• Ford Carter

What the ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’ rules tell us about the 2022 show

With less than three weeks until the SBS Eurovision song portal closes, we've decided to take a closer look at the terms and conditions of next year’s ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’ to see what we can expect from next year’s show.



The show


Once again, ‘Eurovision – Australia Decide’ will feature three shows, only one of which will be broadcast.


The event begins with the Opening Night Show (or Jury Show), which is viewed by the jurors, who will cast their votes based on the artists performances that evening. A live, in-person audience will be able to see this show, but it will not be broadcast on SBS.


On the Saturday afternoon, several hours before the live broadcast, there’s the Matinee Show. This show essentially acts as the final dress rehearsal, for both the performers and the production team.


And the final show, of course, is the Live Show, broadcast on SBS, in which the performances will be voted on by the Australian public.




Song eligibility


Songs submitted to SBS must be original works that haven’t been previously made publicly available. So a song you performed for your mum to see if she liked it is okay, but a song you uploaded to YouTube to get the internet to like you isn’t okay.


Songs must include vocals, whether it be sung or spoken, and instrumental entries cannot be accepted. Entries must be between two and three minutes in length.


Additionally, songs must be submitted in English or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language (so no Anthony Callea serenading us in Italian or Tina Arena performing in French).


And, as is always the rule with Eurovision, the songs cannot contain any political or commercial messaging, and must contain no inappropriate language.



Composer / songwriter eligibility


Composers and songwriters can submit more than one song, but at least half of the composers or songwriters of a song must be Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents. That might just rule out songs made by the ‘Dream Team’ or Melodifestivalen’s famed Thomas G:son unless they include Australians in the mix.


Employees of either SBS, Blink TV, or the European Broadcasting Union are not eligible to submit a song. Neither are other people connected with the show, or their immediate family members.



Song selection process


Entries for ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’ will be selected by the show’s producers. The entries can come from the song submissions portal, as well as work by composers and songwriters that have been invited by the producers.


In choosing the ten competing entries, the producers will narrow the field down to a shortlist of twenty songs before making a final decision on the top ten.


The ten selected songs will then be arranged and recorded, and released to the public at the producers discretion. This means that the producers decide when we first get to hear the songs, whether they drop them all at once, or release them once a week, or in batches like they’ve done in previous years.


The winning entry will represent Australia at Eurovision in Italy, and will ultimately be decided at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' by a 50/50 mix of public and jury vote.





Release


Until the producers tell you that you’ve failed to make the cut, you can’t release your song to the public. If you don’t make the shortlist, you can do with your song whatever you wish – publish it on YouTube, give it to another artist, or even submit it to another national final!



Staging and artists


The producers are responsible regarding the design of the show and the staging of the performances for broadcast.


The producers also decide who sings the song. Just because you’re the artist who sings on the submission in the portal entry doesn’t mean you’ll be the artist singing on the world stage. The producers will work with composers and songwriters about their views on who should sing.



Other things you should know


If your song is selected to take part in ‘Eurovision – Australia Decides’, you can be expected to attend media conferences, pre-recorded interviews, and attend rehearsals and the three shows mentioned above. Of course, you’ll be reimbursed for travel and accommodation expenses, along with any other out-of-pocket expenses where necessary.


It's also important to note that the show may be postponed or even cancelled for reasons such as pandemic, natural disaster, or government regulations (including those government regulations in regards to the coronavirus).



So what should fans take from this?


Well, just because English is Australia’s de facto national language, songs can be submitted to SBS in any of Australia’s First Languages. In previous years, SBS has included a First Language in the show, in Electric Fields’ ‘2000 and Whatever’ and in Mitch Tambo’s ‘Together’.


Songs will essentially follow all of the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest, but at least half of the team behind the song must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.


There is also a strong commitment from SBS to make this event happen for fans and performers, and we can all hope that by February next year we will all be able to come together to celebrate Eurovision in Australia.


Songwriters can submit their entries and get full information at: www.sbs.com.au//eurovision