Could Australia have the 2016 Eurovision X Factor?

Get our breakdown of this years Eurovision contest and pick for the best Australian bet in this year's contest.

The Eurovision Song Contest has been around for 61 years now and to celebrate its diamond jubilee in 2015 the renowned show, one of the longest-running television programs in the world, threw open its doors to an Australian entry.

Countries joining the competition is nothing new, following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s there was a plethora of new entrants:  Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia and Slovakia all joined between 1993 and 1994.  

Latvia, Ukraine, Albania, Andorra, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Armenia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Azerbaijan, San Marino and then Australia have all joined since and this year’s entry now numbers 42. Turkey, a country which is partly in Europe and partly in Asia, have not partook in the competition for a number of years which means Australia is the only ‘non-European’ country in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

Australia were only expected to enjoy a one year pass into the event but organisers must have viewed the experiment as an outstanding success which played a noteworthy part in boosting the global TV viewership to 180 million people in 2015.

But the Australian contingent also brought a good song to the party, Guy Sebastian’s ‘Tonight Again’ was awarded a maximum 12 points by both Austria and Sweden which helped it finish fifth overall.  It was one of the best Eurovision debut results ever.

So, can the Aussies repeat the trick, or go even better in 2016?  A look into the history books does not give that much insight as to what fans and punters should expect.   For example, Ireland holds the record for the highest number of wins, seven times in total including 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996.  However, since 1998 not a single Irish entry has finished in the top-5.

If there is anything to be read from the list of previous winners it’s plain to see ‘novelty’ and ‘gay’ acts do receive an inordinate number of votes.  That explains Finland’s 2006 win (a death metal send-up) and Austria’s victory in 2014 with the ‘bearded lady’ Conchita Wurst.  There are no such acts in the 2016 line-up.

Of course the competition delivered Abba to the world and few people know that Celine Dion won this competition for Switzerland in 1988. But there have been no such colossal globally successful acts to have come out of it since.  

In fact, Eurovision has become a haven for ‘have beens’ during the past decade with countless X-Factor contestants and winner’s popping up.  None have so far won but 2016 could see new ground being broken.

That’s because we believe Australia has a genuine chance of winning the 2016 event courtesy of the 2013 X-Factor winner Dami Im.  We all know the Korean-born solo artist has a brilliant voice and great stage presence but vitally her Eurovision song has a simple and memorable sing-along chorus.

The bookmaking fraternity do not disagree, they make the 27-year-old and her song, ‘Sound of Silence’, their 14/1 fourth favourite for victory.  Only 2/1 is available about her finishing in the top 4-places overall.

But the best bet is surely about Australia winning the May 12th semi-final, amongst a field of 18 contestants where the top-10 in voting popularity progress to the final two days later.

Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Latvia are the chief opposition in this semi-final but none are above Australia in the outright betting lists.  Most importantly Dami Im has fared really well with her performance allocation in this semi-final and she will sing tenth which is far more advantageous than the slots bestowed on Latvia and Serbia who go on stage first and sixth.

Eurovision gets underway on May 10th with its first semi-final.  The second semi is on May 12th and final on May 14th.

Eurovision Song Contest Best Bet

Australia to win the second semi-final (May 12th) at 9.00 at Ladbrokes