For many of us, Eurovision seemed like a far distant pop land that could only be reached if we made the big leap, song and dance all the way to a different continent. Not anymore.
By
Julia D'Orazio

3 Feb 2019 - 4:44 PM  UPDATED 3 Feb 2019 - 4:57 PM

Not since Big Brother graced our screens in the early 2000s has the Gold Coast been the centre of an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter outcome with a live Australian audience.

In a historical move, Australia sees itself on the same playing field alongside its Eurovision counterparts, with the public being given voting powers to decide who will represent the land Down Under at the next Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

For the first time in Australia, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre will host the inaugural event Eurovision – Australia Decides. Vying to make Australia proud at Europe’s biggest pop cultural phenomenon are artists including Sheppard, Kate Miller-Heidke, Electric Fields, Mark Vincent, Courtney Act, Aydan, and Leea Nanos.

Before the stage heats up and the singers break out into songful sweat, we look into how the Gold Coast plans to set the stage for ushering this new Eurovision era into Australia. 

Acting Mayor of the Gold Coast Donna Gates emphasised the city’s anticipation in bringing the event on home soil, stating that “The Gold Coast could not be more excited to be the home for Eurovision and there is already a real buzz around the city.

"We are being contacted regularly by our residents sharing with us their plans for this exciting occasion. People are making plans to get together in local venues across the city and others are hosting parties in their own homes.

"The Gold Coast is ready to welcome Eurovision with open arms and we know how to put on a party.”

Australia’s biggest Eurovision Fan Club, OGAE will be hosting a series of events to be ringing in Eurovision on home soil. 

The OGAE ticketed after-party event “Welcome to Australia Decides” will be hosted at The Envy Hotel following the Jury Preview Show on the 8th February. 

Eurovision fever grips the Gold Coast on Saturday with the free OHAGE hosted Eurovision “Unplugged”, a lunch and chills event featuring the music of Eurovision performed acoustically at The Envy Hotel (tickets subject to availability). This event precedes the SBS-hosted Matinee Preview Show on the 9th February.

If you can, get to the action, live! Here are the event details for Eurovision: Australia Decides:

Friday 8 February, Jury Preview Show – 7.30pm (AEST)

Doors Open: 6.30pm

Approx. Finish: 10.00pm

Saturday 9 February, Matinee Preview Show – 1.00pm (AEST)

Doors Open: 12.00 noon

Approx. Finish: 4.00pm

Saturday 9 February, Live TV Final – 7.30pm (AEST) *PUBLIC VOTE*

Doors Open: 6.30pm

Approx. Finish: 10.00pm

Tune into Eurovision – Australia Decides on Saturday, 9 February at 8.30pm (AEDT) on SBS to catch the action live from the Gold Coast.

Eurovision - Australia Decides - Win the Ultimate Trip to the Gold Coast!
Vote for your favourite Eurovision - Australia Decides artist and you might win the trip of a lifetime.

More at SBS
Here are the final 3 acts for 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' (and 5 of the songs, too!)
Australia, the lineup of our first Eurovision national selection show is now complete.
Eurovision – Australia Decides: What happens at the Jury Preview Show?
The Friday 8 February event has more riding on it than you might think.
Three more artists join 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
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Here are the first 4 artists of 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
Our first batch of performers reflect the diversity of Australian music.
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We asked, and the songwriters of Australia delivered.
How to get your tickets to 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
Find out how you can be a part of the action, as we determine Australia's entry for Eurovision 2019 in live events on Queensland's Gold Coast.
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'Eurovision - Australia Decides' puts you in charge of finding our 2019 Eurovision entry.