SBS‘ dream of organising the Asiavision Song Contest, a pan-national competition to mirror Eurovision, has been put on hold as the network charges forward with a fresh take on Australia‘s entry for Eurovision in 2019.
Speaking to TV Tonight, departing SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said he was saddened the network hasn’t yet locked in a song contest for the Asia Pacific region.
“It’s probably been my one disappointment,” Ebeid said. “I would have liked to have made more progress on that.”
Ebeid said SBS hasn’t yet confirmed the contest, despite first expressing interest in the concept a few years back, due to complex political factors in the region.
“It’s just proven too geo-politically difficult,” Ebeid said.
Yes, the noble goal of pitting K-Pop juggernauts against Indonesian crooners and Filipino rappers has been postponed, just because the Asia Pacific region actually has genuine and delicate relationships which must be taken into account. Boo.
The idea was first floated publicly in 2016, when the European Broadcasting Union – which holds the rights to Eurovision – agreed to let SBS manage a more local rendition of the competition.
At the time, Eurovision heavy-hitter Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling said “SBS Australia has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years, so we feel they are a perfect partner to build an alliance of networks with, and give Asian songwriters and artists the opportunity to perform on the Eurovision stage.”
Despite the setbacks, Ebeid was still upbeat on the idea’s future, saying that SBS is interested in returning to the concept of a 10-nation competition as soon as it figures out how best to select Australia’s next Eurovision entrant.
Other nations have a talent competition-style entry mechanics which allow citizens to vote for their favourite artist, whereas Australia’s Eurovision entrants thus far have been picked by a select group.
SBS now appears to be toying with that dynamic. Ebeid said he “would love to get Australians more involved in selecting our artist to represent us.”
If we can’t watch Asiavision in 2019, at least we might have a shot at electing our challenger for Eurovision. Fortunately, we already have a list of potential winners handy…
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