SBS off to Eurovision 2009!

Yes, that legendary event that unites a continent, the Eurovision Song Contest, is returning. It will soon be time to cheer, and occasionally giggle, as Europe picks its favourite original pop song once more.

Yes, that legendary event that unites a continent, the Eurovision Song Contest, is returning. It will soon be time to cheer, and occasionally giggle, as Europe picks its favourite original pop song once more.

This year Moscow is the host city, following the win by Dima Bilan with "Believe" in 2008. It is the first time the event has been staged in the city of the Red Square.

Once again SBS will be bringing two Semi-Finals and the Final, screening in mid-May. Start planning your Eurovision parties!

To help get you in the mood over the coming weeks we'll be looking at the music, performers, countries, politics, history, compositions, controversies, news and more.

And this year SBS also steps up its broadcasting coverage too.

RocKwiz's own Julia Zemiro, a self-confessed "veteran fan" of EV, will present the event from Moscow, accompanied by broadcaster Sam Pang. Following on from the retirement of acerbic commentator Terry Wogan, the 2009 event will be the most comprehensive coverage ever by SBS, with a dedicated production team on the ground.

Viewers will be witness to the 25 songs in the Final, including 37 in the two Semi Finals, plus behind-the-scenes preparations from the city of Moscow. Julia and Sam will be sharing their first-hand experience with SBS viewers.

"It's the perfect show that embodies competition and art," says an excited Julia.
"Of course, it's become a campy thing but quite honestly 20 years ago we were watching it quite seriously. ABBA wasn't camp when they first came out. Everyone took them at face value. And then it became this other thing.

"But I deeply, deeply love Eurovision and understand it. I'll be approaching it with a lot of love."
Julia says her connection with EV goes back to 1967 when her then-pregnant mother watched Sandie Shaw win with "Puppet on a String." Growing up in a French-Australian family, she says there was always international music in her household.

"So when SBS started showing Eurovision and the San Remo Music Festival, I just loved watching people singing in another language. It was completely natural to me. If I hear something in a foreign language I'm just drawn to it."

Together with her television experience hosting RocKwiz, and even a critically-acclaimed stint in the original Eurobeat stage musical, she promises to combine music appreciation and her own unique zest to the broadcast. Joining her is Sam Pang from RRR's Breakfasters.
“I cannot begin to express how lucky I feel to be going to Moscow for Eurovision
2009," says Sam. "It’s been a dream of mine to visit the city ever since seeing ‘Police
Academy 7; Mission to Moscow’ way back in 1994."

Sam Pang will also host the upcoming history quiz AD/BC on SBS. "Sam is a great new talent and I think audiences will really enjoy his take on Moscow," says Producer Paul Clarke. "He's a music fanatic and should be the perfect foil to Julia because he's quieter and dryer."

Paul Clarke has produced music television events including both the Showgirl and X tours for Kylie Minogue plus Long Way to the Top, the Countdown Spectacular, and Swan Lake and Keating! The Musical for the ABC.

"The scale of Eurovision is really enormous and there are more eccentric characters than Zoolander. But I think it's great to have a foot on the ground with the event. In the same way that SBS covers the Tour de France with Australian presenters we'll be doing the same, except in a more entertaining way."

And in a post-Wogan era, the SBS broadcast plans a "less is more" approach, letting the music remain the key focus on the night.

With such a revered event, Julia and Sam will provide intermittent commentary over the Postcards, in line with other European broadcasters. And to help get a sense of Russian atmosphere there will be extra video packages too.

"We're going to set up a commentary box so we can cut back to Julia and Sam in between the acts," says Clarke. "It'll be over the Postcards, and that strikes me as being the place to go for it."

Says Julia, "We're not going to reinvent the wheel. There are people who know it very well and people who don't know it at all. So you have to tread that fine line.

"But I look at it through a long lens of time. 25 years of enjoying it."

So get the cheer squads ready. Send out the invitations and fire up the borsch. Who knows what's going to win Eurovision 2009?

As Julia reminds us, "It's bloody hard to write a great 3 minute pop song that just goes Ka-Bam!"

