls and writing articles about who they would want to see representing a number of countries in the region.

But as the project was stalled and was delayed, and the official social media being paused in 2017, fans began to lose hope.

Despite producers pursuing discussions in the region, the dream could not be realized.

“Eurovision Asia is difficult for a number of reasons: timezones, language barriers, all sorts of issues. We tried so hard but that was one that we just could never quite pin down.”

This isn’t the first time that an Asian or Asia-Pacific version of the Eurovision Song Contest has failed to get off the ground. The EBU first licensed the rights for a version under the name of Asiavision which announced an event to be hosted in Macau in 2009, and then in Mumbai in 2010, which would have featured an Australian entry through broadcaster SBS. These events never came to fruition.

“It’s kind of like any TV show. You put a lot of things into development, and not all of them get up. So that was one that we could not, for whatever reason, make work.”

Despite the dropped plans for an Asia-Pacific version of the contest, the EBU’s desire to expand the Eurovision brand globally may still become a reality, after NBC signed on for the state-versus-state singing competition ‘American Song Contest’, which is already officially in its 2021-2022 television schedule to air in 2022.

The American Song Contest will see famed Melodifestivalen producer Christer Björkman at the helm.

Josh Martin also spoke about this upcoming competition.

“The American Song Contest is getting some traction and that’s taken a long time to do as well. It’s still not there yet but look at the comparison. That’s a country that has a universal language and a love of music forms and it’s still difficult, but it’s never for lack of trying.”

Whether or not a competition will ever take place in the future is unknown, this news today just confirms that SBS will not be the broadcaster pulling this together.

However with the challenges the competition faces, it does feel Eurovision Asia is unlikely to occur.


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