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Why Australians love Eurovision

USQ researcher and humanities lecturer Dr Jess Carniel looks at why the European song contest appeals to viewers in Australia.

Eurovision is so much more than silly costumes and strange songs, according to University of Southern Queensland (USQ) researcher Dr Jess Carniel.

“For fans in Australia and Europe, Eurovision is not ‘just’ a song contest,” Dr Carniel said.

“Sure, we love the music, but it is about so much more than that.

“It is the litmus for European politics and economy. It is a centre of community and a site of acceptance with a great soundtrack.”

Dr Carniel’s recently published book, Understanding the Eurovision Song Contest in Multicultural Australia, draws together fan interviews and surveys to explore why the European song contest appeals to national viewers.

“I can’t remember the exact year I first started watching Eurovision, but it is a vague memory that I associate with growing up in the 1980s as the child of migrants,” she said.

“For me, loving Eurovision was about those old childhood memories of family and connection to our European past. While for others it is an event where difference isn’t just tolerated, it’s celebrated.

“There is the politics, communities and identities, but one of the biggest reasons why Australians love Eurovision is: the music!”

Eurovision is famed for launching the careers of big names like ABBA and Celine Dion, and many will be familiar with Italy’s 1958 entry, Nel dipinto di blu or, as it is popularly (and incorrectly) known, Volare.

Australia is just days away from choosing this year’s entrant in a grand national selection to take place at the Gold Coast on Saturday (February 9).

"This national selection show demonstrates that Australia is maturing as a Eurovision nation, and is an exciting evolution in the nation's relationship with the contest,” she said.

woman standing in front of poster
Dr Jess Carniel at 2018 Eurovision in Lisbon.