The world experiences two huge events in May: the Royal Wedding and the Eurovision Song Contest. The latter is an annual song contest where performers belt out powerful ballads, huge pop bangers, some of the weirdest bops of all time and hit that saxophone with grace and skill never seen before. Eurovision is weird and wonderful and must-watch TV. It’s all politics and costumes and the best parts of humanity. It is the embodiment of Anything Can Happen.
Here’s how to watch live, online and free in Australia!
What Is Eurovision?
Well, only the best, strangest, most eclectic TV song contest that has ever existed. Competing nations from all over Europe send a musical act to perform an original song live on TV across the participating nations. Then those nations must dole out votes as to which performance they thought was the best. Each nation must vote for their competitors – you cannot vote for your own nation. Viewers also can participate in the voting and are, in fact, encouraged to — viewers votes make up 50% of the final result.
The winning nation is then the host nation for the next year. Last year, Portugal won with the delicate Amor Pelos Dois, so Lisbon is where all the action happens in 2018.
This year, 43 nations send one participant to Lisbon for the 63rd iteration of the contest.
Six countries automatically qualify for the Grand Final – which is the big event – with Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom always a lock and then the host country filling another spot. Every other country has to participate in two semi-finals and the 10 best head through, forming a final pool of 26 acts.
Participants must be active members of the European Broadcasting Union. However, since 2015, Australia has been sending an artist over to compete in the competition with Guy Sebastian, Dami Im and Isaiah all vying for the pop hearts of Europe over the last three years.
Over 200 million people across the world tune in. It’s bonkers but it is the best kind of bonkers.
Who Is Representing Australia At Eurovision 2018?
We’re sending Aussie darling and ex-Australian Idol contestant Jessica Mauboy across to Lisbon, Portugal. She will be performing her song “We Got Love”. It’s a big, powerful ballad with big drumbeats and a catchy chorus about how love is great and should inspire us to not give up. Love that messaging, Jess.
You can hear the song below:
When Is Eurovision 2018?
The first semi-final takes place on May 8, and sees 19 contestants vie for the first 10 spots in the Final. Australia is not included in this semi-final, but if you want to watch it all take place anyway (and it’s got some cracking performers in there, including Israel’s Netta), you will need to tune in at 5am AEST, Wednesday May 9.
The second semi-final will be on Friday May 11, from 5am AEST and features our girl Jess up against 17 other nations for a spot in the Grand Final. Both semi-finals will be rebroadcast in primetime at 7:30pm.
But the main event, and reason we all tune in, is the Grand Final which starts at the brisk morning time of 5am AEST, Sunday May 13. That means your Eurovision parties are going to have to get started real early – or real late if you’re in WA.
Here’s that time in all capital cities:
- Perth, WA: 3am
- Darwin, NT: 4:30am
- Adelaide, SA: 4:30am
- Brisbane, QLD: 5am
- Sydney, NSW: 5am
- Canberra, ACT: 5am
- Melbourne, VIC: 5am
- Hobart, TAS: 5am
Of course, you could just wait all day and rewatch the broadcast at 7:30pm instead.
How To Watch Eurovision 2018 Live, Online And Free In Australia
SBS are the broadcast partner of Eurovision and have been covering the event for years. This year, Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey again get to host the action, both in the semi-finals and in the Grand Final. You can tune into SBS on broadcast free-to-air, or if you would prefer to watch online, just head across to SBS On Demand
If you’re less inclined to hear Myf and Joel rattle on, then you’re next best bet is to watch the live stream on the Official Eurovision YouTube Channel. We’ll provide a livestream link through on Sunday morning if you’re hunting around, so chuck a bookmark on this page and get ready for the world’s most insane song contest.