How to vote in the Eurovision Song Contest?


Legendary SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin will be the one to utter the greeting, "Good evening Vienna, this is Australia calling" at the Eurovision Song Contest.

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

The countdown to this year's Eurovision song contest is officially on.

And for the first time, Australians get to be involved in picking the winner.

But before you get out the sequins, and make Eurovision-themed drinks, here's everything you need to know about how to vote in this year's competition.

Santilla Chingaipe has more.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

If you haven't already heard, Australia is making its debut in Europe's glitziest song competition.

Australia is competing for the first time after being granted a wildcard entry because of the competition's popularity here.

SBS has been broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest since 1983.

It says last year alone, the broadcast reached more than three million people across Australia.

So how can you vote 

SBS Radio's Eurovision reporter Chris North explains.

"Australians can participate in the semi finals this year and the Grand Final. Now, most countries normally get to participate in one semi final and the grand final, but in this case, Australia gets to vote in both semi finals and the grand final. And those details are still to be released, but when they are there is a chance that you can vote via SMS or via a phone call as well."

But he says viewers watching from home can only vote in the competition's early broadcast. 

"The broadcast that we see on the Friday and Saturday and Sunday nights is a replay. So the only broadcast that Australians can vote in is the live broadcast, and that unfortunately is a little bit early in the morning, but it's not really, because once you've set your alarm, you can watch the show at 5 o'clock if you like or you can join in the voting from about 7 (am), and people are usually up by then, but that's the only time you can participate."

But he says viewers will only have a 15 minute window to cast their votes.

"The voting isn't open during the show, it's an opportunity to watch the show and to make a preference as to which countries you like, and then once the voting is opened at the end of the show, 15 minutes is what you're given and that allows you to get in there and vote for your favourites, and when you do vote, you can vote more than once. You can actually up to 20 times, technically you cna vote as many times as you like - however, there is a limit, only 20 votes per number will be counted. The rest of it will just become a bonus for somebody else's pay packet."

So can Australia vote for Guy Sebastian?

"No, you can't vote for guy Sebastian. No country can actually vote for their own artist. It's really up to us to vote for countries that we like - in terms of songs."

In addition to the viewers' votes, the outcome of the two semi-finals and the Grand Final is determined by a professional jury.

Australia this year has a national jury whose vote will make up the 50 per cent of the total national vote.

Selected by SBS, it comprises local music and entertainment figures with industry experience.

One of them is Ash London - a radio DJ and music show host.

"Well the voting process itself is quite bizarre and complicated and very European - my understanding is we have our own individual votes but we're free to discuss among ourselves and give feedback to each other and talk about the acts - it's not like we'll be locked in solitary (confinement) for 3 hours."

The other jurors are producer Amanda Pelman, musicians Danielle Spencer and Jake Stone, as well as TV personality Richard Wilkins.

Ash London says like viewers at home, the Australian jury can't vote for Guy Sebastian.

But she says the other entries are strong contenders too.

"I have watched alot of the songs, obviously you can see the songs that they are going to be performing ahead of time and Sweden's going for the electro theme. I'm a really big fun of Norway and they've got this song called 'Monster In Me' and it's a really cool video and really cool song. But ultimately it depends on the performance on the day, they could give not a great performance of the song. But yeah, Sweden and Norway, i'm already kind of into." 

And to answer the question of who will greet Europe with the legendary, "Good evening Vienna, this is Australia calling... "

SBS has announced that this year it will be our very own television news reader extraordinaire, Lee Lin Chin.



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