Australia to get Eurovision spot

It is called Eurovision, but organisers of the famous singing competition have invited Australia to take part in this year's show.

Organisers said they are inviting an act from Down Under to take part to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition.

Australia will be fast-tracked to the final, which will be hosted this May in Vienna.

Conchita Wurst won last year's Eurovision

Conchita Wurst won last year's Eurovision

Broadcasters hailed the "historic" move and said it would elevate the show to a "new global level".

Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor of the contest at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), said: "It's a daring and at the same time incredibly exciting move. It is our way of saying 'let's celebrate this party together'."

Michael Ebeid, managing director of broadcaster SBS, which airs the show in Australia, said: "We are very excited to have secured this historic opportunity for Australia to be represented on the world's biggest stage at the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest and are honoured that the European Broadcasting Union has supported us to achieve this ambition.

"SBS has been broadcasting Eurovision for over 30 years and we have seen how Australians' love of the song contest has grown during those years."

Alexander Wrabetz director general of host broadcasters ORF, said: "The song contest has developed in its history to become the biggest TV entertainment event in the world.

"With the participation of Australia, together with our partners at the EBU and SBS, we have succeeded to lift it to a new global level and to build another bridge for the 60th anniversary - a bridge that spans the globe, starting from the heart of Europe."

Australia will be allowed to vote in both semi-finals and the grand final.

Organisers are considering allowing the Australian public to help decide the votes dished out to other countries.

Australia has until March 16 to decide who will represent them at the show.

Organisers promised that even if Australia wins it will not host next year's contest, which will remain in Europe. However, if they clinch the title Australia will be allowed to defend their crown.

The country's participation is a one-off initiative to mark the show's anniversary.

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