Eurovision First Semi Final airs 7:30pm Friday May 15th
Eurovision Second Semi Final airs 7:30pm Saturday May 16th
Eurovision Final 2009 airs 7:30pm Sunday May 17th

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30 May 2010 23:48 AEST


From: Melbourne

You cant be serious

This is the first I have watched Eurovision...and the first for seeing Julia and Sam....They were beyond FANTASTIC....what great sense of humor they both have...and sooooo true with all their comments.. I had tears...just added so much fun to it all, because some of the singers were shockers...and then with the votes, from most of the presnsters were on another planet and boring... and the laughter they gave me..You both ROCK...they have to be there next year....

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21 May 2009 15:36 AEST

Eurovision fan no 2

From: Hornsby

Thoughtless repetitive unresearched commentary

Were your two presenters just on holiday in Moscow? Ssems they didnt put much thought in to their commentary. Rather boring on the whole. They made nothing of the fact that Turkeys entry Dum Tek Tek was virtually a copy of Greeces winning song in 2004. Interesting when you consider that Turkey and Greece are not considered to be the best of friends. The male host sam Pang also seems to have trouble with his pronunciation. . for eg. Ahstonia instead of Estonia.

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19 May 2009 17:07 AEST

steve fisher

From: mentone

Euro commentary

The pictures were great, the commentary disgraceful! Julie Zamiro was up to her usual standard. No class, no wit, and futile attempts to imitate Terry Wogan. Her low point (which is saying something) was eating chips, complete with the crunch, I thought I was at the cinema. She was bored to death and sadly it also made me bored. The good thing its only annualy. Beware of Greeks bearing a microphone!

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18 May 2009 19:43 AEST


From: Kogarah

European TV Commentary...

The final was the first Eurovision show I saw this year. I knew Moscow would pull out all the stops and from the brief bits I saw, they did indeed deliver an amazing show. I was very disappointed at the SBS interference with the show AND with the commentary style. You don't splice local 'bits' into foreign movies, so why did you corrupt a European show in this way? If Grahams ABC2 show meant no BBC commentary then you could have used Irish TV commentary instead, as you've done before.

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17 May 2009 22:37 AEST

Eurovision Fan

From: Kew

Where is Terry...?

Who are these usless Australian commentators....? Where is Terry Wogan...? Why replace a commentary genius, who made the ridicilous more entertaining, with a bimbo and a chump who have nothing interesting to say except how sexy they find the presenters... Please fire them and bring back Terry...

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17 May 2009 17:22 AEST


From: Potts Point

Well done SBS

Thanks very much to SBS for showing Eurovision every year & in particular the semi finals this year which have been great. I've just found out Canada & the US don't get Eurovision on their tv & 2009 will only be the first time that New Zealand gets to see it, & only the final for them. We are lucky to have SBS in was about the only good thing Malcolm Fraser did! The commentary doesn't matter that much to me, but I would've liked to hear Graham Norton do it. Thanks to SBS!

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17 May 2009 14:34 AEST


From: Oakleigh South

Protect Eurovision

As a long-time fan of Eurovision I am annoyed at rival TV stations who are obviously now envious of SBS and its popularity who deliberately for the last two years, at least, have gone out of their way to announce the winning country well in advance of the show going to air on Sunday evening. I love the show, every thing it stands for, and I love the voting, the people, the patriotism, just have it undermined is the lowest of all acts......shame on you channel 7 and others.

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16 May 2009 21:51 AEST


From: Tasmania

Comentary is unbearable!

The commentary is AWFUL. There is no insight, no wit, no chemistry. Nothing. Just two novices making talking sounds for the sake of it. Please reconsider editing them out before tomorrow night.

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07 May 2009 22:15 AEST


From: Melbourne

Terry get over yourself

Terry Eurovision will still be good. It is Eurovision for the songs, not for the commentary. Julia Zemiro is actually very popular. I dont know who you sydney people are into but down here everyone loves her. So build a bridge and get over it :D.

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07 May 2009 11:01 AEST

Terry Wogan Forever!

From: Sydney

SBS committed to open debate?

I see you deleted my previous remarks on Eurovision commentary. Good to see SBS is committed to open discussion and criticism. I think it is a grievous error to use local micro-celebrity commentators in a transparent attempt to cross-promote other SBS shows. While Terry Wogan is an irreplaceable treasure, ditching Graham Norton is a very bad idea. Unless you can haul Des Mangan out of retirement, stick with the UK commentary and save yourselves a lot of money and embarrassment.

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